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. ^_^

8 Before 8: Time On My Hands Early Morning Type Musings

It’s 7 AM. I’m leaving super-early to nab the 42 thousand props I need to teach today’s bunch of two year olds their class on the word “monkey”. However, in typical Disney-dysfunction the school is not open. Left with an hour to fill/kill I decide to take a walk to the park.

Now. Imagine what we’d find taking an early morning walk in the park in Leeds…

  1. Geriatric dog-walkers
  2. Joggers
  3. Flashers
  4. The recently flashed
  5. Crackheads and crackwhores
  6. Dog turds
  7. An occasional dead body
  8. More dog turds.

In Shanghai, it’s a whole ‘nutha ball-game. I saw…

  1. Old lady fan-dancers. All in velour tracksuits with HUGE fans in matching colours. Amaze.
  2. The most ever old people in one place since they filmed the last episode of Countdown. They were all doing yoga/tai chi, slowly making their way over the grass like a tide of zombies. Actually chilling.
  3. Three guys dressed as a Chinese dragon.*
  4. A ramshackle troupe of guys practicing their circus skills. Diablos, juggling, unicycling. Bloody mental.**
  5. A 28 piece (I counted) brass band. Just like the Black Dyke, but minus the Alan Titschmarsh affiliation. Home sweet home…
  6. Massive kites, jeweled in LEDs. At night I’ve seen these before. I did wonder if they were UFOs, but now I know it’s just geezers in the park.
  7. Some girl painting beautiful Chinese letters on the ground with what looked like a giant ear-bud. However, she was painting them with WATER. They were evaporating away seconds after she’d painted them. Life is just so….y’know…transient and….it all means, like…nothing in the end….y’know? Woah. Deep.
  8. Walking back to my school, I sit outside. Each Disney school has random letters outside the building. The letters outside my school are DIWAHJ. At first, I thought it said ‘Jihad’. Then I noticed the ‘W’. I toyed with the idea it might mean ‘White Jihad’ and that that’s Disney’s plan for Asia: fill it with Yanks and their culture is for the taking… But I thought it might actually stand for Walt Disney Is A Jew Hater. Or Walt Disney Had Anti-Jewish Inklings. I finally settled on Walt Disney Is A Jovial Holocaust Denier.

All this early morning thinking really drains a gal. No wonder I’m too tired to teach class now. Eeeurch.

* At this point I realize this list sounds a bit like one of the checklists on the back pages of a Where’s Wally? book. Not intentional, but I like it nonetheless.

** Sounds even more like a Where’s Wally? list now. Wow, Wally watchers.