We are back, and ready to start blogging again. We are so sorry about the lag in our uploads – so little has been going on, yet so much has happened.
To sum up our whole situation: everything has been altered. On Tuesday we leave for Hanoi, Vietnam (just like about half of this hostel, I assume). We had a couple of days of utter confusion, which really wouldn’t have led to very interesting posts. Eventually we said fuck it and we booked the cheapest flight out of South Korea.
Despite these stressful few days, I can definitely say that I have had an absolutely marvellous time here in Seoul. Its been nearly five days since we updated the blog, so let me try to recount all the fun details. The strangest thing about living at the hostel is the fact that you end up drinking nearly every night. I am normally not someone who goes near more than one or two glass of wine a night… and that doesn’t even happen that often. However here, you somehow end up drinking three bottles of Soju a night while either having nice, long conversations with strangers in the basement, or going out and seeing the Seoul nightlife. From the perspective of a teenager, who has never had much fun while drinking, I am enjoying the change in mindset for a few days. That is the cool thing about travelling, right? Getting to reinvent yourself from place to place.
On Wednesday I got my hair cut. It was a magical experience, and I normally hate getting my hair touched. Seoul is the place to go, if you are in need of a hair cut.
On Wednesday night I met the nicest girl from Northern England, and we ended up spending most of the next few days together. On Thursday, I had to wake up early to run to the Thai embassy and collect my visa. That morning, I felt like nothing other than jelly, my head was swimming and I felt dizzy all the way to the embassy and back. I was thinking to myself how weird that was, because I had barely had anything to drink the night before. When I get back to the hostel, I realise that it has nothing to do with the alcohol – I hadn’t eaten anything but a pear and instant ramen in over 24 hours. Seoul isn’t cheap as a backpacker, but don’t try to skimp on the nutrition, that is not the way to go about it. At the hostel I bump into my English friend and we head out for lunch. On the way we met a guy from The Netherlands, who was checking in, and asked him to join us. The three of us wandered around the endless shopping streets of Hongdae hoping to find something with sustenance. We find a restaurant and order one of the best meals I have had since I arrived… but then again, I feel that way about nearly every meal here. As we gain our energy back, we decide to go on a free walking tour. Our tour guide brought us through a walkway buy a stream – Im not going to lie, I have no idea where we were, I just trailed after the ones who did. The tour guide was a sweetheart, but not very good at her job. As we walked, she would point at the bridge and tell us there names… The names were on the bridges. What did we learn? We kind of learnt how the Japanese colonised Korea… and that it is unfair that they aren’t split up and Korea is. She brought us to a market, which, although wonderful, was horrendously expensive. There were dumplings and kimchi and oysters and live octopus – it was heaven! The tour guide managed to get lost in here, despite the fact that we walked up one single, long aisle.
On Friday we saw North Korea… Well, we were meant to see North Korea, we payed to see North Korea, but you cannot control the smog. Here is what Louise had to write about our day (she was not feeling terribly inspired):
So finally we managed to get off our asses again and leave the hostel for a day to experience some culture. We had booked tickets to visit the DMZ – the demilitarized zone between South Korea and North Korea. We had to get up early in the morning for the tour – too early, I could barely keep my eyes open on our way there when our cool tour guide Scott was telling us all about the Korean War and Korea in general. We rushed through the programme and saw the Dorasan Station, which until recently allowed you to travel from South Korea through North Korea to Europe, the freedom bridge and we walked through the 3rd tunnel. The highlight of the tour was hands down the tunnel, which was built by North Korea to transport hundreds of troops across the boarder for a surprise attack on South Korea. Niamh and I went with a couple of other people from the hostel and we had a cool day even though it wasn’t at all what I had expected.
The most important part of this trip was definitely learning that North and South Korea have a constant music battle going on. One side plays their music across the border to the other side. The music was a little disappointing… I was hoping for upbeat k-pop, but instead it was this very eerie opera music. Also they have a flag post battle – South Korea lost that one, and North Korea had the highest flag-post in the world for a couple of years.
So thats about it, we came back to the hostel and watched a couple of episodes of Black Mirror. Then we went out and had beer and nachos in Hongdae. Not a bad couple of days – I have had fun.