Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UK DOES SEOUL!

Korea: meet Will.
   Almost 13 years ago, on a world wide back packing trip I met a Welsh guy who was pretty cool. After parting ways in Melbourne, Australia in 2000- we made a drunken pinky promise to keep in touch and meet up elsewhere in the world at some point in our lives. I moved to the south of England while he was living up in the north but we made a point to hook up as often as possible, usually on a dance floor of some club or another. He made a few trips down and I made a few trips up. As timing had it he moved to Brighton where I lived just as I headed back to Canada. But since then he is always on my list of people to see in England. Living in my old city, it's always a good time going back to Brighton to see Will (or Matt, whatever the hell your name is ;) Over the years he has been to Canada to visit me and one of these days I have hopes to make it to Ibiza with him and his crew. Well- he came to Korea. Korea isn't exactly on many peoples lists of places to see, so it was so great to have my first visitor here.
He was in the country for about 2 weeks but I only saw him for 5 of those days. I live just outside of Seoul, in a pretty small city, with not much to see or do. We only spent 2 days here. He got his bearings in Osan, we did lots of catching up and then were headed to Seoul.



One point of interest we squeezed in before Seoul was in Suwon, the city's Fortress. It's like Korea's miniature version of the Great Wall of China. It outlines the old city walls and there is an old Palace dating back to the Joseon Dynasty. It is has lots of history to it, and the views high up on the fortress walls are unbeatable.







Our Weekend in Seoul 

Friday afternoon Garry, Will and I made our way to Sinchon, the Love Motel capital of that area. After sussing out many a love shack, we finally settled in to one. From there we headed to Hongdae. This is one of the most colourful areas in Seoul in my opinion, and couldn't be left unseen. We picked a nice restaurant to eat because after a few days of rice and kimchi, Will was ready for a change of menu. After dinner we spent the evening hopping from bar to bar and watching the night go by. We had to be up early for Saturday so at a decent hour we started to make our way home. Enroute though other plans formed and we ended up ringing in the morning in some seedy bar with a group of Korean randoms. Lots of soju later and very little sleep, Saturday morning showed it's face.




The following series of photos are an excerpt of how our night unwound. Will made friends with these random Korean guys on the way home and somehow, against better judgement, ended up drinking in Sinchon with them till the sun came up.


1 : 7

2 : 7

3 : 7

4 : 7

5 : 7

6 : 7

 7 : 7 - The Finale
(and possibly the most random photo ever! Teddy Bear, WTF?)
Saturday I had us booked on a trip to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea). Garry and Will and I (but mostly the boys) were a site for sore eyes. I am actually impressed we even made it to meet the bus (I assure you it was a valiant effort on my part, the boys- not so much!) We met up with a bunch of friends on the trip and what started off painfully ended rather well. We had a few stops including reunification villages, the Peace Bridge, and a viewpoint where we got to see North Koreans, as if we were watching them like animals in a far off zoo.   There was a traditonal Korean food lunch stop and some touristy gimmicks during the day, but most of it was interesting. We watched a short documentary on the North and the South, we got to climb down, through and back up one of the discovered tunnels dug by the North (please note this was the WORST possible hangover cure EVER!) We looked through a photo gallery and a few other things to stretch the day out, but overall, minus the hangovers, it was a cool tour.


Peace Bridge






After a brief nap and some grub back at the Love Motel, Will and I suited up, got some soju in us and were off to meet some friends for the next item on the agenda. Global Underground @ Club Elui. Dancing is what Will and I do best together and somehow from England he sorted us with guest list, VIP and all that jazz to Seoul's newest club. Nice-uh! It was a little difficult to summon the energy but a few shots in we were nestled into the dance floor as happy as could be. I haven't really been to a decent club in Seoul and in 10 months I was going through some withdrawal. Will came at the perfect time. We danced till 5 am and the music and company was fantastic!











Sunday. After a very brief lie in, off we were again. We met up with Garry midday and made our way to the base of Namsan Mountain. We hopped in a cable car and spent the next few hours at the top of the mountain overlooking Seoul. There were some traditional performances going on we got to watch and then the rest of the time was just scoping out the views. We went to the top of N'Seoul Tower (the equivalent of Toronto's CN Tower) and lucked out on a perfectly clear day to enjoy the views.  Seoul is a huge metropolis, with a population of about 12 million people. It is geographically dissected by the Han River and dotted with mountains, a strange characteristic of a city, but it makes it all the more spectacular to see with a bird's eye view.




After a long and fun filled 5 days of touring and catching up we parted ways underneath the city, in Seoul's metro. We sent Will off down to Busan and Jeju to experience a little more of Korea, and Garry and I were homeward bound for Osan. Not only was it amazing to see Will and have him visit here, but telling him all about Korea as a country, the people who live here, and my experiences in the last 10 months here, reminded me how much I love korea. I have done so much traveling to so many foreign places in my life but Korea is different. Never have I had the opportunity to spend so much time in one place and integrate myself into a society like this. I have seen a side of this country I would never have grasped just passing through. It was nice to talk about and tell someone about it and share what Korea has been for me.

2 comments:

PolishHammer said...

One of my fav blogs! Sounds like a fantastic few days!

Alexandra DeMaria said...

Thanks!