I LOVE KOREA.
Instead of going into details of the sights and sounds, I thought I'd share some things I observed about Korea that liked. First of all, the clothing styles. Granted styles change with time, there's a huge difference between Korean and Japanese styles, which might not just be clothes deep. In Japan, most girls dress in frills, skirts and dresses, and they wear high-heels all the time (I've seen them while hiking and at snowboard rental shops). Boys too, tend to dress up; you'll rarely see a man wearing just a plain t-shirt and shorts, for example; button up shirts and pointy shoes seem to be the norm. This is fine, I have no problem with the way they dress, these are just observations. In Korea however, everyone wears tennis shoes. That's just an easy way of saying that the fashion is much more relaxed; more my style. I was much more comfortable in my t-shirts and jeans. I'm not saying they don't dress up, there were plenty of girls in heels and dresses out on the town on Saturday night, but for the most part, it was relaxed.
|Matching outfits, and still not as "matchy-matchy"|
|Bulgogi and all the usual trimmings|
Next reason, the people are so nice (maybe not the shop owners...). I talked with some Americans who are currently living in Korea, but had visited Japan and they disagreed with me. However, Niki and I quite often found ourselves in situations where people went out of their way to help us, for no real reason. People would come up and try to talk to us, not necessarily in English either. This doesn't really happen in Japan, at least not in Nagasaki.
Next reason, everything is cheap. Clothes and accessories are SO cheap. I bought a pair of prescription glasses and sunglasses for about $70 total. Food is dirt cheap. Transportation is practically free compared to Japan. We took the Korean high speed train for a fraction of the price of riding the Japanese Shinkansen.
Finally, 4D movies. I really don't know why more countries haven't adopted this, it seems like something America would eat up. For less than the price of a regular movie in America or Japan, you can watch movies in 4D in Korea (and a handful of other countries). What's 4D? It's a movie that is not only in 3D, but has added sensations. Your chair moves, there are massage like features that push you from behind, they'll blow air or water at you when it suits the plot of the movie. It's really something. Definitely worth a try if you go to Korea. I saw "The Avengers" there, which was, for some reason, released at least a week before it was released in the US. (On a sidenote, I didn't think it was as great as the rest of the world seems to think it was.)
Some other notable features of Korea:
|At the DMZ, notice the water is from a mountain spring |
withing the 4 mile wide DMZ. Yum!
-DVD theaters, where you can rent a DVD and watch it in a small "home-theater" type room, with couches, surround sound and big screens. It's like a Japanese karaoke room, but with movies and more comfortable.
-Hangul- it's really easy to learn to read, I learned all the characters' sounds on a 2-hour bus ride.
-DMZ- probably just a tourist trap, but still pretty cool. I got to walk into a tunnel that North Korea was caught digging through the DMZ. Almost made it to the South. -Men must serve 21-26 months in the army, navy or air force. There were always men in uniform walking around. We noticed they often carried one shopping bag, which we found odd. It turns out, they aren't supplied with a small "day-pack," so if they go out on leave, they use shopping bags to carry their change of clothes, toiletries, etc.
|We caught the changing of the guards at one of the palaces. He was so tall!|
|One night we stayed in this traditional mud hut in a preserved village|
where around 200 people still live.
|Also in the preserved village, this is a church. I think the neon cross might be a recent addition.|