Spent yesterday doing some work and playing. After quite a breakfast at the hotel (it was an expensive buffet but I was tired so I caved…), I walked up the steep hill to Dongguk University where I had 3 good meetings. At the end of a group session, we were treated to a drum performance by a troupe called Boom Boom. They were really terrific. I love percussion performaces, so this was right up my alley–a delightful, unexpected surprise.
Then I went off to Insadong, a touristy market with good-prices. I got some shopping done, even remembered to buy myself a few things. One thing to watch for is ‘Made in Korea’ tags. Some things are cheap imports from China, so if you want Korean goods, look for the tag and check with the shopkeeper. I saw something I liked and when I asked, she was honest and told me it was made in China. So I put it back, haha.
Met an ‘online friend’ for dinner. It’s fascinating how we can build friendships online without meeting. We had a nice chat. We ate at a place that’s part of a chain of healthful buffets. All fresh food, not many carbs and good selection. I forget the name but it was good!
Today I am off to Hongdae. It’s a play day today and I have a very specific destination in mind that I will share later. I’ve been waiting a year for this. 🙂
After a mediocre flight on American Airlines, I arrived safe and sound. American uses older planes for this 14 hr flight, which I don’t understand. The staff were nice but the choice of movies was paltry and most people couldn’t plug their devices into the few chargers because they didn’t have the cigarette-lighter type plugs. Surely given the cost, they can do better.
Incheon airport is quick to get through so I was on a bus to Seoul in no time. I love taking public transportation. It was raining here, and will be for a day or two more, but I’m ok with it. My hotel, the Grand Ambassador, is very nice. I had a nice dinner with friends and then went straight to bed. I’m up at 4am, but may go back to sleep for a bit, haha. Tomorrow will be partly busy and partly fun. Can’t wait!
In just over 24 hours, I’ll be at DFW airport waiting for my flight to Seoul. I’ve got a packed week coming up, but it’s going to be a fantastic time. Got some work scheduled and some play time, what more can I ask for? MERS seems to be fading, so that’s a good, and the weather looks like it’s going to be nice, even with some rain forecast.
I’ll try to post every day, to keep you updated on the sights and sounds and, of course, the food! My suitcase is almost packed–I start early every time I travel and still manage to feel that I’ve left something out. It’s a needless worry, of course, because I can get just about anything I need while I’m there. Do you feel that way, too, when you travel? Sometimes I purposely leave something behind when I leave a hotel, like a toothbrush, just to alleviate the feeling!
If I see anything interesting at the airport, I’ll let you know. People-watching can be a lot of fun! Otherwise, I’ll be back sometime on Monday! Take care and have a great weekend!
Well, I’m getting Won. Just ordered some cash for my trip. I usually get money out of ATMs when I travel, but it’s always good to have some cash on you when you arrive. South Korean Won are denominated from 1 into the hundreds of thousands. I’m going over with 300,000, which is equivalent to about 290.00 or so dollars. The exchange rate changes so I think of it as 1 to 1 and that keeps me pretty straight. Their money is very colorful so it’s easy to keep track of what’s what and for paying for things. Here’s a view:
Having the currency in my hands always makes me excited for a trip because it makes it seem more real, even moreso than packing my bags. I’ll start gathering necessary items for packing next week. When I travel, I do take travel size shampoos and things if I’m going for a short time. Otherwise, I buy things when I get to the destination because some toiletries are heavy and are usually not expensive. I will bring conditioner, though, because my hair is very dry and if I can’t find a brand I know, I might end up with something that doesn’t work too well.
I heard that the rainy season has begun in Korea. I’m looking forward to some nice rain while I’m there. I enjoy being a tourist in the rain, as long as it’s not heavy downpours. So my photos might all be wet-weather shots, but that won’t diminish their worth 🙂
The MERS outbreak in South Korea is making some people nervous about traveling. I’m following some journalists on Twitter who are in Seoul, so I can monitor the situation. At this point, the WHO and the US Dept of State are not recommending that travel plans be suspended, so I’m going to take my trip. I don’t want to pay to change the ticket and I really want to go, so unless someone tells me otherwise, I’m going. 🙂
There are some people who would be advised not to go, I’m sure, especially people with lung illnesses, babies and toddlers, etc. Viruses are scary things because there are no medicines or cures for them. I hope this outbreak is contained soon and that there are no more deaths.
To keep up with what’s happening, I suggest following @josungkim and @elisewho on Twitter. There are others following the story closely, too, these are just the two I see posting about it the most for now.
I never intended to start a blog. I’m not even sure where this is going to go, but I thought I’d do this as I’m going to travel a bit this summer and some people I know might be interested in following me…kind of like traveling with me, but not. I won’t say much for the next month or so, but on July 11 I’m going to Seoul, South Korea for the third time. Unlike my previous trips, I’m going alone so it will be a much different experience than I’ve had before. I’ll try to update every day or so and post photos, so you can get a taste of the city and the country. I love South Korea so there might be a lot of photos!
I don’t promise that this blog will be full of great writing or that it will entertain you greatly, but I will try to make it a step or two above boring. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll make comments now and then.