I had no time to write in Seoul. Traveling with my best friend meant that I had no time alone in cafes. It meant that I constantly had to keep up with her. And she likes to travel, and to shop, so I had little reflection time. I did however manage to scribble some notes in a journal while laying on the bed in our hostel moments before we slept.
The following in an excerpt from that day, Saturday March 22, Seoul, South Korea
The alarm went off at 10:00am but it felt like dawn. Even though we went to bed at 1:00am, not terribly late by the standard of young people traveling, but I was exhausted from the long journey from my rural village to the airport, and the stressful trip from Incheon to our hostel. We allowed ourselves one more hour of sleep and woke up at 11:00am.
The day began with coffee and a cheap lunch around Erwa Women’s University. We walked into a popular restuarnt. Nothing was in English or Japanese. We ordered three dishes by pointed to pictures on the menu, but got four back, and none were the ones we ordered. We laughed about it.
In the afternoon we shopped at Hondae, super crowded form the weekend, but I felt animated moving through the large masses of people. In my rural village, I was using to having a stadium of open air around me at all times. I missed the giant body hug from a swelling urban crowd. I missed touching shoulders and shopping bag. I missing standing so close to someone I could small the perfume on their hair.
Eventually, even we got wiped out from the congestions, and retired to the May Flower café, where we were watch the sun set over the Seoul skyline. We sat at that café for two hours. That may have been the longest time we spent in any one place in Seoul.
Back at the hostel and going to bed just before midnight again, I made a few more observations:
• Finally saw some gay couples. I'm pretty sure that what they are, because I’ve learned the Korean friends of the same sex are more affectionate, and I believe I can discern when they are more than friends…
• There seems to be only one kind of beauty for women. It is repeated on all the ads. Double eyelids, pointy jaw with a small chin, high cheek bones.
• Men are really tall here. Really tall. My Japanese best friend who I'm traveling with is 5’10 and she is easily shorter than most of the men here.
• Things are just as expensive as Japan. Why did I think they would be cheaper? Who misled me?
• Different parts of Seoul remind us of different parts of Tokyo: Harajuku’s Takeshita dori, Shibuya 109, Roppongi hills
• I have not seen nearly as many white-guy-Asian-girl couples as in Japan.
• This country is obsessed with coffee and cafes, they are on every street corner and they are crowded and loud.