I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I have 400 some odd photos of random pieces of the adventure from Ben’s very first airplane trip to food and lodgings and random flotsam that caught my eye, but that’s not what happened. That’s just what I saw. Or like, a fraction of what I saw. What I felt was.
Not entirely. Vanessa took excellent care of us every second and made the very best travel companion I could ever want. But against the backdrop of a culture with such a rich, proud history of fighting the good fight. From keeping the ever invading Japanese at bay to developing the only alphabet system with a known genesis. It’s a brilliant system that I really wish I had the resources to sit and learn.
A white American in Korea feels like she has no roots, no substance. I’ve seen natural history museums before but the people in the ancient exhibits don’t look like me. I am an intruder here. An invader. I didn’t intend to be and I never really felt it before but after touring the museums of Korea…
I’m a fluffy white dandelion seed on the breeze of humanity. I don’t know where I come from or where I rightly belong.
Anyway, I can share some photos too…
This was the screen on my seatback. It shows the flight path, up over Alaska, sticking to land as much as possible. I thought that was cool. We didn’t shoot straight out across the ocean like my cartoon map in my head imagined.
The flight was torture. I may have had a minor emotional breakdown around the 9th hour in my seat when everyone around me was able to flip up their armrests and lie across empty seats but our armrests didn’t flip up… boo
We got into Seoul earlier than the trains started running and earlier than the hostel started check-in. We did a lot of waiting and sitting and wanting to sleep. After a nap in our room, off to the river park to see the cherry blossoms and take in some people watching. There was a huge street food section that I never thought to photograph or examine. I know I saw insects and delicious egg tarts and smelled something that will now probably plague me to my death, but street food is not my scene.
We were given a “Sheep Cafe” quest which we completed with joy. These guys were soooo cute!
We stopped at a memorial for the lives lost in the ferry boat disaster 2 years ago and wept tears for ourselves and for humanity. The idea of so many people losing their children broke my heart.
While here, we were visited by a gentleman who decided to ask Ben all about his travel experience. Ironic, as Ben was on the first day of his first-ever travels. One word to describe the travel experience? Change.
The gentleman walked off, then returned to strike up a further conversation about his ideas for a business that would pair young, hip Korean hosts with clueless foreigners and take them to the lesser-known sights in Korea. Basically, he was describing a Rent-a-Puu service and we were all about it.
On Tuesday we were tickled to see a bus advertising Mata Hari in front of the theatre where we were going to see Mozart. Wednesday’s tickets were for Mata Hari on our whirlwind Korean Musical Adventure Tour!
I proceeded to discover an underground museum that Vanessa didn’t know about (go me!) and we learned of the naval warfaring history of Korea complete with a replica boat to wander through. It’s fun to tease Vanessa about how there’s an entire boat under her city that she didn’t know about. Then we had to avail ourselves of the local “try on a traditional Korean outfit” booth.
We kind of boggled the poor ladies running the place but it was all super fun!
We hung out in the cafe run by the family of a pop star Faerin loved. Vanessa sat and talked about cats with his mom while we enjoyed the view. Then we went to see Mozart and that…well, that’s another post…
Wednesday was Mata Hari day. We went to a matinee showing of the new Frank Wildhorn musical that just finished previewing in Seoul. The set was awesome, the performances were divine, the story was lackluster and the songs forgettable, but it was a lovely show.