Saturday, October 4, 2008

Korea, part 1

[Those of you who read SonicLlama's blog will notice some (strong) overlap between our stories and pictures. Perhaps my posts will provide you with new insight or aesthetic enjoyment, or perhaps you should just skip over these. I cannot instruct you here.]

Since I clearly haven't done enough fun stuff this summer, I rounded off the month of September with a trip to Korea with my dear friend, SonicLlama. We were there for only a week, so we had a bit of a rushed visit. Aware of our limited time, we did our damnedest to pack as much site-seeing as possible into our every day.

So, backpack on back, I strode off onto the airplane and into the distant Orient.

(As a side note, may I say that melatonin is perhaps the most awesome drug ever invented? I tried it for the first time this trip, and after only one day I was over my jet lag. Good lord!)

My first full day in Korea was spent alone, exploring the marvelously bustling city of Seoul. While the majority of them are recently reconstructed, the palaces and tombs littered about the city are something to see. I also apparently managed to show up in the middle of "Korean Thanksgiving", meaning that I got to experience some level of random revelry at completely unexpected moments.

First stop, the Seoul tower:

On top of a hill in the middle of the city, the tower provides pretty fantastic views of the city. And, because of aforementioned Korean Thanksgiving, there was a maypole dance going on.

And I have no idea what exactly this art installation was intended to signify, but there was a plethora of locks attached to a chain-link fence. I thought it looked kind of neat.

And, of course, there was the obligatory wash of neon lights.

While not as pervasive as in Tokyo, I was reassured to see a smattering of random pop-culture ephemera littering the streets. The first, a statue of Gandalf, was unexpectedly standing sentry at a coffeeshop near my hostel. The second, whom I can't place (can you?), posted himself in front of the Cartoon Museum at the base of the Seoul Tower.

And I'll leave you with that little taste of Seoul. To look forward to in upcoming posts: palaces (lots of palaces), enormous flag poles, North Korean soldiers, and Buddha statues (lots of Buddha statues).


  1. As much as I also love reading SonicLlama's blog, yours is also awesome because of the prominence of pictures. Awesome!

  2. I believe it is Optimus Prime of Transformers fame...

    Looks like a great trip!

  3. Hmm. Must be a stylized incarnation of Optimus Prime that I'm not familiar with. How humiliating if that's right and I didn't recognize him!

  4. Oh, so all blue and red mighty robots look the same to you, is that the deal? You anti-robites make me sick. He is in fact Taekwon V, Korean rip-off of popular Japanese robot Mazinger Z.