First day in Korea

Trip Start Aug 26, 2005
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Trip End Dec 22, 2005


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Where I stayed

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Dear friends and family,

I'm going to try to recall what we did in Korea. We did so many things that it started running together. At first I want to share my impression on Korea. It is a very friendly country and Korean people likes for us to use their language even with very limited vocabularies. They all smile every time I say, "Anyon Haseyo" meaning hello. I used "Kamsa humnida" a lot. This means thank you. The city of Seoul looked like Tokyo a lot. Korean people look like Japanese, and even little shops, ally ways, and store fronts look like in Japan except all the writings are in Korean. I felt very at home in Korea and people thought I was a Korean, so they started talking to me in Korean all the time. The smell of this city is very typical of Korean with kimuchi smell. As I expected I was the only one enjoying all kinds of kimuchi the whole time I was there. I even asked our students if I could eat their kimuchi. Of course they said, "Please!"

The Sumerset Palace apartment we stayed was a 5 star hotel. Our room was on the 12th floor and the building had 18 floors. We could see the palace entrance from our window. This apartment opened 4 months ago, so it was practically brand new. The décor was modern and sleek. The furnishing was like Swedish in light color wood. The bed was so comfortable with feather comforter with white cotton duvet. On the coffee table there were 2 cup-a-ramen, a box of cookies, box of Ritz cracker with cheese, instant coffee/mocha, tea bags, and green tea bags. The HUA director, Pam Little, met us for orientation and brought pizza for us to eat. I was still full, so I didn't eat pizza, but Marvin had some leftover from eating at Outback Steak House that night for supper, so I ate that. Outback Steak House is very popular in Korea.

On Monday, Aug 29th (Our 36th Anniversary) after having a full breakfast at the hotel, even had a pottage soup (cream soup). They had a machine to make espresso, cappuccino, and coffee. Mango juice was delicious. I had a piece of sausage, scrambled eggs, one piece of French toast, strawberry yogurt, a few slices of water melon, Japanese melon, a banana. Didn't I say I had a full breakfast? We walked to Gyeongbok Palace with our guide named Austin. She is a Korean in mid 30's. She was an excellent guide and very funny. She was the guide for us for our entire stay in Korea. As we entered this palace, all the students said, "ooooooh!" because they saw a beautiful pagoda and a big mountain in the background. I knew then this was a good choice to stop over before going to Australia. They noticed and appreciated the different culture and beauty of it all. We then toured the folk museum. I wish we had more time to look around at this place. We had to go to another palace called Changdeok where we saw the changing of the guard with Korean costume. At noon we went to a restaurant owned by a monk and had a vegetarian temple food. Students tasted kimuchi for the first time. None liked it. They tried most of the rest of the vegetable dishes. After lunch we boarded onto a chartered bus driven by Mr. Park (Korean) and went to 63 building where we saw the unobstructed panoramic view of Seoul. It was hazy and pollution was bad there, so it wasn't quite clear. We went back to our apartments, freshened up ourselves (It had been very humid.), and went to eat at a Korean barbecue restaurant. Students really liked this dish. The waitresses brought hot charcoal in a bucket type thing and put it in the middle of the table, put a grill plate on, and we grilled sliced pork. When the pork was done, we put a leaf of lettuce on the palm of our hand, put a dab of hot paste, added small amount of rice, and put barbecued pork and other vegetables. Then we wrapped and ate it. It was so good.

That night we went to a show called Nanta. This was the most entertaining show I had ever seen. I laughed all the way. The non-verbal show tells of three crazy chefs and a mischievous assistant who are assigned to cook a major wedding banquet within a strict time limit. These chefs create passionate and thunderous beats with all kinds of cooking utensils, including pots, pants, knives, spoons, plates and garbage cans. It was exciting to see chopping vegetables on blocks with sharp kitchen knives. Their huge international success has finally opened a way to Broadway. We had a full day of activities.
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Comments

khorton
khorton on

Nanta
The 'Nanta' sounds exciting and fun--will have to watch for it in our country--or at least something like it. . .

Never acquired a tase for kimuchi when in Okinawa--couldn't get past the smell. . .

I am really enjoying reading about your adventures--thank you for posting all of this!

Karen

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