Friday, January 8, 2010

Just another cosmopolitan city

So a lot of people have asked me what Seoul is like, and honestly, it is like any other large, cosmopolitan city (at least what I have seen so far - keeping in mind I have spent most of my time in a meeting room in the hotel :) ) This morning I went for a walk down Tehran Road (in front of my hotel) and I could have been in any major Canadian city with the exception that I couldn't read any sign on any building. My Korean isn't that strong - okay, how about we say non-existent!

Yesterday morning (after I did my blog), I decided to go to the fitness centre in the hotel to have a run on the treadmill. I figured that if I was up this early, I might as well make some good use of my time and get back into the swing of things. Now the hotel (I am staying at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel) has a great fitness centre complete with a 25m pool, a tanning booth, large lounge areas and a few torture devices in the gym area. They have those belts that you put around your (fat) ass and it vibrates (I didn't try it out - I would have felt like an idiot) and they also had this roller/massage thing that I couldn't quite figure out, nor was I going to try as I figured that I was going to give the group of Korean men in the gym something to talk about anyway. As you all know, God has endowed me well and I think that all of the old Korean men that were in the gym quite enjoyed it! I have never seen so many people warm up and stretch so well around me as I did then! LOL!

Up until this trip I liked to think that I was fairly adventurous when it comes to food, but I have now realized that I like things that are familiar. Yesterday morning we went for breakfast in the hotel and let's put it this way, I don't think pho (vietnamese soup) is for breakfast. Nor do I think that sushi or oyster soup are breakfast items either. I am more of a waffles/toast/bacon type of girl. One thing I have noticed about the Korean diet is that it is high in protein and low in carbs (although they do seem to like their pasteries). Also yesterday at lunch we had Chinese food - go figure - we are in Korea and we had Chinese - today we had Japanese! I was impressed with myself as I ate the shark fin soup that was put in front of me yesterday. It wasn't bad but let's put it this way - I didn't ask for seconds! Tonight we are going out for Korean BBQ and I have made it clear that I won't eat puppy or any "parts". One of my goals this year is to cut back on my Starbucks intake, but I have to admit, I caved this morning. When I was out on my walk I came across a Starbucks and since I hadn't had breakfast, I decided to treat myself. Thankfully they have managed to proliferate everywhere! The menu was pretty much the same although I couldn't order a Venti mocha, nor did they have decaf! They did however had a Honey Orange Latte but given that I am not that adventurous with food, I opted not to have one.

A few things I have noticed over here include a lot of really bad teeth and an absense of dentists. There are also a lot of 7-11s around. Along the Han River coming into Seoul, they seemed to be every 500m or so. Go figure! I have had a hard time mastering international phone calls (although I finally did figure it out) and my ability to use a foreign ATM has been challenged as I have mentioned above, my Korean isn't that strong and many ATMs are only in Korean. Plus, the largest bill that they issue is the 10 000 won which is equal to about $10 CDN, so if you want more than say $50, you end up carrying this big wad of cash.

Tomorrow I should have some better pictures and posts - we are heading out to the DMZ and will also do some touring around Seoul. Until then. . . searching for my Seoul!


zerojustin said...

Hey Heather, I didn't know you had a blog?

It's cool to see pics from your Korean trip.


JB said...

Hey I am still waiting for the photo's from the DMZ.