O, South Korea, how I love thee. Part One.

Ace trip to South Korea. Part One = Seoul. So crammed. No room for full sentences. Don’t ask questions. Just pretend you’re Johnny 5 and read with speed to keep it Ko-real!!

1)      Taxi ride: 4.30AM. Eeeeep – so early! Me and me chums Mason, Bret and Alex. Driver’s advice for SK:

“[in Chinese] Americans. Don’t AIDS.”

Excellent start.

2)      Airport: Bret = going to Hong Kong, not SK with us. Bret = at wrong airport. Bret = brown pants. Oh dear. >_<

3)      Flight: Smooth, although weird beefy noodles.

4)      Arrival in SK:  Accidentally attempt to steal stickers. Oops. Eat fish soup and kimchi (pickled-cabbagey stuff). Drink soju (national drink of Korea) x5. Drink Family Mart (sort of Korean Co-op) soju x[probably?]3.


Wake up in jimjilbang (24 hour spa, with dorm rooms for sleeping) in orange jumpsuit. Guantanamo, anyone? Hotter than inner ring of hell (despite presence of “ice room”, nattily decorated with polar bears). Too hot = no sleep = 3.3AM check out. Attempt to find KFC (I’ve heard it’s ‘real chicken’ in SK. As opposed to ‘China Chicken’, which seems to be entirely composed of the arse of the bird. And occasionally the feet. Avoid at all costs.

Anyways, attempt to locate ‘real chicken’-based establishment by showing this pic:

to passing Koreans. Group of teen boys tells me “No! Not tasty. Eat kimchi! I love you!” Not helpful. But one man directs me to ‘Lotteria’ “the Korean KFC”. I find it, but amazingly he comes back ten minutes later to check I got there safely.

5)      Realisation: Koreans = Nicest people in the world. N.B. Also have to give credit for near-universal commitment to ‘business casual’ attire.

6)      Cable car trip to N Seoul Tower: Wobbly, high altitude affair.

7)      Lotte World Indoor/Outdoor Theme Park: roller coasters named “Pharoah’s Fury” and “French Revolution”, log flume, indoor hot air balloons, trapeze artists, ‘peanut-coated squid’, dodgy Butlins-esque stage show, Disney rip-off parade, ice-skating rink, laser and pyrotechnics show, monorail, and more corn dogs than you can shake a corn dog stick at. REFUSE to leave this magical place until thrown out.

8)      Day of Korean Culture: Part one = visit to ancient settlement. Part two = visit to one of Seoul’s many ‘HOFs’ (fried chicken and beer shacks). Restaurant review = mixed. Positive side: first time I’ve seen white breast meat since leaving UK (mmmm…’real chicken’ indeed!) Negative side neatly summed up in this lil’ scrawl:

9)      Meet friends in foreigner-ville, Itaewon: Visit “Hooker Hill”, followed by “Homo Hill”. Verdict = unimpressed (ain’t no Amsterdam). Also, heavy US military presence not impressed by my mate’s whooping of “Uhmerrica!”

10)   See covers band at tiny club in Hongdae. They have Beatles haircuts and sing Beatles songs. For all I know, they may well have been called “the Beatles” = super classic. Opportunities aplenty for shaking one’s tailfeather until the wee hours.

Dear Shanghai: take note, please.

11)   Seoul Aquarium: Got there by showing this pic:

to taxi drivers until an old man saw we were struggling (no!?) and came to translate. Kindly re-visit point 5, please. Is a very creative museum. E.G. Fish in tanks? Pfftt…try fish in a toilet, fish in a washing machine, fish in a phone box. Brillo pads.

12)   Despite sub-zero conditions, v. excited about visit to Banpodaegyo ‘Rainbow Bridge’. At 8.30PM, this happens:

Accordingly, in anticipation this happened. Take note of sharp decline in ‘excite’ post 8.30PM:

Then this:


13)   Leaving Seoul: 1PM departure via high-speed KTX train. Every 20 mins announcements preceeded by snippet of music I SWEAR used to be on Pebble Mill in the 90’s. Otherwise EXACTLY same as National Express, only faster and minus the scrote at the back playing DJ Danny Bond on loudspeaker whilst necking a SKOL… I’m arrivin’ in style.

All-in-all: totally ace. Keep yer peepers peeled for Part Two: Busan.

I ♥  SK. ^_^