So, after what felt like a super rushed and short goodbye to friends and family, I arrived in Korea. The plane journey was as expected, long and sleepless. I really can't sleep on aeropl... [insert generic complaint about uncomfortable aeroplane seating and bad food]... :-| ...
Gliding gracefully out of the plane, I headed through immigrations, which was slow, but a much more pleasant experience than my recent trip to America where my face made Americano police think some kind of drug deal was going down. Seriously, Americano police are meeeeeean and no, I don't smoke, vape or smoke hookah. What is with my face??
Anyway, I got to the arrivals area to find a Korean chap (there are many Koreans in South Korea) holding a sign with my name on. I went up to him and introduced myself and then realised he spoke no English. He proceeded to dial a number on his phone and call someone. He spoke to this phone person for a short while and then handed me the phone. "Who is this? What's going on?" was running through my sleep-deprived mind and so I said hello and then came the awkward silence mixed with what was probably Korean. So I asked "who is this?" and eventually a man says "your school!", "ah right, okay, does my driver know the address?" "in Seoul." ........... Good answer. I responded with"hhhhh (the sound of croaking when you are thinking about what to say, that one's for you Mitch) I'll pass the phone to the driver". They then sorted out where on earth they were gonna take this bedraggled foreigner and the driver grabbed my luggage and we headed towards the exit. Another phone call, another pass over to me, but this time I understood what was going on. It was the recruiter, YAY ENGLISH! And the journey to my new workplace began.
The first surprising thing on the 1 and a half hour trip to the other side of Seoul was just how many churches there were. Along the route there were dozens of crosses jotting out every few hundred metres and at times every few metres it seemed. The second surprising thing was billboards. I felt like I was in Americaland.
(Yeah that's my best picture of an American billboard, whatchu gonna do 'bout it, huh? Punk!?)
After the silent long asstrip, I arrived at the school. I got out the taxi and was welcomed by someone (I was tired and my memory is fuzzy). I then meet a few more people, none of whom speak any English, but at least the initial welcomer did. I then get told that the apartment isn't ready yet (I screamed and burst into tears in my mind) and get asked if it would be okay to stay in the dormitory. I hesitantly agreed and lugged my luggage up a few flights of stairs. "There is no bed or anything else, but we have some sheets.". Thankfully, this idea was not pushed much and so they stood around figuring out where I could stay. With my patience drying up, I suggested staying in a hotel. Sometimes I believe I was born a genius. They agreed and we headed out.
I arrive at the hotel........ the love hotel. I've been told in Korea that these hotels aren't entirely for the act of love, but you could have fooled me with the noises I heard throughout the 3 nights there. It also made me question if the people in the other rooms were doing it right.
For the next 3 days before moving into my apartomento, I ventured into Seoul. I didn't take many photos because I couldn't be bothered. Yeah, I said, whatchu gonna do 'bout it? Puuuuunkaaaahhh!?
I do have a few of Myeongdong which is one of my favourite places I've visited so far, however. There were many Japanese restaurants and other Japanese establishments, so I felt quite at home. The past month has, however, shown me that close geography doesn't mean authentic food tastes. I knew Korea would be a completely different country and culture to Japan, but I had hoped there would be some restaurants I could visit for some home foods. Alas, Korean-Japanese food is.... very different. I've found that the best comparison for the British readers would be France and England. There is definitely a fiery feud between them, similar to the French and British, and, with regards to the food, imagine easily finding somewhere in France that has perfect fish and chips. It doesn't happen. It doesn't even easily happen in England either, to be honest. So finding good, cheap sushi or, in fact, any good Japanese food, that doesn't taste like they've stripped the salt and replaced it with honey, has eluded me so far. I'll find some someday.
Well that's what I've written down so far. I'm gonna try to make the next post a little bit less story-telling and a lot more "lol wtf?"/ informative. I hope you wait eagerly in anticipation.
With lots of hugs, kisses, blank stares and a lack of balance,