I was really excited for Korea since I have been watching more and more Korean dramas. I even printed out some basic Korean phrases to learn before going, lol, not that I really remembered them. Anyway, when we got there it was foggy and rainy, but that’s ok because we were in Korea. The airport was on an island and you drove across this really long bridge to get in to Incheon where our hotel was. Our hotel was nice and the staff spoke really good English, but it was really far from Seoul. Actually it was kind of far from the airport too. When we were trying to get a cab at the airport these guys in a van taxi tried to get us to go with them for some really expensive price and we ended up just going in a regular cab. When we got to the hotel the price counter thing said about 50 dollars, and then when he asked for the money he had apparently clicked it up to 70 and wanted that much. Then the hotel bellhop went all crazy on him and started taking money from him and giving it back to my dad. After that we found out that it is usually only like 35-40 dollars from the airport. I think. Anyway, lol, after that we only took taxis associated with our hotel to make sure we weren’t getting ripped off.
That Sunday we took the subway from our hotel which is practically underneath it through a shopping area called Tomorrow City and then trains into Seoul and while we tried to find my dad’s old ward on the internet, we couldn’t since it appeared they changed the names and boundaries. So we ended up going to a different ward and even got to hear a talk in English by the wife of an older missionary pair. Then we were invited to have lunch with them afterward and that was good. After lunch we went to this Korean marketplace and looked at all the different foods and stuff they had there. It was really cool and they had some weird stuff. There was seafood everywhere, chicken feet in bags, people cutting off chicken feet, people cutting up chickens in front of you, live seafood like crabs and stuff, etc. This was one of my dad’s favorite places and he got us these really good pancake looking things with like cinnamon and brown sugar in the middle or something delicious like that. I forget what they are called but they were delish.
After that we found the temple up in the middle of Seoul. It was small and in the middle of apartments and things, but very pretty. On the way we saw a bunch of the food stalls that have the tarp covers where people eat and drink on the streets that I saw all the time in dramas so that was exciting for me, lol.
Some of the odd things I saw in the bathrooms while there were things like plastic toilet seat covers where you push a button and it rotates around and gets cleaned before you sit down, call buttons in the bathrooms in case you need help for something. My mom actually pushed one thinking it was the flusher once and someone started talking to her on it, lol. Then there were these touch sensitive doors that when you touched would light up and tell you if someone was in there or something. A lot of the bathrooms at the different locations had some pretty funny names too. Here are pictures of that.
Anyway, on a different day we went to Suon where we went on a castle tour in a sweet dragon monorail thing and a traditional Korean Folk village that they saved and created to preserve old Korean livings. At the castle there were a bunch of stone piles where if you place a stone on it you can make a wish, and at the folk village there was a haunted house (which I went in by myself since no one else wanted to lol), silk weaving, traditional Korean dancing, and then at the end we dressed up in traditional Korean clothes and took pictures. So that was pretty fun.
The second to last day in Korea we went to a national park with a mountain called Seoraksan. Oh, and this day and the other when we went to Suon we had a tour guide named Hans and a driver (I forget his name). Hans was only a few years older than me and spoke really good English. Before going up to the top of the mountain he bought some silk worm larvae for everyone to eat. It was disgusting I must say. Anyway, Seoraksan was really pretty and there was snow everywhere on the top. Hans and I had a race to a tree near the top (I lost, lol) and there were lots of snowball fights along the way. It was actually mostly just my dad throwing snowballs at me from behind. I rarely got a hit in. And then toward the end Hans even threw some at me (I think after he figured out it was ok for him to join in). On top of the mountain however I stepped in a snow pile that went up to like my knee and my shoe and sock got soaked. That was not the most pleasant thing and no matter how many socks we kept buying, they just automatically got soaked again because the shoe was wet.
So the next day when we went to this Korean shopping area I got some cheap shoes that are super cute. I really liked the shopping place and was sad that we couldn’t spend more time there. When we were riding the trains and subways home this guy started talking to my dad in half English and half Korean and then sat by me and kept telling me that my shoes were really clean and stuff and I was like, well, they are new. Lol, he was kind of strange and it was hard not to laugh, but when I glanced up there were a couple guys across from us also trying not to laugh at this guy. So I didn’t feel so bad.
Before going to this shopping place though we went to the palace and burial grounds. We had had a tour guide for 2 days in a row and decided we didn’t want someone talking to us anymore so we didn’t hire one, and then when we got to the burial place, a lady stopped us and became our tour guide for free anyway. She took a really long time. Much longer than we wanted to spend in that place, but it was still cool to see. Anyway, that was the day that rained quite a bit and my poor pink umbrella did not survive. So I bought another one. Always before I would get the 1 dollar umbrellas that were cheap, but this time I got one that actually cost some money and it is still working well, lol. Go figure.
So ended our time in Korea. After that, the next day I went to the airport with my parents but we boarded separate planes and met up in China.