Sunday, August 2, 2009

Trip to Seoul

So, we had our "summer vacation" this week. Worked on Monday and then had the rest of the week off. After quickly trying to figure out where to go, Whitney and I decided to go to Seoul. On Wednesday we somehow made it to the bus station and bought a ticket to Seoul for only 16,ooo won (which is a little less than 16 dollars). The bus ride took about 4 hours. Once we got there we had to figure out the metro, and had about 3 different people try to help us (koreans are soo friendly! -we think that they just want to use their English, and so when they see us looking lost, they jump for the chance to talk to us) This one lady went totally out of her way and walked us to the right metro line. We got to the right station and from there we had to find this hostel we were going to stay at. We only had the address, so we just started walking down the street and realized there was no way we are going to find this place. We decided to walk into a Starbucks and ask someone in there if they knew where it was. No one knew where it was, after the piece of paper with the hostel address got passed around like the whole place, we finally found 2 Koreans who spoke English and wanted to help us. Actually came to find out that they went to college in the U.S. - one went to the University of Illinois and the other went to Berkley! They helped us find this place, which took forever to find - no signs or anything- and they walked up and down streets helping us find the place. (once again - soo nice! most Americans would never do that) So we finally found the hostel, they walked us right to the door. And well..I had never stayed in a hostel, but Whitney had, and she said this place was not like a normal hostel. We knocked on the door and this Korean guy answered, and it was just his tiny apartment. (like just a bedroom with a wall of kitchen stuff and a bathroom) It had 3 bunkbeds and a little table with a computer. Soo..yea that was an interesting experience. If there wasn't anyone else staying there..I probably wouldn't have stayed there with these strange korean guys. (they were pretty nice though) There was another couple staying there that were from Switzerland, and there was also these 2 guys, one from Georgia and the other from Columbia, who had just been in China for 3 months. So the hostel was sketchy, but we decided to stay. After we "checked in" it was already around dinner time so Whitney and I decided to get some dinner and then shop around our little area.

Since we were both a little tired of eating Korean food, we luckily found a ton of American resturants. So for dinner we had Outback! :) They had pretty much the same food..didn't have a bloomin onion though, which was kind of upsetting. The sweet potato was a little strange too - it was white inside but it wasn't a baked potato, it tasted good though. After that we walked around all the little shops and enjoyed just soaking everything in. Went back to the hostel slept on the hard beds with tiny bean bag pillows (weirdest thing). Oh - and it was like 90 degrees because we can't sleep with the air on here. In the morning I took a shower and asked for a towel and he gave me a washcloth. Yea they don't use big towels here.

Anyways, Whitney and I decided to go on the bus tour that day and the two guys at the hostel joined us. We got on the bus, but we didn't stay on it for long, we just got off at one stop and went to one of the palaces. The palace was so pretty, and just an awesome aspect of Asian culture. I couldn't take enough pictures. The palace was huge! It had like 12 different sections, all with beautiful views of lakes and mountains in the background. It took pretty much the whole day to walk around the palace. After that just Whitney and I went to the Seoul tower. We were told it was better to go at night, because then you can see the whole city lit up. We got up there by cable car and then went to the very top. It was such a great view! I took pictures, but my camera doesn't really like night pictures for some reason, so the pictures I took don't do it any justice. That took all night to do, so we were pretty exhausted when we got back to the hostel. Oh I think that night we had McDonalds for dinner :) That was a good day. Even though Whitney and I got squished in the subway doors when running to get on it/trying to catch up with the guys who walked super fast. It was so much fun hanging out with the guys from our hostel though, and having other "forigners" with us.

The next day we wanted to go on the DMZ tour with the guys but we needed our passport and well our passports our at our school in the process of getting our alien cards. So I defiantly want to do that next time, it's the tour of the North Korean border. So instead of that, we we went shopping in well known cheap shopping area. We met my friend Beth there who I went to school with at UWF. We did a little shopping and then go figure ate lunch at an American bar and grill. There were lots of Americans around the shopping area because it was right outside the military base. So it was strange to see so many other Americans. Shopping was fun though, most of the vendors spoke a little English, so many of them were a bit pushy on buying their stuff, kinda like in mexico. You can bargain too, so I need to work on that. Although I did get a little lamp for 20,000 won which was originally 35,000 won.

After shopping, Whitney and I decided to try and get on the military base. (She used to live here, so she has an ID card) My ID was expired, but I was hopping that they would let me in anyways or not notice. I was wrong. Since it was expired they had to confiscate it :( ..oh well. He was nice though and let me on anyway. So that was the first and last time I'll be on base. We walked around base for a while and Whitney found her old house and her elementary school. The base was huge, so we eventually caught a taxi and he took us to the comissary. Unfortunatly, we did not realize that you needed a ration card to get in and buy stuff :( That was very disappointing. So I guess it doesn't really matter that they took my ID card, because I wouldn't be able to buy stuff at the commisary anyways.

That night we couldn't stay at the hostel so we stayed at my friend Beth's place. She was nice enough to let us stay in her tiny aparment which just had one bedroom and just enough floor space for me and Whitney to sleep. The next day we went to the National Museum of Korea. It was kinda cool, but we couldn't read any of the descriptions of things, so we had no idea what we were looking at. After the museum we hopped on the metro (for the millionth time) and went to the bus station to head back home.

Overall, I had such a good time in Seoul! I love it there! I can't wait to go back, there is so much to do!! And some good cheap shopping! :) I tried to keep this blog a little shorter, it's hard to write everything.

Hope everyone is doing well. :)

Oh - good news: We found peanutbutter here! woohoo

1 comment:

  1. whhooo! peanutbutter, now you have something to eat other than rice!