Day 35: Departure from Seoul Olympic Style

I know this post is way overdue.  Terribly sorry for the lack of posting lately, just having way too much fun in Hong Kong.  But, I didn’t forget about my blog.  I still have a bunch of photos from my last day in Seoul.  Wanted to show you guys the awesome Olympic Park in Seoul.  It could definitely become a favourite photography site for those who are really into macro shooting as well.  There’s a really nice garden in the centre of the park and a lot of different types of flowers to look at, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Park Vending Machine The park has a set out trail you can follow which will take you on for a walk for about 2.5 km or longer if you decide to get lost in the forest like I did.  So definitely, be sure to keep hydrated throughout the walk.  It’s not a crazy hike but doing the walk in 35+ weather leaves room for craziness to happen.  I actually walked around the park for about 4 hours, taking photos and stopping along the way.  But it was too hot for me, so I ended up passing out for an hour under a tree.  Not exactly the smartest thing to do with a Canon 60D sitting around my neck.  The park itself has some really funky statues and art and I mean really funky.  Like look at this piece, it’s a giant thumb.  Dogs are actually allowed in this park so it’s definitely a good place to take your pet for a walk.  Actually, if you skip over the ropes that serve as borders on the trail, you can actually find some nice spots inside the forest and lay back on the ground and stare up.  It’s like a roof top of leaves and branches with sunlight barely breaking through.  I think you get what I mean.Big Thumb  Probably my favourite bit of the park is the vending machines like usual.  I love Milkis! It’s definitely my second favourite drink in Seoul after Soju of course.  Mixing the two together isn’t a bad idea either.

Aside from the awesome scenery, you also see some Ajummas (Aunties) cleaning or gardening around the area.  Much different from the usual guys I see tending to the plants in other parks, like I saw at Guanghwamun.  And there were these funky pumpkins that looked really tasty! You can take a look at the photo at the bottom of this post.

Check out this building too! At the end of my walk, I saw this church across the street from the park.  Looks like some church of the future! It’s like completely glass and it looks like there’s office buildings inside too!  Not sure what the deal is with this building but definitely won’t find a church like this anywhere in the western world.Glass Church

After my trek for 4 hours, I went back to my friend’s and started packing.  I was leaving the next day to head back to Hong Kong; my landing pad in Asia.  If you’re ever planning on flying from Hong Kong to Korea, I definitely suggest taking Jeju Air.  Probably one of the best airlines I’ve been on and it’s cheaper than the other bigger ones.  Spent my last night having dinner with my friend’s co-workers.  They were having a going away party for one of them.  Sweet Korean Grill Again! Overall, I have to say I loved Seoul.  Favourite things here were definitely the Saunas, the Grills, the Parks, and most of all the Magic Number.  I’ll have to explain in another post what the Magic Number is.  But, in short it’s a free number you can call that has an English interpreter on the other line.  The possibilities with this number are ENDLESS.  Definitely another Travel Tip worth talking about.  So, look out for it soon.

For now I take my leave, and hopefully you’ll enjoy this new set of photos.  I’ll be gone for Singapore pretty soon, so I’ll probably be posting while I’m there.  In terms of Hong Kong posting, I’ll be doing something a little different compared to my other posts.  I’ve been to Hong Kong before, so I might do a sort of comparison to what’s changed and how it compares to Toronto.  Granted not everyone agrees with my opinions but then again it’s MY OPINION and you’re not obligated to agree.

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Day 29: Korean Landings Land-of-No-Engrish

Just another plain blog post with no photos again.  I flew with Jeju Air to get to Seoul.  They only have charter planes so the smaller kind and they do flights within Asia.  The service is actually really good, and for a chartered flight in Asia you get a total of 20kg as check-in which is a lot for this kind of plane.  The flight itself was pretty cheap, around $300 CAD for a round trip to Hong Kong.

I landed in Seoul last night.  Their airport here in Seoul (actually Incheon) is really nice.  “A” plus on the cleanliness of the washroom.  It was super clean.  Although, from where my plane landed it took a while to get to the exit gates.  I spent like a good 20 minutes looking for the bus stop I needed to get to.  As I was looking though I noticed that at the airport they actually rent out cellphones.  I ended up picking one up since I’d probably need one to call all the tour companies and sites for information.  They don’t sell pre-paid SIM cards here because in Korea they don’t use GSM cellphone networks like most of the world.  They use CDMA which doesn’t use SIM cards so you can’t even use your phone here if you wanted to.  I ended up finding the bus I need to take to get to my friend’s place.  There’s a specific booth that sells bus tickets in front of every exit.  Remember this when buying KAL (Korean Airport Limousine – Coach Bus) tickets that you can get round trip tickets.  They might try and scam you saying that they don’t sell them.  But just argue until they do.  Its generally cheaper to get a round trip.

Notable things in Seoul.  Remember to bring deodorant when coming here.  Its not popular at all and generally pretty hard to find in the less central areas.  Bring cash before arriving.  Most of the ATMs here won’t accept your debit card if you want to withdraw cash directly from your bank account, and only take credit card.  I had to find a HSBC that was a few subway stops away from where I’m staying, but it wasn’t exactly close.  Seoul is HUGE.  From one end of the subway system to the other, it can take up to 2 hours to travel.  So its definitely much much larger than Hong Kong.  If you love fried chicken, you’ll love Korea.  There’s a fried chicken place at every block! Better than KFC or Popeye’s any day!

Earlier today after getting my cash, I walked around the underground mall in Jamsil Station.  It’s pretty neat.  It’s kind of like Toronto’s PATH mall but slightly smaller.  From I was told, these underground malls are generally easier to shop at than the bigger malls.  I guess I’ll find out what they mean when I actually go see them tomorrow or later in the week.

Tonight I went out with my friend and her co-workers from the private school she teaches at and everyone there is Canadian save for one.  But, it was awesome.  They took me out to this ALL YOU CAN EAT Korean BBQ.  It was 100 times better than the ones in Toronto!  Actually, in Toronto, all the all you can eat KBBQs are pretty crappy.  The Chinese owned ones where they sell you cheap ass meat, but then I guess it’s okay after 10pm for $10.  But, this KBBQ here is EXCELLENT meat and it’s ridiculously cheap! Only 13000₩ which is roughly $13 CAD.  What made it so good though was that it wasn’t on a cheap grill either.  It was on a pretty high grade hot plate from what I can tell.  Cooking food on it didn’t really leave a dirty char film that you usually get with cheaper grills and of course the side dishes were great!  Oh and can’t forget the cheap soju here for like 2000₩ or $2.

I’m headed off to bed now though.  Going to check out Seoul’s multicultural area called Itaewon tomorrow and there’s supposedly a museum there too.