Full disclosure. Me and the Seoul airport did not get off to a good start. The first time I arrived at Incheon International Airport, I was simply transiting through to Phnom Penh. In an extraordinary coincidence, my layover time also happened to coincide with a friend’s layover, so we had made plans to have dinner together while we waited for our respective flights. The only problem was that upon arrival, neither of us were allowed to leave our terminals. The airport’s official website had said that this was allowed, but apparently just not on the day that we were there.
After resigning myself to spending the next four hours alone, I went through security and emerged onto a deserted departures level. Seriously. It was 5:30PM on a Friday evening and one of the biggest airports in the world was deserted. All the shops and cultural centres were closed, as were all the restaurants. And while the terminal was nearly devoid of humans, there were literal robots rolling around giving out COVID health and safety announcements. It was so bizarre, I actually texted my friends to ask if something had happened while I was in the air en route to Seoul. Was the zombie apocalypse finally upon us? I had to caveat my texts that I was asking a legit question.
All of this is to say that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to my second visit to the Seoul airport. However, this time I arrived at 10AM on a Saturday morning, and what a difference! The terminal was filled with people! The restaurants and shops were actually open! And yes, there were still robots rolling around. But somehow they were a lot less creepy when their automated voices weren’t echoing off deserted hallways and foyers. In fact, they were almost cute this time around.
But the best part about my second visit to the Seoul airport was the fact that there was live music to entertain us. On the day that I was there, a trio of classical musicians was playing, and they were absolutely wonderful. Sadly, I couldn’t find a sign anywhere to tell me their names, but I still sat and happily listened to them for over half an hour until I heard the announcement that my flight was boarding. So if you happen to be one of the musicians in the photo above, thank you for your performance that day. It made my second visit to the Seoul airport incredibly memorable. And this time, it was for the right reasons.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!