Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Seoul-ful Trip



I went to Seoul on the weekend, whimsical, sprawling Seoul. The scale of this city is mind-boggling. The only thing that compares to it in my experience is London (mind you, I’ve never been to New York City). The area around the bus terminal is kind of boring, so my first impression was a little dreary. The cloudy weather didn’t help. I arrived in the city at four in the morning, having slept what little I could on the bus from Masan. I romped around a little, taking a few night shots with the trusty digi-camera, then I found a bathhouse to clean up and take a little nap in.

I woke up at seven and proceeded to walk around for hours, as I was due to meet my friend after twelve, when she would finish teaching her students (yes, there’s school on Saturdays here at some schools). I wandered around in a daze, made it to the Han river, which is much wider than I ever expected. Many bridges span it, and in the distance, atop a small mountain was Seoul Tower, a structure roughly similar to Toronto’s own CN Tower, or Seattle’s Space Needle…I made a mental note to visit again in order to see the view from it; I’m sure it would be spectacular being on top of a mountain as it is and all…

Then I wandered back towards the bus depot, where I was meeting my friend Adrian. I passed it, and I found a sports field where people were playing soccer, tennis, basketball, and some weird, wobbly skateboard-type thing. Being a big basketball fan as I am, I sat down and watched the action for a while. When I finally met up with Adrian (I haven’t seen her in 8 months), she asked me whether I wanted to go to one of the magnificent palaces that Seoul houses. I said of course. But soon after we exited the subway (whose system is much more complex than Toronto’s), it started raining raccoons and wolves. We still decided to go through with the hour and a half tour, after which we ended up soaked on one shoulder each, as we were sharing an umbrella. We then went to Adrian’s apartment and relaxed a little before we met up with some of Adrian’s teaching friends for dinner at a Thai restaurant and proceeded to go clubbing. Now, I’m not the sort of person who goes to bars too much anymore, as I usually get bored because I prefer to have conversations where I don’t have to yell, and I appreciate the smoky atmosphere even less than when I was younger. But I figured that because I’m in Korea, now is the time for me to do things I normally wouldn’t, and go out on a limb; I went for the gusto!

But that’s all for now: I will finish the story tomorrow.

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