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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trip to Seoul: My last day

A short but eventful day

The famous Samsung Tower Palace near Dogok station.

My forth and last day in Seoul was quite eventful. I didn't have a lot of time to do much, so I decided to go to one part of the new Seoul and walk around there. That part is named Gangnam and it's full of high-rise buildings with shopping malls and restaurants. Since I'm such a fan of Skyscrapers, I was very happy to get the chance to see the Samsung Tower Palace (above) and Samsung Town (below), two spots with awesome modern buildings that make you aw.

I woke up at 9 am and only had 8 hours till my flight back to Taipei. I took a shower, packed my bags and left soon after. It was over 10 already. My hostel (actually a home stay) was near a subway station, so I didn't need to walk very far. But when I took the train, it really needed a long time to bring me to that other side of Seoul, to the modern part. The distance in this city is always huge and you need a lot of time for transportation. So, my plan was to walk around Gangnam, take photos and try to find Lee Hyori's new album. And I wanted to send some greeting cards to various people.

My room in the home stay near Hyehwa. Will blog about it.

Do you remember the bet I had with my girlfriend? She said that some random Korean girl will talk to me. Guess what, my girlfriend won the bet. Just when I was heading towards Gangnam, a girl came to me in the train and asked me, where I was from and talked to me for few minutes and then left. Well, I must say she was a bit... how to say... weird? Maybe. Well, seems as she had some mental problems, to be honest. Before she talked to me, she talked to herself and made some weird gestures. Or maybe she was under the influence of some substances? I don't know. I must say, she did look good, though ;-)

Once in Gangnam, I walked around as planned and took many pics.

Walking on the Teheranno to the trendy Gangnam district.

The famous Samsung Town in Gangnam.

Then I asked around where to find a place that sells music CDs. And people really helped me, directed me to a building named Kyobo. There's a bookstore inside and a floor below they sell CDs. Just when I came out of the elevator, I saw the CDs and in the middle was Hyori's new album H-Logic, highlighted and promoted. I bought it immediately. It cost 14500 Won, which is around 10 euros. That's quite cheap for a CD, last time I bought one in Slovenia, they cost at least 15 euros or more. But then again, it must have been years. I usually don't buy music CDs anymore, I prefer mp3s, but since it's hard to get her album outside Korea (for now) and since I'm there, I said to myself: I'm gonna grab it :-)

Finally! I have Lee Hyo-ri's new album!

After I've bought the album, I really had to rush back to the station and hop on the train to Gimpo Airport and subsequently to Incheon Airport. I again underestimated the enormous size of Seoul. From Gangnam to Gimpo I needed nearly 1h and a half. I had to stand all the time with my back pack, a bag with a laptop and a smaller one with my Pentax. My back seriously hurt (and still does), but I had no choice. My SMRT card was also near zero and in my wallet I had only 5000 Won (which is about 3 euro) and you don't get much for that. I was a bit (no actually very) worried, if I will make it on time. Guess what? I made it in the last minute. Once I arrived at Gimpo subway station, I had to find the Airport Express train to Incheon Airport. I found it quickly, it was one floor below. I had to run, the door was nearly closing. It was exactly 3 pm and this train always leaves at the full hour. If I missed this one, the next would be at 4 pm! And my flight was at 5 pm! I would definitely delay the flight, because from Gimpo to Incheon you need like 30 mins... and then the check-in, screening, immigration, finding your gate, which is usually so far and eventually boarding - 1h would definitely be too short. So I was sooooo relieved, that I caught that airport express at 3 pm. Pheewwwww...

Taking the Airport Express back to Incheon Airport.

Once I checked in at the Incheon airport, I tried to find greeting cards to send to some people, but that turned out to be another challenge. I only had 30min before boarding and before I found a shop that sells them and another shop that sells stamps and then post office, my time nearly ran out. I only managed to send 2 cards and then I was literally running to the immigration and later to my gate. People were already boarding, it was 4.50 pm. When I queued to board, a Japanese auntie kept talking to me... in Japanese! She had some fun, she laughed and behaved as if we're at a hawker. I had no clue what she was saying, I only understood wakaranai, which meant that I don't understand. She was right. I didn't understand and I didn't care.

The sun was shining over a wing of the plane: Beautiful!

Once I sat on that plane and we took off, I felt so relieved. Seoul was a great experience, I have so much to blog about, but I was happy to see my beloved girl again. She waited for me at Taoyuan airport all pretty and dolled up: She looked amazing! Suddenly I forgot all the Korean beauties and felt so happy, that my Taiwanese sweetie stands there all beautiful just for me. It feels great to be home. Home is where my heart feels warm.

Bench in Hyehwa, Seoul.

On board, I've read a magazine, which was about Mark Twain and I found one of his quotes that I really like and it can be applied to me and my life recently:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I cherish every trip I made recently and every moment I spent with my girl. My life is not really a routine now, even if that's what I strive for: A good stable job and pay and security. But going on a trip alone to a big unknown city is a challenge, an adventure... but it's rewarding. Sometimes we should do something out of the ordinary. So if you're given the chance: Do it. 20 years from now you'll say it was the best time of your life.

[All photos by MKL, 2010][My main SEOUL page]

13 COMMENTS:

From these pictures the city look very industrial. I am glad you had a good time, and that you caught that train! Stressing when you're travelling is th worst.

wow that was close! added some drama and you surly made most of your time and im taking your advice and even i'll travel ... long and far ....

That bench is hysterical! I would have probably taken a million pictures of me with it. ^^

The bench!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want it!!!!!!! Really... no joking! :-)

are you sure she was talking to herself and not because she has a microscopic bluetooth in her ear or something? :p i miss you tai-lou.

the buildings and sky scrapers look very much what we have over here. Only it seems to be chillier there, here is a bit hotter and have bigger streets.

Dude you definitely make me wanna visit this place.

Been away for a few days and hadn't checked your blog, but was happy to see you've just been in Seoul.

I'm going to Korea in a week!

I'm guessing you don't speak much Korean? How was it like getting around and such?

Despite being Korean, I don't actually speak it and am wondering if most Koreans have some knowledge of English.

@Carina: Thanks. It was really a tough call :)

@Lily: Yes, yes.

@Amogh: Drama indeed.

@Nashe: Only took one pic of the bench :) But it's definitely interesting.

@Daisy: Haha..

@Ejann: She was talking to herself, definitely. I saw other people's reactions, they felt uneasy. Miss you, too :)

@Andhari: Yes, it's much colder in Korea now, because they're located quite north, like Europe.

@Becks: Oh, you're Korean? Cool. Well, I wrote about my encounters with Koreans in my day 1 post. Many people spoke English, especially men. But for them it was obvious, that I'm a foreigner, since I'm white and I had a big back pack and a map in my hand :) They will think you're local or that you speak Korean. And men may not approach you as much as they did me, because you're a woman and they may not be as open to you, it's a cultural thing and I'm sure you know that already. I'd say most Koreans don't speak English, but if you need help, look for some young people or go to some McDonald'ses and ask there. I did few times and usually someone spoke English. But you can also read my next posts, they will be about how to come from the Incheon Airport to other parts. Good luck :)

In Following the Equator Mark Twain also said : "You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius."
kekekeke, now you need to come to Mauritius tooooo xD
and bring Lily along xD

Seems you also made your friends want to visit Korea, I think Korea government should give you a reward also. :-P

Although it's a pity that I can't go with you, but now I only focus on visiting your country and your family, I believe we'll have time to visit Korea and other places together.

So where are ya planning on going next??

@Manju: Twain was a wise and funny man and I believe that his quotes make sense. I'd love to visit Mauritius with Lily :D

@Lily: It's ok. This was an educational tour, hehe. It was too short for 2 people to enjoy. Next time we can stay longer and take it easy. We have time :P

@Harini: No plans, that's it for this year. I may make small trips within Taiwan :)

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