Finally, it was time to go back. As all the delegates from Malaysia were catching the same flight back, a non-step bus as assigned to shuttle us and a few other delegates from Europe to the airport. The wide window of the bus gave us a better view of the scenery of the trip. It was an uneventful journey. There was nothing interesting about the scenery as the airport highway cut across relatively uninhabited terrain.
When we checked in, I confirmed my request for low-protein meal. The first thing after I went through the immigration was to look for a toilet. I knew that Malaysia Airlines would be using the same plane and there would not be an on-board aisle chair for me to go to the toilet.
I have to empty my bladder every three hours but the journey was more than six hours. I controlled my fluid intake since I woke up and hoped that my diapers could hold whatever my bladder had to release. Cutting down fluid intake and not emptying my bladder periodically could be dangerous. Insufficient fluid intake may cause urinary infection. Not emptying my bladder on schedule may cause a reflux of the urine back to my kidneys. Both could damage my kidneys further.
When meals were served, I discovered that my low-protein meal had a full portion of fish fillet. I had to leave most of the meat uneaten. With a half full stomach, I could not do much but try to catch some sleep. To add insult to injury, the sandwich bun served later had chicken fillet filling. I removed all the chicken and ate the bun. I was annoyed and made a mental note that I would send a complaint to Malaysia Airlines when I reached home.
Red bridge somewhere between Seoul and Incheon.
Pine trees lining the airport highway.
Toll plaza along the airport highway.
Accessibility symbol used widely in Korea.
Toilet at the Incheon International Airport.
Boarding lounge at the Incheon International Airport.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH67 Incheon to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines low-protein meal that was not.
Do not be fooled by Malaysia Airlines’ low-protein meal label. It was not!.
We reached the hotel at about 4.00pm. As it was still early, Peter wanted to attend mass at the Myong Dong Cathedral. After checking with the concierge, we took the shuttle bus to Westin Chosun Hotel in downtown Seoul where we could then make our way to the Cathedral by foot.
In downtown Seoul, the traffic is fast and furious. One cannot simply walk across the road. There are no pedestrian crossings. There were underground crossings in all directions for that purpose. Each of the major entrances were equipped with stair lifts. We had to get the assistance of some friendly Seoulites to page for the attendant to engage the lift. These underground crossings are brightly lit and are lined with shops.
We had to weave our way through crowded streets of shoppers and roadside stalls selling everything from cuttlefish snacks to apparels to souvenirs. Myong Dong Cathedral was situated on a hillock. The effort getting up there was worth it as it gave us a good view of the surrounding areas. Having made our way up, we rested a while waiting for Mass to conclude and attend the next one. The main facade of the Cathedral was under renovation.
The interior of the Cathedral totally blew me away. The sight was simply awesome. There was even a huge pipe organ inside. Mass was conducted in Korean. Although the structure of Mass was slightly different from those in Malaysia, we could follow it without difficulty.
After Mass, we mad our way downhill and wandered around the streets taking in the sight, sounds and smell of Myong Dong. This area was full of street vendors, shops selling anything and everything, restaurant of all kinds and was packed to the brim with shoppers even at around 11.00am.
Accessible taxi that charges half the fare of ordinary taxis in Seoul. Such taxis are
equipped with lifts and can accommodate one wheelchair.
Westin Chosun Seoul.
Entrance to underground pedestrian crossing in downtown Seoul.
Stair lift with attendant.
Going down the underground pedestrian crossing on a stair lift.
Sogong Shopping Centre and underground pedestrian crossing.
Myong Dong Cathedral – the main facade was under renovation.
View from the Myong Dong Cathedral.
Information board on the history of the Myong Dong Cathedral.
Bust at the Myong Dong Cathedral.
Pipe organ inside the Myong Dong Cathedral.
Altar of the Myong Dong Cathedral.
Statue of Jesus with open arms facing Myong Dong shopping district.
One of the streets in Myong Dong shopping district.
Korean street food – caramelised sweet potato.
This was the first morning I woke up feeling as light as a feather. It was the last day of the 7th DPI World Assembly. No more hectic shuffling between concurrent workshops and I had delivered my two presentations to an international audience of my peers. I was still up there somewhere in between the clouds.
I did not follow the programme of the morning as it was all speeches, speeches and more speeches. As it was the last day of the World Assembly, I took the opportunity to take some shots with friends that I made over the course of the four days, not knowing when we could meet again.
After the closing ceremony of the World Assembly, Shoji-san had organised a meeting of leaders of the Independent Living Movement of the Asia-Pacific region. We discussed how we could cooperate and take the local and regional movement o a higher level through cooperation and sharing of resources. This multi-lateral cooperation would be under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Network on Independent Living Centres (APNIL).
One thing that I like to do every morning on the way to KINTEX is to count the number of church spires. Seoul is a city full of those. Everywhere I turned to look, there was bound to be at least three spires sticking out from the amidst low rise buildings. As we were going back early today, I counted the spires on the way back to the hotel and lost count after thirty. I believe there could be more than 50 spires along the way.
Yes, I have a fascination for these non-step buses.
7th Disabled Peoples’ International World Assembly Wall of Dreams where we put down our dreams
and aspirations for a world without barriers and discrimination.
One for the memory – on the stage at the 7th Disabled Peoples’ International World Assembly.
Fellow Independent Living advocates – Lin Chun Chieh (Taiwan), Abner Manlapaz (Philippines),
Edwin de Villa (Philippines) and Peter Tan.
Performance before the closing ceremomy.
Song Jin-Seok – Official photographer of the 7th DPI WA.
With Ko-Kwan-Chul – one of the leaders of the Independent Living Movement in Korea.
APNIL Meeting conducted by Shoji Nakanishi after the conclusion of the 7th DPI WA.
Seoul – Land of church spires.
Seoul – Land of church spires.
Seoul – Land of church spires.