Seoul reminded me a lot of New York City. Or what New York would be, five or ten years in the future, with more polite people and city services that actually worked. When talking to people back home I joked that I was “in the FUTURE!” (thanks to the date line and being a day ahead of the US) but it really did feel that way sometimes. The ubiquitous televisions everywhere (even in cars – being watched by people who should be DRIVING) helped here.
I was only in Seoul for 4 days, and I’m sure there was a lot I missed. But I think the most important experience I had was of simply being totally foreign. I couldn’t communicate very well. It was at times very, very frustrating; usually communication is one of the few things I’m actually good at. But when I managed to break through anyway, like with the diner owner in Namdaemon, it was far more rewarding. At any rate I have a new respect for people here in the US trying to acclimate themselves to a foreign land. It isn’t exactly easy.
Oh and for the record? 14 hour flights suck. Thank you.