After the MERS scare in July died down, we managed to plan a trip to Seoul before my eventual civilian service duty begins in mid-September (more on that later).
My first time to the city, I came here with little prior knowledge and expectation. Sometimes it’s better to see things for yourself. My last contact with this Chosen Empire was Busan back in 2008. I thoroughly enjoyed the beach city and its delicious food.
Seoul strikes me as quite different. It doesn’t quite have the beach city vibe with its foreigners and sunshine – the best description that comes to mind is it’s a bigger (and maybe better) version of Taipei. Seoul is huge. The roads are big and the subway system is mind boggling. Walk from the Seoul station entrance to the boarding platform alone took us 15 minutes of waking up and down various platforms.
Contrary to prior impression, all the Seoul people I’ve met so far are very friendly. Perhaps not like the ridiculous manners found in Japan, but it’s a very simple everyday courtesy found in Taipei. Lots of greetings from a store owners, and friendly conversations from people on the subway. A kind elderly man even gave us a gift as he said good bye to us.
Nice and calm, the tour was the typical thing you would expect from a place like this. For 2000 Korean won (USD$2), we were quite happy to cross one site off my list and get my cultural quota filled for the trip.
More exiting entries to follow – tomorrow we will visit Panmunjom / DMZ if all goes well.