Hello everybody! So, I'm back safe and sound in Morioka as of Tuesday, and so here are some pictuuuuures!!
First off, Korea. I stayed with my friend Jesse from college, who lives in the south of Korea, so it was a little bit warm. But still not as warm as I would have liked. I still had to bundle up wherever I went, and looking out her window when she was at work did a number on my intentions to explore.
This is the subway station in Daegu. This is the place where they had that horrible fire a few years ago, so all the stations are new and fireproof. Soooo shiny! I had fun running and sliding on my feet on the slick floors. The stations there were really cool. Instead of a little magnetic backed paper ticket, like they use in Japan, they give you a little green token that you scan when you get on the train and then turn in when you get off. It seemed much more environmentally friendly.
A side street at the market. There were sections for everything, such as shop after shop of just seaweed, shop after shop of just fish, and shop and shop of just pots and pans and shop after shop of just bedroom slippers. Everything was divided by category. You would think that would be bad for competition, but Koreans must not think the same way. It works for them. Jesse's idea was that it probably made sense that way for organizational purposes, and then people chose what shop to go to based on family ties or something.
Inbetween the shops are these little food counters, and we stopped to eat at one. At first all we ordered were these spicy rice cake things (the red) and some fried rice paper things (north of them, next to the bottle), but the lady brought us kimchi, pickles, tea in a coke bottle, etc. We got stuffed for only about $10. The lady had fun teaching us the Korean names for everything, and the guy behind us selling socks would argue with her every now and then about stuff, but we didn't know what.
DUNKIN DONUTS!! I was so excited. I know it was cheating, but in Japan there are NO Dunkin Donuts. NONE! All we have are Mister Donuts which are kinda hard, and not nearly as sweet. I got donuts as often as I could, which wasn't often enough.
At the Korean War Museum in Seoul. This is not exactly related to the Korean War, but it was a pretty cool ship.
Korean War Museum.
Even though the museum was telling the story of the side that one, you could still see propaganda everywhere.
Here, it says, "North Korean POWs shouting with joy are warmly welcomed by citizens of Seoul." Which...may be true, but it just didn't sound very museum-y.
Yep, life was terrible during the war. The museum had a whole bunch of dioramas.
Then Jesse and I went shopping in Seoul! We didn't mean to, but while at the museum my boots started to break, and we thought we oughta get me some new ones. Turns out they don't sell boots in spring, even though it was still cold, so I had to get some regular girly shoes. Ow...
After Seoul, I went back to Daegu with Jesse. While she was at work one day, I put on my coat and went to explore the park by her house.
There was a little skate ramp thingie in front of the temple thingie, so they had this funny sign. It looks like...don't ride your motorcycles over cars?
Looking for the bookstore, which I never found, I wandered into the mall. They sure do love their coffee. Unless this is another example of putting all the same shops in the same place.
My last night, we got spicy chicken noodle stew. You had to cut it up with scissors. It was so spicy!
At the bus station. The soap dispenser is a liquor bottle.
I caught the 2 AM bus to the airport. There was a group of Korean nuns and monks at the bus station, and they were so cute. They were standing around laughing and smiling, and they had grey loose pants, and grey loose robes, and big wide grey hats, and bald heads. There were also some very interestingly dressed men at the bus station, and one of them came up to me and asked where I was going.
"To the airport."
"Yes, but after."
"No, Hong Kong."
Then he asked me to take care of his brother, who he said spoke very little English, and to personally escort him to the Thai Airways counter. Uhh, sure. Then he made sure we sat next to each other on the bus. Sorry, but Kim didn't want to be social at 2 in the morning. This guy tried talking to me a lot, and let me see his passport, which said he was from Pakistan, which made sense, considering his clothes looked very Pakistani, and Korea was the only stamp in his passport. But I could hardly understand anything he said. I heard "Thai" "Yemen" "President" so I gathered he was going home to Pakistan via Thai Airways and he'd been to Yemen, and met the Yemeni president (?), but I was much too tired to see anything else.
I had bought a sports drink from the vending machine at the station, and the old man's brother gave me one, and the old man gave me two on the way over. We pulled into the airport at 6, and the old man's flight was at 10, so I went to find Thai Airways, and gesticulated for him to stay put because his luggage was really heavy. I found it finally and went back to find him and he had found a cart, and some American military men were looking at us very strangely, wondering what a young white girl was doing with somebody that looked like a tribal elder. I showed him to Thai Airways, but they weren't open yet, so I pulled out a book and sat down and we waited. He seemed confused, asking the airport people when he could check in I guess, and I didn't know how far I was supposed to take him, but I let myself be free once he insisted my duty was over.
I checked in a while later and got to security and got rid of my sports drinks because they weren't the kind I liked anyways. What a waste.
I'll do Hong Kong later. Tomorrow hopefully.