Well, I’m sitting in a hotel room in Seoul. Honestly I don’t really think it’s sunk in yet, and honestly I don’t know if I’m completely sure I’m here already. I’ve been up for more than twenty four hours straight, and my brain is now already filled with a bunch of Korean that I don’t understand…so maybe I’m just exhausted and need some rest.
Either way, I’m actually here. I’m actually in Korea. The plane ride was almost excruciating. Had it not been for Korean Air being a stellar company, I would be so miserable right now. But they had awesome movies (I watched the Lorax, Avengers, and some others), music, and games to play (Street Fighter II and Bubble Popper took up way too many hours of that flight). It was forever long, but finally we landed.
This is where everything fun starts to happen (I use fun both literally and sarcastically). We bought a T-money card and hopped on the bus that would take us closest to our hotel. So we rode the bus for about an hour from the airport and saw some of the most beautiful, cool scenery and cities I’ve ever seen. I give props to you Korea, you’re pretty awesome to look at. But we got off at what we thought was our stop, and then realized we had absolutely no idea which way the hotel was from the bus stop. So we walked…and walked….and walked. All while I myself was trying to roll around two 35 pound suitcases, a full backpack, and a full purse (and also a very perfect stuffed tiger). It was so incredibly difficult to do, especially since this city’s sidewalks were not created with suitcases in mind.
With hundreds of people around us, we fumbled through all sorts of narrow sidewalks and awkwardly broken roads. At one point my parents bolted ahead of me down a narrow sidewalk and I was trapped by an Ahjumma’s food stall. She then promptly stood up, stepped out from behind her stand and grabbed my suitcase, asking me where I needed to go in extremely broken English, and then pushing her way through the crowd of people, dragging me and my other case behind her. (I managed to have small conversation about where I needed to be and roughly how to get there). She got us across a huge street and far from her stall before she grabbed a traffic officer and made him help my parents and I. I wasn’t sure if SHE was going to die or if she was going to kill every last person in a car coming towards her.
She went way out of her way to help us, and I felt so stupid just saying “Thank you” in Korean and bowing about a million times. Then, as we still struggled to find our way, an older Ahjussi stopped what he was doing to help us find the hotel (I have no idea who designed this place but you probably shouldn’t hide your main entrance so well). He took my suitcase from me too and led us at least a mile until he could find the hotel for us. He carried my second case down a huge flight of stairs, then made the desk workers at the hotel get us bottles of water for free. He gave us his phone number and said that if we ever needed help that we shouldn’t hesitate to call. Trust me, Ahjussi, I won’t hesitate.
There aren’t a lot of people who speak English here, but the people we spoke to were more than willing to help (and lead us if they felt we didn’t understand them well enough). The Ahjumma with the street stall, the nice Ahjussi who could speak better English, and a beautiful, cute and charming girl who tried to help us with her GPS on her phone. The people here, though they tend to be a little skittish at the sight of my parents and I, seem to be friendly enough. Maybe I’ve just been lucky on my first day, but I think lots of Koreans are probably like this.
The hotel room itself is gorgeous. The bathroom, holy shit (excuse me but I can’t describe it any other way) is the bathroom and shower of my dreams. I’m pleased with that and I think I could spend all 8 days sitting in the shower. I wouldn’t let my parents leave to eat without me getting a shower in, haha. Our hotel is actually attached to a huge mall, so we just hopped on the elevator and went down there to eat.
Being exhausted and not willing to walk around the seemingly ENDLESS mall, we just went to On the Border. Yeah, the American chain Mexican place. We had a reason…it didn’t have a wait like other places did. Hey, when people say getting American style food is expensive in Korea, they mean it. Our three dishes (with one beer) was almost $80USD. But it was delicious after only getting airplane food for 24 hours. (Even though I’m fairly certain I almost face planted into my food I was so tired…) After that we went to e-mart and I bought a hair dryer and straightener. I would die without those things, so I pulled my parents along. Passing by all the clothing stores made me crave a day for shopping…oh no.
Well…I guess I’ll end this post now. I didn’t realize so much could happen in one day. The culture shock is incredible and the language barrier is amazing. Tomorrow should be interesting.