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Published: August 13th 2008
I love te use of color Koreans use to decorate their temples and palaces.
Seoul ~ June 22nd - 24th
At the beginning of June I was told that I might have the opportunity to go to Seoul, Korea on the company’s dime for a training program. Of course they waited until about 3 days before the departure date to confirm it.
My first ever business trip. I got up early and caught the train wearing business casual and carting around my new bright yellow carry-on with wheels. (I swore to myself after lugging several bags all the way to Japan that any luggage I owned would have wheels.)
The train rides were filled with anticipation and I arrived at the airport ready to meet my fellow trainees and get on the flight. The whole trip was done through a tour company and they baby stepped us through the check-in process which I found both entertaining and exasperating.
“Uh, thank you but I a capable of handing the people at the check-in counter my passport; you really don’t have to do it for me.”
After watching the commercial for Korean Airlines multiple times on the Sci-fi channel at Mark’s I was expecting great service and friendly flight attendants. I got neither, but
I really like the faces they have on these statues.
the food was really good. The flight lasted less then two hours. It is really just a puddle jump from Japan to Korea. Seoul’s airport is an amazing place. Clean, modern and they even have a place where you can try your hand at traditional crafts for free. After clearing customs we met our guide that would take us to the hotel. The bus we got on reminded me of what I imagine the interior of a cheesy Indian taxi to look like. Our guide was friendly, but wasn’t too happy with us when some of us skipped out on shopping at the duty free shop they took us to. The protest across the street was more enticing than helping her earn commission from the shops. I’m not sure how I’ve managed it but in less than 6 months I have seen three protests in two Asian countries. Live and in living color across from me was part of the beef protests that were making headlines worldwide. Of course I had to investigate.
One hour later we were back on the bus and carted to the hotel for a quick rest before dinner. The restaurant we were brought to
was surprisingly Japanese in style, but the food was definitely Korean. When we arrived we had to wait to be served until Kaicho (the man who owns the corporation) arrived. Korean food is to die for. After dinner, drinking and giggling at our unusual host we headed to karaoke. We were ushered into a basement room a short drive from the restaurant. The room was dimly lit with a stage and plenty of comfy black leather booths. On each table there was alcohol and a tray of fruit and snacks. Hosts served us drinks and spent the evening making sure they were never empty. Pretty darn snazzy for a karaoke joint. Every Shisha (region) had to get up and perform a song. For some strange reason my group decided on Sweet Caroline. None of us really knew the lyrics and the entire situation will be one the best inside jokes of all time. “Warm touching warm???”
At midnight the party was officially over and we went back to the hotel where the unofficial party kept most of us up for numerous hours. The next morning every room received to wake up calls at 7 something and at the lovely
They look harmless....
but you should see the armored buses they tore up.
breakfast downstairs coffee was being drained at an amazing speed. The meeting wasn’t really that bad. Before I knew it lunchtime rolled around and we went to the top layers of the hotel for a Korean buffet. The food there still makes my mouth water. After lunch our company’s president gave a longwinded speech. Kaicho is an interesting person. He seems to be incapable of enunciating in any language and his personal secretary pretty much cuts his meat for him. Kaicho sat before us eyes closed before his speech and the poor underling clipped his mic on him and the whole nine yards. Then we had to jab or pinch our neighbors to make sure they didn’t drift off during the hour and fifteen minutes he was talking to us. About 4 pm we left for a quick tour of the school my company has in Seoul. The entire bus ride to the establishment the poor assistant had to massage the head honcho’s shoulders and arms. Standing with one hand massaging and the other trying to keep him balanced around the twists and turns in the city. What a job. At the school we glanced around for 5 seconds and
They are everywhere and in every language.....
that was it. We said our thanks to Kaicho on the way out and I got yanked back in to talk to the guy.
Anyway, I got a hike in up a mountain on the edge of town before hurrying back to the hotel to meet up with everyone for dinner and drinks. Our trainers mysteriously knew the way to “this great place” which turned out to be the Korean version of Hooters. You would never guess that all the trainers in question were male……
It was fun and in the middle of the night market so after a good dinner and the largest pictures of beer known to man we could enjoy shopping before rushing back to the hotel for the midnight curfew. Since the curfew only stated we needed to be back at the hotel the drinking continued at the hotel. I checked out of the festivities earlier than most. Our last day in Korea was another trip to the duty free and then the airport. I was pretty exhausted when I turned the key in the lock to my apartment.
My first ever business trip was over.
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