South Korea: Seoul
One month tour in Asia begins, on the list: South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. As this blog is dedicated not only to my mind wondering around but my physical body going places and bringing some travel experiences, I’ll try to document it here. Mainly to have something to do on those long-haul flights apart from drinking excessive amount of tomato juice (seriously, why is it so much more delicious when flying).
Preparation. It’s been a while since I was so confused about what to pack: from my perspective it’s winter in Korea, springish weather it Taiwan and the midst of summer in Thailand. So I went with the typical packing-procrastination scenario: "let’s go out dancing, let’s go to a bar, let’s drink wine, oh, wait it’s 3 AM, I really need to pack now”. The problem is that for some reason after a few glasses of wine I felt super minimalist and I kept reasoning to my friend (who was eating Mcdonalds fries and carefully overwatching the process) that I need to pack as little as I can, because who needs all those clothes (hmm I do?). I’m still curious to open my luggage to see what’s actually in there.
Sometimes people ask me if I’m not tired of flying but actually I love it. I always had a fascination with trains and airplanes, train stations and airports. From the moment I arrive at the airport, I feel this little excitement taking over me, it’s this feeling that I’m stepping into an unknown that awaits for me, it will all be new and in a way extraordinary: the places I’m going to, the people I’ll be meeting, the adventures that are waiting. Being in the airplane still amazes me, part of me still thinks like a kid: whaaat, this giant thing up in the sky, flying over Mongolian mountains (like right now) and bringing me to faraway places in just a matter of hours. At the same time, I feel I have the best concentration while in the airplane, no wifi, no notifications, just you and a book/movie/music, it’s this weird transitional place, you’re no longer home, but you’re not yet at your destination, you’re closed up in a Boeing thinking of what you left and what’s waiting for you.
So, 14 hours of travel, podcasts, sleep, music, stretch, compressive socks (I’m just really proud of myself for wearing them), some writing, staring at the map on the screen and finally landing in the faraway land.
First day in Seoul went in a zombie mode as Peter didn’t let me sleep for more than one hour to adjust to the time zone change, I was grumpy at first, but once we got out to see the city, all sleepiness went away with the noise, lights and smells from this bustling city. We explored Gangnam district (yes, Gangnam style), made an obligatory picture, ate in a Japanese restaurant, got lost in a underground market that reawakened the shopaholic in me (I only bought two pairs of socks, but still felt like a gambling addict in a casino), drank coffee, walked, drank coffee again. We tried to be cool and thought of going for a beer, but Seoul has so many good coffee shops that we just came back to our “geeky-hipstery” selves and decided to try as many specialty coffees as possible in one day. All the coffee did not stop us from sleeping 13 hours during the night.. And after an amazing Korean lunch (breakfast for us) we're off to catch a train southwards to Busan.