Today we awoke at 8:50. Well OL did to pee and that woke me up. But I slept a good part of the night. So I got dressed and we went to breakfast. Got two eggs over easy with toast. And coffee.
Then we interneted and motivated to the palace.
On the way out, asked the front desk about the DMZ tour.
She immediately called and asked if we could to tomorrow’s tour at noon. They took my name and room number down. I asked if i could pay by cash or credit. They said both a fine and i will pay driver when he arrives tomorrow at 11:10 to pick us up. This is the easiest thing I’ve arranged in my life.
Then we head to Wooribank. I need to change money.OMG, the process is so seamless. I go to bank, get directed to where to change money. Escorted to waiting area. Wait 30 seconds. Then escorted to desk. Tell bank person I want to change US dollars to won. She says okay. I put my cash on a dish on her desk. She gives me the exchange rate. Then changes my money using won from a drawer in her desk.
No checking my passport or my visa. Counts the cash by hand. Gives me a receipt. We are out of there in 5 minutes. Thank you Seoul.for being fast and efficient. Streamlined and smart. You rock.
We leave for palace, having decided to go to the Gyeonghuigong palace last night. So we went to the Hoehyeon subway bought one ride tickets (which require a dollar deposit).
Took the uber clean and modern subway to Gwanghwamun station requiring transfer which went smoothly.
We got distracted by the fountain and statues however and ended up walking up to Gyeongbokgung palace. Here’s the truly funny part. Didn’t realize our mistake for two more hours. Not when we went through a huge gate, watched the changing of the guards, bought our ticket, or looked at the map of the palace.
Btw the changing of the guard was totally worth watching. It happened at noon 7 minutes after we arrived. serendipity. We <3 Seoul.
Nope we’d decided which palace we were going to and nothing was going to change our mind about us being there. Ofc we’d originally picked a secondary palace and a modest one according to the guidebook. We decided the writer was the king of understatement because this palace was ten times better than the Forbidden City.
Two groups of Korean boys approached us and politely asked to take a picture with us as part of their homework assignment. The first kid got super frustrated with his English. He said photo homework you. So I asked do you want me to take a picture and he shook his head. So I asked do you want a picture with me? He said yes. And he and his friends immediately said thank you when I agreed.
We gather together for a group shot. Then they thanked me again and bowed. Uber polite. So civilized and a lovely interaction. Congrats on raising some wonderful kids!
The Chinese could learn a ton from the Koreans. The Koreans don’t use their long history as an excuse to be rude, dishonest, or filthy. Because no rational person will buy that load of bullshit.
A second boy approached and I already knew what he wanted cause he had the same scavenger paper. So we posed and they all thanked us and bowed. Absolutely lovely children.
We spend a few hours exploring the palace.
It wasn’t until we got to the folk museum which OL kept calling a history museum that we put two and two together and realized we were at the biggest palace in Seoul.
Though in our defense our goal was to see a palace and we did. The National Folk Museum was underneath the cool pagoda. By this time we were lunch hungry. The museum was free so we went in and found the cafe. I had rice bread which was banana bread and a donut. OL had nuts and dried fruit.
The bathrooms were immaculate. Talking 4 star hotel clean.
Thank you Seoul. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.
The museum is a really cool multimedia experience. Meshing video and displays. It keeps you interested.
The only downside. Chinese tour group. Yup we left their miserable country and they followed us. As I am sitting relaxing on a bench in the museum, a Chinese man sidles toward me as another pulls out his camera. It feels so gross. I leap up and walk away.
I’m not a fucking exhibit. I am a human being. I deserve basic courtesy and respect. And I’m not in your country anymore so stop calling me Lao Wai (~Foreigner) because guess what you’re a foreigner here in Korea too. Assholes.
They start laughing like the monkey in the cage at the zoo did something funny. Again subhuman behavior.
As I am trying to see the rest of the exhibits, a Chinese woman spots me and signals to her friend to take a picture of me. Okay one more fucking time, I am human being–so I get hand signals. I’m not a freaking tiger in a zoo exhibit. I skidaddle out of there.
I go check out the gift shop and purchase a 3-D post card of the palace. Ofc, tons of Chinese clog the giftshop because I am in it. So annoying.
We leave and re-enter palace area. Finish exploring palace.
Suddenly exhaustion sweeps over me. I’m still battling this upper respiratory thing and now it’s the champ. I can’t stand another minute of walking.
But we have to get back to the hotel. So we stop at the palace museum for a soda. Then get on subway. Two trains back from Gyeongbokgung station. At transfer station the walls are shaped like a cave.
Very cool. The subways btw play a little music before the train arrives. The cars are wide enough for a king size bed to fit inside. Very very clean.
The most pleasant subways ever. Only thing we dislike is that you have to trade the card in after each ride to get your deposit back. Each ride costs 1000 won and requires a 500 won deposit. There is a stored value card but it’s not worth it unless you do 30 subway rides because the deposit for the card is not refunded.
We go back out to the hotel and I’m ready to pass out. OL btw is the least sympathetic person when you’re sick. And I am the biggest baby in need of super coddling. So it’s been rough going the past few days.
I told him I’d rather be with Kadalfi in his bunker in tripoli than with him right now.
We get to room and I pass out for 3 hours. Exhausted.
Then we go to food garden for dinner. Mine is okay. Though personal pet peeve–I hate shrimp with legs and head still attached.
Get Starbucks brownie to salvage meal.
Then stroll the rooftop garden.
Go back to room to wash pants. blog. And relax before DMZ tour tomorrow.
Btw WordPress app sucks. Won’t let me upload pics to WordPress. Won’t realize I have correct password in the app. Grrr.god apps are useless.