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Published: December 4th 2011
Departing on Wednesday November 23rd at 6:15pm into the Eastern skyline of Seoul, South Korea. As the Boeing aircraft will rise higher and higher towards its travel altitude everything South Korea has taught us will be held in our memory banks. It will be the faceless mystery of yesterday. For fifteen months I have resided in my third Asian country (Shauna's second).
Sitting across the table two nights ago, Uro asked what I liked about South Korea? So many great things. "What didn't you like?" her eyes sparkled after the inquisition began. I pondered momentarily trying to avoid a confrontation at the table. But inevitably, I began with a short list of problems;
I dislike when I go into a shop ask the price of something and return a few days later only to hear the price has changed. Foreigner pricing, they call it. It fluctuates on the mood of the proprietor. My number one pet-peeve in all
I disliked people associating Hawaii with Jeju-do Island. Honestly, there is no comparison besides the one fact that they are both islands in the Pacific Ocean. Otherwise, I didn't really care for Jeju-do island. It wasn't
as easy to get around. People made it seem "better" than mainland Korea. But its still just Korea.
I disliked taxi cab fares (similar to Foreigner pricing). One cabbie charges 65,000 won for a ride to Paju while another charges 30,000 won.
And I disliked not being able to spend more time in Seoul at night because it was either pay the unexpected cab fare or wait until the first bus back to Paju at 6:15am.
However many minute dislikes I could muster to come up with about South Korea, I still had a gigantic list of what makes South Korea an awesome place to travel to, reside in or work from. These are my short listed Great Things about South Korea:
The plethora of boutique restaurants serving every kind of cuisine known to mankind. I love the little closet sized shops. Whether they were coffee shops, chocolate bars, ice cream shops, noodle shops or Italian eateries.
I loved ALL the street food vendors. So, many choices. And nothing strange enough not to stuff in my face. I loved the 32cm Ice Cream cones 1,500 won. Or pressed peanut squid 2,000 won. And corn-dogs with
french fries inside the batter 1,500 won. Or those dakteok (cinnamon stuffed pancakes) 500 won.
I loved all the "K"razy shoes women wore. And I loved that it didn't matter what kind of clothes they had on; shorts, pants, pajamas, housecoats, dresses...
I enjoyed watching Koreans just being Koreans in their everyday lives.
I loved all the random times I interacted with Koreans while on any of the numerous adventure trips I took. Whether it be a hike near my home, a train ride into another province or a trek through Seoul. I was a magnet for odd conversations in broken English or Korean or both.
And the architectural feats going up all over Seoul...
And this awesome artist community across the street known as Heyri Art Village
And being able to spend time with an old friend whom I spent several hours hanging out at the Chinese acupuncture hospital just being poked, proded and massaged back to health. Plus him introducing us to his highly intelligent, adorable, wonderful friend Uro. I'll miss them both greatly for all the wonderful conversations over all of our foodie adventures.
And... kimchi, paintball wars, tank locating,
Korean DMZ tour, commuter trains, Korean War bunkers, random bugs, strange flowers, English Village oddities, sweet potato lattes and... glutinous rice balls
Let us not say good-bye to South Korea but let us just say "see you later"
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