My Random Travel Updates are a collection of emails that I send out regularly to family, friends and fellow travelers detailing my whereabouts and describing my most recent experiences. They are a tool for me to keep in touch with the people I care most about and to encourage my family, friends and acquaintances to reciprocate by sharing their stories with me. If you would like to be added to the email list or to send me an update of your own, write me at email@example.com.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Random Travel Update 4
Last location: San Francisco, California Arrival Date: September 12, 2007 Departure Date: September 16, 2007
Current Location: Seoul, South Korea Arrival Date: September 17, 2007 Departure Date: September 22, 2007
Next Stop: Remote Beach, Taiwan
I am in the Republic of Korea. It is 10:41am here and raining. It took me a few minutes to figure out why it felt so much more humid today than yesterday. There is an air-conditioning system in the main room, but it is not connected to the bedrooms so we slept with the window open and a fan on. Other than the current humidity, the weather here is perfect. It was about 80 degrees when I landed at 6pm last night (Korean time) and only got down to about 70 degrees by the time we came home from the spa at midnight.
I have been in the country for about 16 hours, eight of which were spent sleeping. We spent the other eight, first traveling by bus one and a half hours in rush hour traffic from the airport in Incheon to my friend Adam's place in Haebangchon, right across the street from the Yongsan US military base, and then hanging out at the market (aka huge shopping center) in Myeongdong. We didn't get out to Myeongdong until 8:45pm, but it was still packed. The streets and malls were as crowded at 9pm on Monday night as New York City's might be on a Friday or Saturday night. Everything is open late. We ate dinner around 10pm and then went to the Jjimjilbang, or Korean Spa, until 12am.
If you haven't been to a spa in Korea before, the following article describes the experience well: http://www.gapyear.com/features/the_spa_experience_in_korea.html .
Seoul is big, the biggest city I have ever seen. I cannot compare it to any US city. It goes on for miles, built up with neon lights, tall buildings, and worn down apartment buildings that are crammed onto small side streets and alleyways. The food is spicy, but it looks like I won't have too much trouble eating vegan so long as I can figure out how to communicate "no meat" competently. Have I mentioned that Sticky Fingers is here? Check it out at www.stickyfingers.co.kr.
For more on Korea, I suggest wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea.
San Francisco too, was fantastic. I met some wonderful people in the city, including my reflexologist, the friendly admissions team at Boalt Hall, and a random Berkeley student who helped my parents and me find our way back to our hotel Thursday night.
Thank you to those of you who offered restaurant suggestions. We were able to make it to both Herbivore and Millennium, both excellent. I will plan on hitting up every other vegan restaurant in town when I return to the Bay Area.
Big thank you to Ben and Haiete, who put me up for the weekend and came wine tasting with my dad and me in Sonoma. Pictures will be available shortly.