on a cold winter's day
02.18.2009 - 03.18.2009 32 °F
Seoul from the roof of the Vabien II Hotel
My excellent Goodwill Guide, Doochull Kim
That's me at the Gyeongbokgung Palace
Arrived in Seoul on Feb 19th, had a little difficulty working Korean ATM's (the keyboard was all numeric), and then hopped on the #6005 limousine from Incheon Airport down to the Vabien II Hotel in the center of town. A great room for $85. on the 19th floor, went to the roof to take some pictures, and went down to the street to experience Seoul at night. It was a short walk, almost no signs in English, and the one restaurant I went into was too hot to stay there to eat. I picked up a snack at the 7/11 in the hotel, went upstairs, ate, and turned it for the night. Next morning, I paid 12,000 KRW in advance for the breakfast buffet at the hotel, stuffed myself silly, checked my pack at the desk, and turned around in the lobby to see Doochull Kim, my Goodwill Guide, waiting for me (he was 1/2 hour early). I knew it was him because we had exchanged pictures, and we set about seeing the center of Seoul in the bitter cold. After taking the subway to the palace (correct name to be entered later), freezing in the cold wind, we saw the extensive grounds, and started walking around Isadong in search of a Pork BBQ place for lunch. Isadong is a tourist mecca for the arts of Seoul. We found a great place to eat, and feasted on the pork wrapped in lettuce with several spicy side dishes. It was over much too fast, and soon it was time to return to Incheon, but not before Doochull treated me to coffee drinks twice (guides are supposed to be free, but this was ridiculous - he was treating me!) Time for Thailand, but not before a little incident at the airport. Asiana has a coat check service for folks like me heading to the tropics who transit through Korea. I handed over my jacket and gloves only to have them returned to me. I was not returning until March 18th, and the airline only provided the service through 3/15. I voiced my displeasure loudly, tried to abandon the jacket on the spot - only to have the agent chase me down the terminal for 10 minutes.
On to Thailand...