Written in October 2008
Hello my friends from Seoul, South Korea! I am only here one day and taking advantage of the swanky hotel with heated toilet seat and free internet access where the airline put me up.
Before I wrote up events and artists for the electronic music community, I wrote travel- and geez yall might lose me soon to the world because I absolutely love it. I love to travel wherever, whenever.
I love twelve hour flights– does this make me the biggest freak in the world? Seriously- twelve hours to be alone with myself and my thoughts, shit movies like Get Smart and Speed Racer on TV, I read 4 magazines and 2 newspapers plus half of Lonely Planet Thailand. I love to travel and I don’t just mean getting places- I like waiting in airports, being lost in train stations, wondering around streets I don’t know sticking out like a sore sore thumb with my blondiness. I love being a fool, not knowing anything, sounding stupid trying to learn the right way to say “good morning.” GOD I LOVE IT.
So I am here in Seoul because the airline changed my flight to Bangkok, giving me a forced overnight here in South Korea complete with sweet hotel stay, breakfast/lunch/dinner and airport transfers. The ride into Seoul from Incheon, the airport, was about an hour right around sunset time, and the pink/orange haze that fell over everything pulled my eyes in all directions as I tried to make things out of shapes in the distance over the water: cargo ships, giant bridges seemingly suspended in the mist, industrial ports, fishing boats, and tiny farms dotted alongside the interstate.
Seoul itself is what you imagine of a big Asian city- huge clusters of impossibly tall buildings that must house thousands of homes and families way up in the sky, big fountains shooting waterjets at happy kids, narrow shopping corridors as bright as noon at 10PM because of all the neon, shoppers looking and buying everything from makeup to a million plaid skirts to deep fried SOMETHING to ballet shoes to SpongeBob socks. It is loud and bustling; lots of karaoke bars (GOD HELP ME), an abnormal level of shitty house music, and in general a joyous, busy, city atmosphere. I have also discovered what it feels like to be of normal height in the world- here I am not a shorty but rather of standard height or even tall-ish: effing sweet for a girl who has been made fun of for being short her whole life.
I am a city girl and I do love getting lost in strange cities- not hard to do at all in Seoul. There are Starbucks everywhere- I have seen at least 8 or 9 in the small shopping area around my hotel, The Royal, which is uber nice- heated toilet seat with multi-function bidet- yeah just ponder that one for a minute! My bed was as hard as a ROCK but I slept like a baby- a delirious, jetlagged baby. Actually I have little jet lag- my very bizarre sleeping schedule during Decibel actually really prepared me quite well for this trip.
The food here has been fantastic- fresh and dried seafood that I don’t even know what it is (even after I put it in my mouth), lots of fruits and salad, tons of pickled vegetables, rice, and for breakfast a giant bowl of roasted garlic. MMMMM. I love to eat and am so glad I got the gene where I try food fearlessly- so what if every once in a while you eat the eyeball of a random creature? It is SO worth it.
Of course there is a big military presence here in South Korea, but overall not tons of English speakers walking around, which is nice. All I know how to say in Korean is hello, goodbye, thank you, and please- but you would be surprised how far this will get you, wherever you are in the world.
I have until 4PM today to wonder around the city and plan on checking out a market and a couple of Buddhist temples. South Korea is not as cheap as Thailand will be so I am trying not to spend much money. I am very excited to get to Bangkok and sort through the madness there; I arrive about 10PM and will probably hop a cab into the city: Friday night, baby!
Much love to everyone. I am carrying Seattle postcards to give to friends I make along the way so they can see the beautiful city that I call home right now.
I will leave you now with some feedback I got from an artist who performed at Decibel:
“I feel very much inspired by the enthusiasm in seattle – i feel its contagious and spreading fast as well. cant wait to see it grow”
HELL YEAH. Catch you on the flip-flop.