In Korea for the Morning

To continue the journey home we flew from Sydney to Seoul, Korea with Asiana Airlines. I always feel like royalty when flying business (using airline points as usual) and it was grand.

Pre-takeoff beverages:

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Dinner:

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Plenty of room for one’s feet and belongings…

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And after such a delightful flight, we arrived in…South Korea.

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Our flight from Sydney to Seoul arrived in the evening. We made our way to our room for the night via taxi, and the help of an iPhone with Korean characters for the address. We had help from our host in our procurement of some deli-store kimbap before heading to bed with tired bodies. The next morning as we took a taxi from our guesthouse to the Unseo station area we were surprised to find…fall. I had forgotten we were north of the equator again and it wasn’t spring anymore.

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We had hoped to do some proper touring of Seoul making use of the advice of a friend who lived in Seoul a few years ago. She had told us about an old fashioned shopping street and a palace that I really wanted to see. Alas, we realized we only had the morning to do anything before we needed to catch our flight back to the United States. Taking the train to Seoul proper and back would have burned at least 2 hours, so we decided to just meander around the island where we were, and enjoy what we could in the short hours we had.

Now, typically, I don’t like to look like a tourist and take pictures of everything that is unusual to me. But this was Asia. And knowing that there was absolutely no way we could even attempt to “blend in” with the locals, I decided to take advantage of the moment and make memories by snapping pictures. Everyone who passed us on the street knew we didn’t live here, and they didn’t even have to take into account that we were carrying basically all of our earthly belongings from the past 3 months with us on our shoulders. It was just…um…obvious.

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So, meander we did. In search of breakfast, mainly. The streets we walked down were basically deserted and we were having a wee bit of trouble deciphering the signs and the hours of restaurants. This sign made us laugh though:

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There were all sorts of sea creatures destined for someone’s dinner in aquariums right on the street, which was fascinating.

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After a nice walk around the block, we found an eating establishment that looked open for business and we wandered in. It was next door to a hotel, and it seemed that a tour group was here for breakfast as well. As we entered, Natasha commented, “You’re right Mom, they all have black hair.” That’s when I was glad it seemed like they couldn’t understand English. Daniel took charge of the situation and ordered some food by looking at the signs with pictures (thank goodness) as well as a calculator for clarifying the price of various dishes.

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We were seated at a low table on a slight step, leaving our shoes in the lower portion. We sat on cushions and arranged our bags around us. The kimchi and rice came piping hot from the kitchen and we ate with gusto. Korean food is truly so good. Ideally, we would have liked to have some bulgogi, but our host from the hostel told us it was more of an evening dish.
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Afterwards we found a supermarket and wandered around some more, looking the most like tourists ever. I snapped pictures of octopus and many legged sea creatures in the refrigerators.

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A kind man saw Natasha investigating the fish, and pointed out the sign and then to which ones were in the tank. I nodded and smiled, but even though he was being so helpful, it didn’t mean a thing to me since Korean characters are not a strong point of mine. Even repeating the names he told me wasn’t working. But smiling is universal and I did a lot of it.

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On our way out, we stopped at a little accessory store. We had some extra South Korean Won that I thought should be “used up” so for Natasha’s souvenir we picked out a glittery gold hair clip. Natasha was thrilled. We try not to buy trinkets at every little store in every little village or country that we travel through, so it was really quite special for us to actually buy something just for her.

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Back outside of the train station, we had a snack of kimbap and prepared to travel once more. This was our last stop before L.A. and it was so bittersweet to be coming to the end of our big adventure to New Zealand.

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Still, I think Korea will see us again sometime. One morning was not enough.

For the next post, I’ll be featuring a special post by Daniel, doing a nice review of the Asiana Airlines lounge in the Seoul airport. Push-ups in the train station were a must before boarding though.

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