It’s been a packed few days, so I’ll break it down a day at a time!
(to see more pictures and such, check out the “Pictures” page. Genius, I know.)
Koreans like to give you presents for buying things. I bought some face wash, and was handed a smoothie on the way out. I’m pretty sure it’s not just because I’m Western, because two Koreans with me also got a smoothie for their purchase.
McDonald’s delivers! Seoul not only is fairly westernized, but also has a bit of a one-up on us!
Seoul goes on for miles upon miles. Because I only have a few weeks of being a tourist before I am a local, we decided to take advantage! We went to the Seoul Tower on Friday night, and it was mind-boggling–I’ve never lived in a city this size, or even close! You walk all around the 360 Observation Deck, and the lights are unending in every direction, except when you face north–North Korea. Below is one of the views: (The windows were labeled with which other cities you were facing–this I think was Beijing/Incheon.)
We road the tube to the tower, and took some time walking back. The roads are quite interesting. The main roads are really busy, and buses cut off little cars like it’s their job–which it is. The side streets wind every which way, and every street has shops and bars and restaurants and everything that every other street does, and cars weave their way through the various pedestrians and mopeds and such–and if a truck comes towards you, move! They will win.
We also had a demonstration from the Midong Elementary Tae Kwon Do team. They where phenomenal, and apparently they’ve performed for Queen Elizabeth II. This kid was my favorite. (Yes, he did what it looks like he’s about to do!–run up their backs, and break 4 or 5 boards along the way)
Korean Folk Village! It was interesting–I’m guessing it’s similar to if a tourist visited Williamsburg in Virginia to check out the old Pilgrim colonies? Only loads more interesting. We also saw a traditional dance performance while here, and a ridiculous man on a tightrope (see below).
Lunch was in the open-market, and I had a bean pancake–and yes, I use chopsticks here! I’m getting pretty good–and I LOVE the food so far, and it’s mostly cafeteria food, so if that’s good, then I should be OK.
Then we went to the Gyeonggi Arts Center for a private performance of Breakout, which was phenomenal. I was either in awe of their dancing, or crying from laughing so hard. I was not allowed to take pictures or video, but you can check out some YouTube videos here and here that I found. (As a side note, South Korea hosts the International B-boy World Cup, so they’re pretty serious about their dancing, and it shows!)
We also got lessons in the drumming and dance from the performance at the Folk Village. The drumming is tricky! And I won the dance “competition” and got some CDs–which just made me happy because I love any and all affirmation of my dancing skills–whatever exactly they are!
Driving home, our bus took a wrong turn down a side street, so the driver hit a reverse back out onto the main road. Love the driving here! Very exciting!
Monday was its own day. I’ll have to write more later, but that’s all I have time for at the moment.
I am having a blast, and it’s been 2 days. Of course, it’s still a bit unreal, as I’m always surrounded by fluent English-speakers when we go out and such. So I’m still waiting on culture shock to hit. Part of me loves being at orientation and meeting everyone–which is a culture difference in itself, with the different countries here!–but I still can’t wait to move into my apartment and get settled in my city and start finding my way around, you know?
I want to be a local here!