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August 13, 2014

Bless my Seoul Part 2

Tom McLaughlin

Seoul, South Korea – We had to travel to Malaysian Airlines to pay for changing our reservations, and we thought it would be a perfect time to see the city. We decided to walk. After all, we were only 10 minutes from the City Centre.


We started out and promptly got lost. The tourist branches put us on the right track, but they neglected to tell us we had to walk under the streets to cross them. After a time or two, we finally figured it out.


The underground is a vast subway of individual shops and restaurants and well worth the trip. You could spend your entire stay there and not surface for ages. There is even a museum with remnants of ancient Korean civilization. You could also catch a train for various parts of the city, but we never found the platform.


One of the problems was when we surfaced. We ended up in the middle of a huge department store with many floors. Finding our way out was always very difficult, especially since we could not read the signs. The subway floor was always the food mart and we enjoyed many meals there.


Speaking of meals, a Korean dinner consists of a lot of very small dishes served before the main dish. There is a ubiquitous kim chee, a cabbage with hot sauce poured on it, rolled sushi, pickled cucumbers, lettuce doused with brine, carrots and cabbage and few other veggies I did not recognize. Then came the main dish which we ordered, usually a beef dish but sometimes a pasta or Chinese-like meal such as fried rice.


While searching for the airline office, we stumbled on the "changing of the guard" at the Palace. There were dozens of people dressed in traditional costume, complete with mortarboard-style hats with black strings ending on a small round bob. The outfits were bright yellow with other colours mixed in, and the actors had small moustaches. I didn't see any of the women. They encourage tourists to have their pictures taken with the immovable troops.


We also found the tourist street. The atmosphere is very much like the Ocean City boardwalk with plenty of shops selling t-shirts and other take home goods. They also had many art galleries with prices of their paintings medium high, but not as high as in the thousands of dollars. A perfect piece of art work to take home and hang in the den.


Meanwhile, back at the hotel, a drama of its own was unfolding. Mrs. Kim, apparently was a Moslem. She had hired a dippy middle aged women and a guy from Bangladesh to clean the rooms. The guy from Bangladesh would not clean the toilets as he said it was against his religion, which is not true. Our rooms were not cleaned until about 3 or 4 P.M., usually in the middle of my nap. Anyway, she complained to the manager about the cleaning staff and they fired her. Being a fellow Moslem, Suriani got in the middle of it. I was glad to leave.


We got our four huge suitcase, three backpacks and Dzul and headed out to the airport and home to Kuching.


...Life is good. . . . .


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