Thurfriday Night and Saturday

13 hours on a plane isn’t as bad as it sounds.  We watched “Big.”  When else are you going to carve out two hours to watch it again?  It’s good.  He’s 12 and then one day thanks to Zoltar he’s touching the outside of a grown up lady’s bra in the big city. There’s an important lesson there.

Image

What is a little hard is when Thursday afternoon becomes Friday night and now its Saturday night and our brains are broken.  Not so broken that we can’t say for certain that South Korea is treating us right.  From the start it was good.  Our hip University neighborhood was bumping with youngsters on a Friday evening.  Lots of street food to sample, including what we like to call chewy, baby rice dicks in hot red pepper sauce; egg on thick sweet toast; and everything you can think of made into an omelet:

Image

We did an admirable job staying awake for a few hours before miraculously finding ourselves two blocks from our hotel (http://duriworld.com/) where we promptly passed out after failing to correctly work the keypad entrance system. Speaking of the hotel, this morning they served a traditional Korean breakfast of make your own cole slaw (shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard), individually wrapped cheese slices, lunch meat, and Frosted Flakes.

It rained for most of the day today.  We’re expecting good weather (mid-60s and mix of sun and clouds) for most of the trip but today didn’t cooperate.  The rain, of course, didn’t stop us from walking outside for a full 11-hours, getting lost a lot, and taking sweet misty pictures at the big outdoor market, Namdaemun.

Image

This afternoon we took advantage of a Seoul City program that provides free guided walking tours in English so that its citizenry can practice their language skills and brush up on their history.  All the while, you are the beneficiary!  A very nice woman showed us (me, Kellie, two Filipino ladies, and an Italian guy) around Seoul’s Bukchon village of traditional Korean style homes.  The place was a ridiculously beautiful.

Image

You got some killer views of the nearby palaces, as well. Peep that foliage.

Image

Afterwards, we found a nice little pub where Kellie could unwind with a massive earthenware crock of medicinal rice wine.

Image

And for dinner?  15-courses of spicy-fermented vegetables and stews, please.

Image

At this point, I (Jon Goff) have to confess that tonight I passed up the opportunity to eat a soft serve ice cream from a cone shaped like a saxophone.  I’m embarrassed, too.  I will go back for it.  My socks were just too cold and wet.

First impressions of South Korea:  buzzing and beautiful.  It doesn’t have the tourist rep of other Asian spots thanks to a long struggle with poverty after years of Japanese occupation and that little matter of the war that never officially ended with its neighbor to the north.  Those are valid reasons.  But times have changed.  Most of us own something Samsung, LG, Hyundai, or Kia makes.  Their pop music, soap operas, and movies dominate Asia.  And you can tell.  There’s a swagger over here.  A new confidence.  We’ve been feeling confident lately, too.  It’s a fine time to meet each other.

photo 2

This entry was posted in Asia, Korea and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.