How to Make the Most of a Long Layover

Over the past eight years since I’ve left Guam, I have gotten used to layovers in Honolulu, Narita, and now Seoul. I have found that if you do research on the airport ahead of time, you will be able to enjoy the 6 or so hours you have to spend there. The ticket I purchased this time around had a layover in Incheon International Airport (ICN) for 6 hours. I had been in this airport before, however, only had very minimal time to kill. This time around, I had double that time. What to do within those hours? Hmm…

  • Take a shower. I discovered online that the ICN had a shower and massage area. Shower was free for transit passengers with proof of a boarding pass and passport. Upon presenting the staff these items, they then hand you a teeny tiny towel, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and toothbrush. You then have your own private bathroom for, preferably 30 minutes only (however, I stayed longer and they didn’t kick me out..)
  • Take a nap. The ICN had specific areas all around the 2nd floor for resting and relaxation. Chaises are scattered throughout the airport for you to rest in comfortably until your next scheduled boarding time.
  • Eat. Many people find airplane food to be bland and unappealing, however, airport food is a different story. You can find a plethora of places to eat at airports. I always go for what’s local. Why eat American Food while in Korea? So, of course I went for Korean food.
  • Buy local goodies. Although, you might pay slightly more for a product inside the airport than outside, I still say buy something different and unique to each prospective country in which you become a transit passenger. This can be anything as simple as a snack or a hair accessory.
  • Explore the airport. At some major airports, there are cultural displays, museums, and other ancient artifacts to purposefully make passengers “OH” and “Ahh” to. So why not go and explore those?
  • People Watch. You know you hate to admit you do that..but its a natural tendency. I especially love to do it when I’m not in my own country or city. I love seeing people’s diversity, fashion, and reactions.

By the time you have done at least 3 of these things…your flight will be boarding.  Happy Travels! 🙂

Seafood Spaghetti

For this blog post, we will be veering away from travel and into the category of cooking. (However, some of the techniques here were learned while traveling in Italy.)

One of my favorite dishes at Buca de Beppo is their Frutti di Mare. I was curious to try my variation of it when I was walking thru the open freezer section of Costco one day. I saw there a seafood medley mix that contained cooked shrimp, mussels, calamari, and scallops. A good size for $17.99.

What you will need for this recipe:

  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Seafood Medley Mix
  • Spaghetti Noodles
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Parmesan Cheese

This is what you do next:

  • Rinse seafood mix and strain the water
  • Mince 6 cloves of garlic
  • Boil water and cook spaghetti noodles. (About 7 mins..I like them al dente) Once done, put aside in strainer.
  • On separate pot..pour olive oil and start browning garlic.
  • Cook seafood medley mix with garlic and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Once thoroughly cooked, pour in one jar of spaghetti sauce. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Transfer sauce in bowl and on same pot sauce was cooked in, pour some olive oil and toss spaghetti noodles in and cover with some sauce. Make sure all noodles are coated well with sauce and olive oil. Do not have noodles floating in sauce.
  • Plate spaghetti and add parmesan cheese according to your preference.

Making a Dinner Reservation…Overseas

With today’s technology and sites like opentable.com, you barely ever need to speak to a human being to reserve a table for two at a nice and fancy restaurant. However, the challenge arises when you try to make a reservation for two at a small (as in 10 seater small) sushi joint in Japan and the only way to do this is to call on the 1st business day of every month to reserve for the following month (ex call on Feb 2 for reservations in March.) And may I add that this sushi joint is extremely popular that President Obama himself had to have a piece of it.

How to overcome this obstacle? You can either:

A) Have friends who speak the language and call for you. I had two friends doing this for me. One lived in Texas, the other in Tokyo. Or…

B) Use Visa Concierge. This service is free and usually comes with all major credit cards that have the Visa logo. They have agents all over the world that can make reservations for dinner, opera shows, concerts, etc.

If I can relive this experience again, I would go with option B and call Visa Concierge at least 3 months before scheduled departure. Yes, it can be beneficial to have friends that come from all walks of life and speak various languages, however, it does get old for EVERYONE to be glued to their phone, calling a restaurant, only to always get the busy signal. Not cool! Save yourself time, stress, and friends by going with Option B.

Lessons Learned in Overpacking

My husband and I took a trip from Nov 1st to the 26th in Italy. It was my first time to travel in Europe, and I had no plan of attack when it came to my wardrobe. I packed a large 29″ suitcase full of clothes and shoes. Our adventure looked something like this: Rome-Naples-Positano-Venice-Padova-Milan-Florence-Cortona-Rome. We traveled between these cities mainly by train; we took a plane once from Naples to Venice, and a bus from Sorrento to Positano. The experience of lugging a heavy suitcase between these cities is what prompted me to write a journal entry of things I didn’t need. I now share these with you, in hopes you’ll learn a lesson or two. Happy Viewing!

Didn’t need:

  • 4 pairs of shoes. I survived mostly with my chestnut colored tall riding boots and Nike running shoes.
  • Faux leather pants. Only wore it once. We didn’t have anything on our itinerary that called for such attire.
  • Short sleeved shirts. Only wore one once and froze to death. The others were never worn.
  • So much makeup. All I needed were concealer, eyeliner, and one eyeshadow compact.
  • My Raybans. It was so cloudy the entire trip that I never once busted out the raybans.
  • 2 songbooks. My husband and I shared songbooks on all meetings.
  • Liquids. I learned from this trip to invest in clay soaps/shampoo from Lush.
  • 2 Large Luggages. I learned that less is more. Carry on suitcases are the way to go!