Onward to Asia
Seoul Travel Blog› entry 44 of 99 › view all entries
We had a nice treat awaiting us in Asia. One of our classmates from Michigan said he was unable to pick us up from the airport as originally planned, but instead had arranged for a night at a fiver star hotel which he apparently had a coupon to get for free. As Ana and I walked in we realized that everybody else (guests and staff) were wearing a black suit. We on the other hand were dressed for the 10+ hour flight that we had just completed from Sydney to Seoul and the bellman dragged in our giant backpacks. Luckily tipping was also not permitted in this hotel so the amazingly comfortable room was completely free for us and a lot nicer than the wonderful air mattress that we had the night before in Sydney.
We talked to our friend briefly and then began walking around the neighborhood looking for a restaurant. Nothing seemed to have an English menu so we just walked in to one that looked halfway descent. It didn’t take us long to figure out that they didn’t speak any English. (note: by not any I really mean absolutely none at all). Ana ended up drawing a picture of a fish and crossing it out to show that she didn’t like seafood and allowing the waitress to pick something for her. I just chose something off the menu and ended up a place full of octopus. I ended up having about 3 bites of it before I had to give in to the spiciness of the food and ended up just drinking two beers and lots of water. Ana was ok with hers, but she still required a lot of water before being able to eat much of it.
The food during the rest of the trip in Korea was much more pleasing to Ana and was bearable to me. We both enjoyed the Korean barbeque where you cook beef or pork right in front of you and then eat it in a piece of lettuce. The fact we had a Korean friend to help us find good restaurants and learn the way around the city was also a big help. We stayed at his parents’ house that they are trying to sell the rest of our time in Korea which also made it a lot less expensive.
The rest of Seoul pretty much met my expectations. A bunch of palaces were the main attractions, but most things were closed on the Monday of our visit which provided us with little else to do. Public transportation was good and everything was much cheaper than Australia. We also enjoyed our visit to the demilitarized zone with North Korea and a visit to the underground tunnel that the North Koreans had built to potentially enter South Korea. The South Koreans defense precautions were pretty amazing and included a concrete wall in a river running through the border between the two countries and placing fences and guards along its banks for dozens of miles.
We would have enjoyed to see some more of the countryside, but white were unusual enough in Seoul and we had our first request for a picture to be taken with us in the DMZ (since we are so odd as white people).