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Published: November 15th 2009
Who needs a chair?
It always takes a day or two to get climatized in a new country. South Korean wouldn't be any different. To quicken the process, I went for a run around the downtown core on Friday morning (that isn't as easy as it may sound, as there is no definative core nor grid layout...). As well, the whole city is full of sky skyscrappers. So, there goes the idea of following the skyline. Also, many of the busy intersection require you to go underground to cross -- I guess that is good for cross training. I also took a city tour that took me to all of the major downtown tourist destinations. With these two orientation tasks complete, I was ready to go. I still needed to kick a bit of jet lag, but it wasn't too bad. I have to figure out why it always is worse going home for that then coming here...
There aren't many things of historical significance here. The city literally looks like it was flattened after the Korean War and rebuilt (it kind of reminds me of the German cities in that sense). The one thing I can't get over is the number of restaurants...
Korean's seem to really love eating. :-) The food also is so good -- nice and spicy. :-) I have never eaten a lot of Korean food, so this caught me a bit off guard. Barry's tummy is going to be happy this trip. Since the culinary experience is so different in Edmonton, I have been binge eating like a drunken sailor would be binge drinking after a six-month tour of duty.
While Friday was a Korean day for food, Saturday was Japanese. What will Sunday bring? For some strange reason, Italian food is incredibly poplular here and so is the ice cream! You know what Barry has before he heads home every night. ;-) With all of the walking, I can justify it... can't I. :-) What is also nice, is that the majority of the restaurants will have pictures of their menu items or fake plates of the items on display outside the restaruant. This certainly helps when you can't read Korean (English is not as prevalent as I would have thought). There are also lots of pasty shops. It's interesting to notice some of the fusion going on. I had a glutionous rice baguette on Friday
The MASSIVE war museum
-- not bad.
Most of Friday was spent getting settled in. I had to change hotels mid-day, so that messed up my day a bit. It wasn't as easy finding accomodations as I thought it would be -- I can hear Shauna now... I managed to get set up in the Metro Hotel on Saturday for six nights -- nothing set up yet for the last two, but those will be shopping days, so I will figure that out later. This hotel has been recently renovated hotel. They seem to have figured out how to do up a boutique hotel. The rooms are small, but just big enough. All the lights are right by the bed, and the bathroom has one of those Asian toilet/bidets. The rooms is very nice and modern (I would even say funky) and there is even a safe. One unsual thing that I have never seen in another hotel is the safety line. In case of a fire, I can lower myself to the street (6 floors down) with this line. Hopefully, I won't have to use it...
I spent a good chunk of Saturday (three hours) at the MASSIVE Korean
Koreans love to shop
War Museum. I have never seen a war museum of this size anywhere in the world. However, Korea has been the victim of external conflict for hundreds of years -- mostly by the Japanese.
Here are some other small facts and tidbits about Seoul that I wanted to share:
- Many people seem to have cellphones that allow them to watch TV! I noticed this on the subway. The phones also have atennas. Another area where the Korean's are ahead of us -- Roger's take note...
- The subway system is massive here. There are 12 lines with hundreds of stations. This is the way to go. Apparently, it is the 3rd largest in the world. It is so easy and cheap to get around town. Why can't more cities grasp on to this idea? Edmonton... density is good and good things can come from it...
- Seoul must have some of the nicest public toilets in the world. You can find one at literally ever subway station. They will usually have a vending machine for those little emergencies. They are also clean and many of them even have silk flowers and pictures to decorate!
- Service -- it has been incredible. It doesn't matter if I'm at the hotel or restaurant it's all the same. Ohhh, I love Asia.
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