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Day 1 & 2: My Cold Seoul

I have to say, we weren’t really prepared for Seoul. We packed all of our clothes with the assumption that we were going to be in pretty warm places. Maybe there would be a night in the upper 40s in the north of Thailand or something but that was it. With only 23 hours in Seoul, we never even glanced at the forecast until  Monday when we were waiting for the flight. The high was supposed to be 32 degrees.

oops.

After 13 hours on the plane, we deboarded to a beautifully modern Incheon airport and the new high speed train that runs to it.Transferring to the subway at the old airport, we were blasted with 30 degree air and had frozen hands by the time we arrived at our budget hotel in the Myeondong neighborhood. Kelly slept most of the 1.5 hour trip to the hotel and I could sense her tired frustration seeping out, but she kept her cool and even managed to rally for a small bite to eat after a shower.

Tired on the Subway

Tired on the Subway

That dinner was a little bit amusing. As much as pictures on menus concern me in America, they are pretty helpful where foreign character sets are concerned. Even so, I just pointed to one word/phrase/paragraph for my dish, which turned out to be some chili broth with noodles, beef and egg. And a deal to at 5000 won, or about 4 USD.

The homeopathic anti jet-lag stuff Dacia gave us combined with the 10 mg of Ambien we split seemed to work pretty well as we slept until 6am and still manage to feel pretty good at 4pm. After taking our time this morning, we headed to “Communication Coffee” to split a latte and a “ham and cheese” sandwich. I put that in ” because while there was ham and cheese of an unknown origin (Asians are pretty new to ham and cheese, right?) there were also pickels and some other sweet condiments on it.  It was pretty good, but I don’t know what we were thinking there other than that we were hungry.

After putting on basically all the layers we had, we walked around the market down the street that was just opening up and quickly realized our breakfast mistake. Here, old Korean women were putting the finishing touches on their food stands with loads of pickeled vegetables, ramen and rice that would’ve made a much more interesting and delicious breakfast.

Overexposed!

Overexposed!

Kimchi and other pickled things

Kimchi and other pickled things

We could take about an hour of the cold at a time, after which we would retreat to one of the million coffee and tea shops in Seoul to warm up and regain our confidence. Our culture break of the day was a visit to the National Palace, a  space that reminds me of the temples and palaces in Japan where the negative space plays as much of a role as the buildings. Afterwards, we headed back to the Insadong district for lunch and then to catch the subway.

Chubby Tim and Kelly

Chubby Tim and Kelly

That was about it. We’re back at the airport now awaiting our flight to bangkok. I’m not sure I’ll ever make it back here, but if I did, I think I’d spend my time focusing on the food, something I did not care much for before moving to NY but now really enjoy. Iknow a lot of you are familiar with Korean BBQ and certainly that is very accessible, but there are lots of other dishes that are delicious as well and I look forward to getting cooking lessons from lauren when we return.

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One Response

  1. Nice way to start the trip! you are fortunate that the currencies moved in the USD favor – you should find Thailand even more of a bargain. I’m glad you got a chance to see the local market, I have only been there once before (one day trip) but had a blast just trying all different types of food. Hope you find nicer/warmer weather in Thailand. Safe travels!
    PS> It’s snowing in NY…

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