Time Travel

Seoul-Incheon International Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. Since 2005 it has been rated the best airport worldwide every year by Airports Council International. (It has also been listed as the world’s cleanest airport by Skytrax.)

On the return from New Zealand the layover in Incheon offered a much appreciated rest. Although those of us continuing to the UK the following day were put up in a very nice hotel over night, there is plenty to do in the terminal building itself. The airport has its own golf course, private sleeping rooms, an ice-skating rink, a casino, indoor gardens, and a Museum of Korean Culture.

On the main concourse of the shopping arcade a string quartet play live Western classical music. Elsewhere Korean janggu drum and daegeum flute are played by musicians in hanbok (traditional Korean dress).

On my way to find a good source of kimchi to take home, I was met by a recreation of a Joseon period royal progression.

I felt a weird kind of doubling when, jet-lagged, tired and in between time zones, I witnessed this parade from a different age. For a split second, I imagined that perhaps I had arrived at a place where two time zones could exist together. It was simultaneously magical and ridiculous.