A Travellerspoint blog

annyeong seouuuul

day one : rescued by youngjoo

sunny 0 °F

I woke up yesterday morning and avoided going or ever looking outside for like three hours (woke up at 6 ugggh jetlag). Promise of breakfast made by hostel is.....apparently not reflection of actual events. Mom saves me with the leftover cheerios from airplane snack bag!! (I LOVE YOU OH MAN THERE ARE NO CHEERIOS HERE)
dude next to me BOLTS upright on the couch (we are packed in like SARDINES here, there are two bunkbeds in each closet (one is where I stay) plus one in the tiny living room next to a couch ppl keep sleeping on) and goes WHAT TIME IS IT so I told him it was nine....yep his flight left at 8.30 ! Exciting times. this can be traced tothe fact many ppl enjoy participating in korea's other national pastime, namely, blacking out on our couch.
Anyway I left him calling the airline in fractured mandarin, got dressed, and busted open our door to the outside world and - literally just starting laaaaaaaughing semi-hysterically. I had sprinted a little around it at night, but now in full-color glory was HONGDAE, SEOUL, the most colorful jam-packed streets I have ever ever seen ever. In Seattle, when there is a tall building it might have a store on the bottom floor and then business offices or apartments above...not here! There are just another eight floors of giant colorful signs connoting MORE stores. There are more stores here than there are people in Seattle; it's insane, and I kept wondering How do they all stay in business?? We walked around one district with I kid you not nine nearly identical lotion/makeup stores in a row. All full. ???

Adventures of the 15th Included:
- Korea. um. KOREA. I have been crazy lucky to have traveled quite a bit, and let me say NOTHING has ever prepared me for this. I know Korea on the page, the screen, and the Ave, but korea on korea's terms is ... I don't know, mind-boggling. I told Kate this already haha but I honestly felt like I was on the moon. Or at least some historical explorer stumbling on, like, the Aztecs for the first time.

- 'OH NO ITS THE MOON HAHAAAA WHAT HAVE I DONE WHERE AM I WHY DID I DO THIS AAAAH' as I wandered a bit around my neighborhood being passed by a hundred thousand Hongik U students all dressed to the nines , including the guys of course; let me tell you we have gone many steps past metrosexual here into a whole nother realm of manbags heeled shoes skinny jeans and dyed perms (not to mention the straight man hand-holding, which I knew about but was still strange). THEN! My first familiar face here : Giant poster of JAY PARK. I laughed some more at that one, but I was glad to see him no joke.
Youngjoo asked later if I had seen him and when I told her she was like 'Ah! A friendly face! 'Hello, neighbor' for you!' hahaha.

- 'Meet me at Hyehwa station Line 4 exit 1 at 10.45!' says Youngjoo. 'Okay cool' says I, beyoooond naively. haha yeah. Subway system. FINDING the subway station ... I had to ask someone because there was one sign at the university and then, like, Find it yourself Haha, so I went in this eyeglasses store (there are also a MULTITUDE of these) and three young guys in powder blue polos all descended on me bowing and talking moon-talk. They were very sweet when I tried to explain I did not in fact need more glasses but rather wanted to find Hongik Station, which then was a whole other fiasco of EIGHT ZILLION KOREANS MOVING FAST BUY A TICKET WHERE ARE YOU GOING LETS GO AWAY WE GOOOO yeah I definitely bought a ticket for EWHA station instead of HYEWHA and then had to transfer, and you can't tell which way the train is going, and the English present is actually a hindrance because everyone romanizes differently (internet: 'Get off at Dahngdemun' Info station: 'Get off at Dongdemoon' OH RIGHT THEY'RE THE SAME PLACE OKAY THEN). bleh. Anyway then I had the wrong ticket and the gate wouldn't let me out so I just busted through while the guard was distracted with these other girls and ran out to find youngjoo ...

- WHO IS A SAINT YOUNGJOO I LOVE YOU. We went alllllll over Seoul for like six or seven hours; she missed class (although it was English I told her to count me as practice lol) and brought me a water bottle and iced latte. She basically rescued my trip, because I was not bold/inured enough to even go to starbucks (or open my mouth anywhere ever, basically). Also I felt, like, condoned by the Koreans while I was with her, haha.

- Path: Her U has an ancient shrine! With tiny children IN HANBOKS !! -- Coffee = 'Copi-lattay' -- Hiked around old traditional-style houses (DREAM HOUSE OMG) -- SO HOT SO HOT DYING -- Took bus winding around mountain -- Insadong is shopping land! -- Lunch of cold noodles (pretty good) and mashed potatoes with mayo (ummmm) -- you have to take off your shoes EVERYWHERE and my shoes have buckles. on, off, on, off, tired -- There are a couple other foreigners! HELlO OTHER BLONDE PEOPLE HELLO -- King sejong and Yi sunshin have a museum, is groovy (and out of the sun) -- Starbucks here is SO EXPENSIVE, like, six bucks for a tall. YEAH WHAT -- Drank a drink that was fanta with jello in it. good?

Anyway now I have to figure out how on earth to make the Korail website work for me so I can travel around. Trapped in Seoul forever would be okay but Thanksgiving is REALLY complicating things and the korail website HATES me for some reason. Oh technology, come on.

<3 <3 xx

Posted by dodie.does 17:30 Archived in South Korea Comments (2)

vol. 2 : shell-shockeddd

basically the worst night ever !

sunny

Greetings from SEOUL, children! THAT'S RIGHT SEOUL. I made it here by some miracle (no seriously, it deserves to be deemed miraculous) alive and in one piece (except maybe mentally), although with NO MONEY to my name, for reasons forthcoming.

Vancouver to Shanghai was LONG and the plane was preeeeetty ghetto (mom, you would probably not have been psyched) - lights had all these bugs and weird moldy spot things, and the plane gave this big shuddering stall thing a couple hundred feet up that was SO CONCERNING. Also, there were at least nine tiny babies and NO TVs. 12 hours, bbs. 12 hours with one ancient color-futzed TV six rows to my left that showed the same Korean movie seven times back to back. Also I never actually figured out what happened in said film even though it was like the backdrop to my life for twelve hours; something about a son and a baby and the wife committed suicide and they sang. Noooot sure.
Anyway I survived by reading half of Neil Stephenson's Anathema, which made the whole day take on a super bizarre otherwordly note and btw is AMAZING and awesome and a thousand pages long. Anyway.
(sidenote: one of the other dudes in my hostel is now awake. observing for bfast protocol...)

LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG LONG LONG STORY SHORT: Shanghai to Seoul was delayed six times, four hours total. which meant not only was i DELIRIOUS with exhaustion, but the last bus to Seoul from the Airport (about an hour away) was long gone. So I had to take a taxi (MY LEAST FAVORITE THING EVER I hate watching the meter go, literally my blood like curdles omg horrifying) and THEN since it was midnight it had a different NIGHT RATE and it was $140 to get to my hostel. which closed at 9pm.
YEP. YES SIR.
Did I mention I had $100 korean cash on me and that was it? Yep, good days. We got past a hundred bucks on the meter and I told the dude I literally do not have enough money for this (they didn't take cards). He's like What?? I said I literally have a 100.000 won to my name rn, I'm not joking. SO ! Then we stopped at three different ATMs around Hongdae (WELCOME TO KOREA SPRINT AROUND AT MIDNIGHT TO ATMs WITH A RANDOM TAXI DRIVER BTW THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE HERE THAN YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE) until one took my debit card (THANK BABY JESUS I BROUGHT IT OMG OMG) and then got bitched at by the very unhappy hostel manager dude (even though then four more dudes came in AFTER me so jeez).

Then I collapsed onto my bunk bed and died for about four hours.

Also I have no phone and no towel, and this is proving to be a LARGE PROBLEM. not sure how to remedy it...thank GOOOD there is a computer iwth internet here!!!

Okay well I am alive and here, and off to have more exciting adventures. <3 <3 <3

Posted by dodie.does 16:11 Archived in South Korea Comments (3)

oblig first post!

T-72 hours and counting !

64 °F

Doing rosetta stone like a beast in preparation for the epic journey of epic! I am pretty freaking excited. Yes.

Posted by dodie.does 19:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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