In English: South Korea
First up, it was Korea in July. Oh boy what a trip it was! I had a great time. I was in Seoul for 4 days. It would have been nice to visit other parts of South Korea, but I think my friends and I did a lot in such a short time. Here’s what we did and my impressions:
This was a nice shopping district with plenty of brand names and legit stores. It was also filled with restaurants. Aren’t these activities in all places: shopping and eating? Anyway, I liked some of the clothes and there seemed to be a decent variety of food. I wouldn’t know how much of Korean cuisine is mixed into the international ones. I certainly hope it’s not as bad as how Japan interprets everywhere else.
Ah, in this market area for souvenirs and more traditional knick knacks, you need to make sure your bartering skills are up to par. Many locals seem to like to come here for food as there are many food stands set up all equipped with a makeshift kitchen and tables for customers. Oh yea, this is also a location for ginseng galore!
Korean Folk Village (in Suwon)
Slightly a tourist trap and supposedly popular with Korean schools, this is one of those “living museums” where people inside are supposed to do things the old-fashioned way. The houses and huts are brought there from all around Korea. I recommend it if you ever go to Seoul. It’s a tad far from the city center at about 45 minutes away. I think it’s a good breather from all the shopping, though you can do more of that at the village too.
It’s the largest palace in Seoul. You can’t go wrong with that! This is definitely great to see if you’re interested in palaces or if you like to compare between different Asian architecture. It’s amazing how large the area is considering it being surrounded by cityscape. I suppose the world is full of places like that.
More shopping! It never stops. There are enough clothes and accessories to go around for all ages. I’m sure there are other things too, but all we got to go through were clothes… mounds and racks of them. There are a few buildings and each one is filled with stuff following a theme. The first building we walked through was of belts, hats, wallets, ties, and clothes for old women. As a side note, I find it funny that it seems like all old Asian women wear and act the same way. Anyway, we spent way too much time in the first building. We meandered to another building at around 10PM or at least in that hour. We spent about 2 hours in the 2nd one. It was definitely a building geared toward our age. The first few floors were women’s clothing. The middle few were for men's, and the top floors were for accessories like belts and hats. I got on a slight bargain high, but I ultimately bought just one button-down shirt. My friends were happy with buying a number of things. I’m still amazed how late it opened until… 3AM! Imagine shopping until then!
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
The border between North and South Korea would have had more impact if there were souvenir shops all around. In order to see more of the DMZ, you would have to find a private tour. Ours was good. Our tour guide was unintentionally funny. At first, he annoyed me because he was ridiculously loud over the mic in the bus. He kept trying to rush the group as there was a schedule he had to stick to. When we went into one of the tunnels that North Korean soldiers dug for a surprise attack, the leader said something like, “So do you know what they [North Koreans] said in response to the tunnel? That it was for coal, but it’s a lie. They tried to use the tunnel to invade the south. WE HAVE TO GO!”
It’s a mountain in the south part of the city. I took a cable car up and walked down. My friends and I were on a quest to find the garden, but we were disappointed. The map made everything out to be much larger than it actually was. It’s a nice mountain, and it’s perfect for jogging through (think like how people jog through Central Park in New York). I don’t need to go back to the mountain if I were to travel again to Seoul.
Yoido Full Gospel Church
It’s huge! The building exceeded my expectations of the largest church in the world. It was breathless. I couldn’t go inside though. We went really late, but as we couldn’t fully understand when our last train to get back to our hotel was, we rushed to the church and back to the station. We had less than 30 minutes, if I remember correctly. The church was maybe about a 10-minute-walk from the closest subway station.
En français: La Corée est le milieu.
La Corée est entre la Chine et le Japon. La Corée est moins de net que le Japon mais plus de net que la Chine. La grammaire est semblable à japonais mais la langue a l’air de chinois. Il était très intéressant quand j’ai entendu la langue. J’ai pensé «Pourquoi je ne peux pas comprendre?» J’entendais que le hangul est facile à apprendre. Je souhaite que le japonais sois plus facile. J’ai le même sentiment avec le chinois.
今週の聖書の詩: “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
- Hosea 6:3 (NIV)
今週の写真: South Korea… duh!