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Published: November 15th 2009
When space is tight, mankind will become creative.
Since I was uable to secure more than five days at the Metro hotel (I really like this one), I had to find another one. I decided to try the southside of the city to get different perspective on the city. It took me 35 minutes to get there by subway. Given that hotels seemed to be pretty full right now, I tried a "love motel", since these usually book by the hour... It isn't as bad as you would think. The hotel was actually recommended by Lonely Planet. The rooms are very nice -- kind of like the Fantasyland Hotel, but the hotel is set up mainly for "discrete couples" looking for a few quiet hours alone. Seoul has hundreds of these around the city. The whole experience should be interesting.
I did start to scope out the shopping, as I want to do some of that during my last couple of days. The supermarkets are quite the treat -- aren't they always... Lot's of weird food with lots of free samples -- I helped myself. The other thing that was interesting is that most department stores have an entire floor for golf clothing! I guess the sport is
really popular. There is no doubt that western luxury goods are very popular here. Every imaginable label has a store here. I'm actually having problems finding stores inbetween the high-end labels and the cheap stuff. This process was much easier in Shanghai and Bangkok.
I continue to have fabulous food and service at the local restaurants. Korea would be tied for second place with China for a culinary experience. You don't have to ask which country is number one. The service is almost too good at the restaurants here, as plates sometimes leave the table before I'm ready to let them go. On Tuesday night, I tried a fusion restaurant (Italian/Asian) called Zen -- very nice. I had a salmon appetizer nicely seasoned with asian ingredients and a seafood risotto for my entre. All of this in a beautiful setting -- complete with the right lighting and music. All that was missing was Shauna. ;-)
Wednesday was moving day... I spent a few hours shopping downtown, but with no luck. As I'm still having problems finding clothes that I link at a price tag that I can afford.
I moved to the Gangnam district, which is south
of the Han River. This is a business district of town, and it reminds me of Manhattan with all of the high rises. The Jelly Hotel is one hotel I won't forget. I have stayed at hundreds of hotels around the world, but few will leave an impression like this one. The rooms actually offer great value. For $70/night, which is in Seoul for any kind of quality, I have a huge flat panel TV and computer in the room compete with internet hook-up. Lighting options that can be controlled by a remote switch. The only thing that is missing is for somewhere to store my clothes... I guess they don't get a lot of long-term stays here. The hotel is off the main streets, so it is nice and quiet. The lobby looks like one from an upscale spa with nice cushy sofas and candels. That waiting area is separated from the rest of the lobby by a light see through curtain.
I NAILED dinner tonight. I'm lucky again to find a part of town with lots of restaurants. All the ones around here are all tucked away on sidestreets, which makes it nice for strolling
The very unique Jelly Hotel
around. The restaurant (no name as it was just in Korean), was also unique. When I entered, I had to take off my shoes and put them into a locker that I was able to lock up. I then had to sit on the floor, but the floor opened up, so I it felt like eating at a normal table, but with the floor as the seat. While I couldn't read the menu (it was all in Korean and Japanese), the pictures looked fabulous. I ordered, what looked like, barbecued chicken, on a hot plate. The manager spoke some English, and he said it was spicy -- no problem from my end. I'm going to have to buy a small camera for the evenings, so I can take pictures of some of these dishes and restaurants. The chicken was chopped up with limted bones, but it was very tender and very nicely seasoned with some vegetables on the side of the dish. There was a slow burner keeping the plate warm. As usual the dish was served with side plates. One was very interesting as it was sweet and offered a nice complimented the hot and spicy chicken.
It is incredible what density brings to a city. Every night there are thousands of people roaming the streets at dinner time. I can't even imagine how many restaurants there are in this city, but it must range in the tens of thousands.
For the intesting facts and thouhgts about Korea, I picked up this point worth mentioning:
- As this country devleops, it is interesting to see that Korea has nothng higher than a $10 note... I know money laudering is a problem, but this seems a bit ridiculous, as $10 doesn't buy a whole lot more than back home.
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