Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Visiting the "Soul of Asia"

An nyoung ha seh yo! (안녕하세요!) That's "hello" in Korean. :)

Last Tuesday afternoon, after I ran into my friends in the airport bathroom (what a great place for a grand reunion, huh?) we flew from Tokyo to Seoul together. The nearly two-hour flight was one of the most comfortable airplane rides I've EVER had since we were bumped up to business class! Hello, big, reclining chairs, fancier food and more leg room!!

The gals--Lauren, Jennifer, Amanda--and I stayed in a high-rise apartment building with (our very gracious) friends for five nights and four days.

This is Hanam, just outside Seoul, where Wendy and David live. Tall apartment buildings such as these are a common sight.

We traveled within Seoul each day, which required a long, crowded bus ride and subway ride every time. David was such a trooper to hang out with us girls each day and act as tour guide!

At Seoul Tower with David along with guards dressed in traditional costume, who had just put on a presentation.

Outside of the tower, the fence was lined with locks -- each pair of locks representing a couple who had put it there in demonstration of their strong love. Aww.

After visiting the tower and doing some window shopping on the first day, we enjoyed experiencing the city's nightlife. We had fun taking pictures in a photo booth then adding our own embellishments...

On the morning of the second day, we just took it easy and explored Hanam. Jet lag for the gals was a bit rough, so afternoon naps were necessary. We went out that night to the multi-cultural district in Seoul, where we walked around then ate at a Mexican restaurant. I know, I know...eating Mexican food in Korea??...but it's somewhat hard to come by in Asia, so we had to take advantage!

The following evening was when we tried popular Korean cuisine called kimchi, which is spicy fermented cabbage. Much too spicy for my taste! Kimchi is served at almost every meal, and in our case, we ate it along with grilled pork.

Our super nice, but non-English speaking waiter/cook, who tried as hard as he could to communicate with us, put pig skin in the middle of the grill(!?) Waaay too chewy for me.

We spent day three in a more traditional district in Seoul, visiting The Palace Museum, a palace, and a shopping area of Korean souvenirs. On our last day, we enjoyed the lovely weather by going on a picnic in Olympic Park with a big group of English teachers. It was fun to hang out with other foreigners our age in a fresh air environment. :)

That night we tried something unusual called Dr. Fish. We put our feet into water crowded with little fish that eat off dead skin! Ever since my Grandma Reinbold told me about it, I've been wanting to try it out.

This picture was taken at the end of the 20 minutes, when everything was finally A-OK. I was laughing hysterically non-stop for the first 10 minutes! So. Very. Ticklish!!! But I got used to the fish nibbling away.

Our group picture of Franklin College grads (plus Lauren, in pink, who will be a graduate this time next year). This photo could very well end up in the alumni magazine!

Well, that's the summary of our brief stay in Korea. We're now enjoying life in Kuji together, which I'll update on next time...

Stay tuned!


Dawn said...

Looks like a lot of fun. The locks are so romantic.

Lauren said...

korea was fun!!! I am glad we visited it together! It made it more fun that we got to experience it together!!!
Love you!!!

Ashley said...

I like the locks. I also heard of the thing called Dr. Fish. I think I saw it on Good Morning America or something. I hope that it was a good feeling for you.