Seoul is the only place I visited twice on this trip. That is fortunate because this time my long time friend Carolina is visiting me. I was able to spend more time with Yun-Jin too. Carolina and I hung out with Yun-Jin, Yun-Min, her older sister, and Catherine, Yun-Min’s room mate. The second experience was just as memorable as the first. I am thankful to have a guides that know the language and show me around. The generosity of strangers continue to amaze me on my journey.
We went to Incheon to visit Yun-Min and she took us out to eat at a seafood place. It was delicious. Koreans know how to eat. Carolina and I asked if this was a special occasion kind of meal. They said no, this is how they normally eat. I love that idea. We went to the beach and looked for oysters. We also grabbed coffee/ice cream. Then they showed us the Incheon China Town. Hearing a little bit of the history of Incheon and Seoul was sobering. A divided nation that has indefinite time frame of when they will rejoin, if ever.
The next day Carolina and I went to Hongdae and ate American breakfast. That was what I wanted to eat. I really enjoy a big breakfast. There’s a satisfying feeling when I can eat eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and pancakes. We went to Lotte world after that. Lotte world is basically the Korean version of Disneyland. That was what Carolina wanted to do. It was an interesting experience, they basically compacted an American sized theme park in a mall in the middle of a city. We ended the night with eating Korean BBQ.
On the last day we went to eat sashimi at the Noryangjin Fish Market. I would like to say it is a unique experience to eat fresh fish straight from the fish market. There are many places in the world where this is possible I think. But this is Seoul. The experience was one of kind. We ate an assortment of fish, shrimp and sea urchin(uni). Like most meals I’ve had in Seoul it was accompanied with Soju and beer. We were stuffed from all that food and decided to walk it off.
Yun- Jin took us to her school, Seoul National University. Carolina and I compared the feeling of being in an American College and Seoul National University. We were seeing not as much school pride as US schools. You know ever third student you see walking by has a sweatshirt or shirt of their school name. I’m all for school pride but it gets over the top at some schools, i.e. Stanford, Cal. She showed us her graduate office, where a couple of other master students were working on their thesis.
Yun-Min got us tickets to opening night at Jamyung-go, a Korean Opera. I have never been to an opera before so it was a first for me. There was an orchestra, set design and a full cast of costumes. It played for only three nights. They had English subtitles for me on a screen above the stage. Carolina speaks Korean say she probably followed along better than me. The story is about a magical drum that warns the city if invaders are approaching and the division of two kingdoms trying to reunite despite the opposition of inside forces.
Like most countries on my trip I say that I will return. I really mean it for Korea. I plan on learning Korean and planing my next trip back to Korea after my world tour. It maybe because of the culture, a certain someone or that I didn’t train Jiu Jitsu there. Either way I had a memorable experience that I wish to have again in Korea. I recommend Korea to everyone.