Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh my!

(more like giraffes and a penguin, but good luck finding a lyric to match that!)

George and I decided to spend Halloween in Seoul, the capital city of Korea. Our good friend Wade was finishing up his contract the following week, so we were able to say goodbye to him, see some other friends in Seoul, and get a weekend away from Busan.

We took the KTX (Korean high speed train) from Busan to Seoul on Friday night. The train travels at speeds of up to 300 km/hr, so it only took us 3 hours to reach Seoul. Unfortunately the city is massive, and Wade's place (our Friday night accommodations) was about 1.5hrs from Seoul Station. We arrived late Friday night and after just hanging out for a bit decided to get to bed in order to rest up for the next day.
I had all kinds of ambitious touristy plans for Saturday, but we woke up to rain. After gorging ourselves on pastries we made the trip back into Seoul before noon. George's friend from high school, Quan, lives about 5 minutes from Seoul station, so we decided it was a safer bet to stay there on Saturday night, in order to make it to our train home on Sunday.
The rain showed no sign of letting up, so instead of seeing Seoul Tower, going for a cruise on the Han River, or exploring one of the many palaces in Seoul, we went to a major shopping district and spent the afternoon browsing. I did however get to fulfill two of my goals for the trip - to shop at forever21, and to eat a Subway sandwich (it was disappointing).
Saturday night was Halloween so we got in costume and went out on the town. Koreans don't really celebrate Halloween, so there were people stopping to gawk at the crowds of foreigners in goofy costumes. I had a great night, and it was made better by the fact that my costume was the comfiest I've ever worn!
Seoul was great, but I could tell from a short visit that if I lived there I'd spend a lot more money. The shopping, food and the bookstores would eat away at my pay cheques, so I think it's safer for me and my wallet to be in Busan! I also like how Busan is so much smaller - nothing is really more than an hour away, ever, and that's really nice.
I had a great time in Seoul, and I can't wait to go back and actually see some of the sights that I wanted to see!

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