Seoul Day 1, South Korea

April 17, 2014
korea seoul asia

Hello again! We took the KTX to Seoul today. The bullet train is awesome! Makes you see how much further Perth has to go with regards to public transport. Actually that’s not fair, the South Korean transit system is probably world class. But it’s remarkably similar to every other subway in Asia, so I’m guessing there is one consultant somewhere who is making absolutely oodles of money selling his subway design skills.

imageMysterious herbal tea It’s REALLY hard to get standard teas here, much to the chagrin of steph. Ginseng and herbs easy to find. English breakfast, black, Earl grey? Not so much.

imageBusan station looks pretty awesome! It’s like a giant glass UFODoesn’t affect me though, everyone likes coffee here. Too bad its usually pretty bad. Americans drip coffee I’ve had enough of when I was in Ghana.

imageT money! These are called T-Money cards, basically Smartriders**which work in convenience stores, taxis and some fast food. Awesome eh? The coolest thing is being able to buy a mini version that hangs off your phone!

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Costs a tiny bit more, but well worth it to be on the bleeding edge of technology.

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Military service guys all over the place. Digital pixelated camouflage is all the rage in militaries now apparently but without any actual proof that they are more effective.

Checked into the hotel then went straight to… Night dining tour!

… But first things first, we had to get hopelessly lost.

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Korean maps are pretty poorly designed they’re usually these little cartoony things that aren’t drawn to scale. Not to mention north is never “up”  on a station map.

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What the hell is up with that? These people need to take some sort of orienteering classes.

Not only that, the locals seem to have no idea how to interpret an address (even when written in korean), nor are they aware of landmarks that are close by. In fact I have no idea why the society here has not crumbled yet.

Anyway we gave up and just grabbed a taxi and got him to use the gps to take us to where we needed to go. We were only 300m away from our destination.

The taxi driver was really excited to have some English speakers and was google translating on his phone spoken korean to English. Whatever he said, it translated to “… Of the restless”. He showed us the phone with a very excited look on his face. There was a long awkward moment where we were trying to work out what he was trying to tell us but we gave up.

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The first part of the tour was a korean BBQ dinner. No beef here, beef is only for filthy rich kings and white people. This was our fourth night eating bbq pork and we were running out of excitement for this stuff.

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These were taken by the tour guide. It was raining, so we were given these classy garbage bags to use as umbrellas.

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This was our second stop. There were three types of topokki. From left, royal rich type topokki, black bean topokki then hot seafood topokki. Note my disgusting thumb bruise thing.

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This third stop was at one of the undercover wagons. A working class establishment apparently. The government tried to close these down but resistance from the public prevented this. You can see political posters on the walls, and hanging toilet paper rolls are used to depict the high class nature of this place.

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Final stop we went through the night market when we saw silk worm… Snacks? Lots of kimchi and kimchi flavoured food. I’m surprised there wasn’t a kimchi drink.

The crab kimchi thing and beef tatare were pretty good but I think our stomach has already run out of space long ago.

With every meal, they were accompanied by alchohol. They’re big on getting drunk here. The third place we ate at gave us metal bowl/bucket instead of glasses to drink our milky rice wine with – apparently that’s how the farmers did it back then.

imageThe standard korean dinner Unsurprisingly that night our bowels saw a lot of movement. Mine downwards and steph upwards.