Monday, September 22, 2008

Mari's Korea Adventure -- Day 4

Yeah, so since I was asleep by 8:30 last night, I was up early and ready to hit the streets!

Got to the train station and took the subway to Seoul.
Went to a palace and took the Japanese tour since the English one wasn't leaving for a few hours. We got the gist of it, and Tony could explain the finer points being as he's no stranger to the tours over here.

Walked around the city a bit afterward, went through the shopping district and took in the sites. It's Sunday afternoon, but still a hopping time in Korea. Went to a local restaurant for lunch and had what tasted like the Korean version of schnitzel - very yummy, hit the spot.

Went to a Buddhist temple and checked that out. There was a service going on so we did not enter the temple, but we could see the three HUGE gold buddhas inside. Outside, there were colorful paper lanterns hanging all over the place with tags on them that I assume are prayers. The monks were not in attendance, however.

After the temple, we walked the length of the canal (very similar to Bricktown, but better). The canal used to be a stream that the people of Seoul would use for drinking water, clothes washing, bathing, etc., for hundreds of years. In modern times, it was paved over and forgotten about, until a businessman funded the canal project, with the goal to connect the past to the present. I had seen so many pictures from Tony on this canal, it was something that I had to see for myself.

Then travelled across town and up MANY. STEEP. HILLS to the Seoul Tower for amazing city views. Yeah, I am sooo not used to those hills, as OK is really quite flat, I think I need to add some hills to my running program! :) Took the tram up to the base of the tower, and there are painted hearts all over the place, plus wire flying men hanging in the trees. On an observation deck, there are hundreds and thousands of locks with messages to loved ones; really an amazing sight. Took the very fast elevator to the top of the tower for 360-degree views of the city. The day was beautiful & clear and we could really see for miles. Took the elevator back down and got some ice cream (so deserved that) and caught the bus from Yongsan back to Osan.

Stopped at home and then dinner at Chili's. Went out to meet friends and laughed for a few hours while having some drinks (have I told you lately that I love vacation?). This girl's house was off base and we walked through some crazy looking alleyways to get there, no place I would normally walk through, but in Korea the crime rate is incredibly low; in fact, most of the crime is American on American, kind of sad. Walked home to the base at the end of the night, the streets were still a little sketchy looking but very peaceful.

I've been here just a few days but I've seen some amazing sites.

I've also seen how hard this kind of separation is on people ... yes, Korea gets a bad rap for being a hedonistic place for those assigned here, but from what I've seen it's a beautiful country that offers a lot to anyone who visits. I've also seen that the hedonism does exist, and for many it's there to help them through the day, to help numb the pain of being away from family and friends. I've seen people from very diverse walks of life, of all ranks and age, come together and create a family. I'm humbled. I know what things are like on the other side of the coin, how hard it can be to be in charge of "normal life," maintaining the everyday & the mundane so that when he comes home it can be as seamless and easy as possible. I see how hard it can be for those families who are in difficult or unsure circumstances. I'm more aware now of the pluses and minuses that we both have to endure, and it makes me appreciate my husband even more.

I am so thankful to have had this amazing opportunity, it's not often we get to see how the other half lives.

Next up: Day 5 adventures.


  1. I'm so glad you're there and having a good time! : )

  2. I'm so glad you two can have this time together without the distractions. You needed this, both of us! Yay again!