Just nipping out for a short stroll from our hostel we were bombarded with a crazy array of bars, karaoke rooms, cafe’s and restaurants, all brisking with the night revellers mostly on their way home from work. Seoul is a wonderful vibrant city with such friendly people, smiling faces, polite manners, helpful to name but a few behaviours.
We ventured out with our pal Sarah who we had met months ago in Zambia when she was doing a bungee jump off Vic Falls. Her local knowledge proved a great advantage for us on our brief stay in Seoul.
Most people have asked us when we said we were going to Korea, “North or South?”. Well we could have made a trip to the DMZ (de-militarized zone) to see those North Korean soldiers on the far side of the minefields. But that would be a waste of our money and going into N Korea is not something to be done by us westerners who want to leave in one piece…..much rather be getting to understand the culture of South Korea a little bit.
Most Koreans have a great desire to learn English to further their careers, they work 8 days a week, 12 hours a day is regular, yes that is correct, well not the 8 days, its only a mere 7 days, but hang on they do get a mammoth 5 days off per year for paid vacation. Its one of the most overworked societies in the world according to the World Health Organisation. Even more blessed that Sarah took this day off to spend with us, and it was a Saturday!
The Seoul Museum hosts an extremely detailed account of the Joseon Dynasty who have ruled for about 1000 years. From fascinating actual briefs, certificates, exams for civil servants all organised in this clean, orderly, and most importantly for us……FREE museum. Yes FREE….we like that word on our travels.
As dusk fell the highlight of my day was being demanded to produce my ID for my age at this bar, yep the lights may have been bad, the doorman may have been drunk, but I don’t care….we ended up singing in a non-karaoke bar to some rock n roll classics, much to the delight of our admiring fans….just the locals laughing and Sarah shaking her head in disbelief at her crazy pals.
I have got to admit that I have never had Korean food before….big mistake! This food is just so tasty, the colours and variety with strange looking plain runner beans kicking an awesome little punch of zesty flavours, we were in for a treat with these local dishes. Definitely on my things to do list for the future; find some Korean food back home.