These past three days in Korea have been Seoul good to us: Matt saw his Cubbies finally win the World Series and I’ve been in food and pun heaven. I’ve been holding back as best I could on all the Seoul puns on social media but poor Matt has been Seoul-ly enduring them in person. Okay, let me stop making terrible puns and actually tell you about our visit. 🙂
Seoul, Korea (11/2 – 11/3)
Our trip started on a fun note: an evening with Jae Young Lee (who I call Jelly), a friend that I haven’t seen in SEVEN years. Over bibimbap, we caught up and asked Jelly 10,000 questions about Korea, the culture and her life. Afterwards, she walked us around Seoul and gave us insight on the current political environment, educated us on Korean history and showed us a neat market with awesome shops and so many delicious street snacks! Thank you again, Jelly for showing us such a great time. J She was also the first friend saw abroad!
On the morning of our first full day in Korea, we were glued to the television watching the World Series. It was great for me to witness Matt’s excitement for his team as they finally broke the curse. Read about his Cubs story here. I was worried to follow the game too closely as every time I watched intently, something seemed to go wrong like the Rajai Davis homer (superstitious, much?). But near the end, I couldn’t help myself but to watch with almost as much fervor as Matt.
As he mentioned in his post, we went for a city hike afterwards at Namsan Park (a Jelly recommendation) to see the city skyline and Seoul Tower. Namsan Park is also known for its love locks- where couples bring locks with their wishes written on them. They then leave the lock at the top of the hike to “lock” their love forever. There were locks everywhere and it was really cool see all of the different, intense colors of the locks. For dinner, we had a Korean chicken feast.
DMZ, North Korea, Seoul (11/4)
Yesterday, Matt and I went on a tour to the DMZ/JSA, the border between South and North Korea. It was a unique experience as we got to officially cross into North Korea, speak with a North Korean defector and learn a lot more about modern Korean history and the hope for unification. We had the chance to peer into North Korea (like total creepers) both through binoculars and then with the naked eye at the JSA.
The JSA has been visited recently by Conan O’Brien, Arnold, and Nelly. If you haven’t seen Conan O’Brien’s skit there, look it up! It’s hilarious. Being at the JSA was a really weird experience and unlike any other. It’s wild as you step into the office building where North Korea and South Korea theoretically could meet and you can look across the border and see North Korean soldiers standing there. We had some fun with one of us standing in North Korea and one of us standing in South Korea.
A couple highlights of the experience:
- We had recently watched Conan O’Brien’s visit to the border and saw soldiers standing like statues at the border. We were curious if this was actually the case. Well, let’s say a picture is worth a 1,000 words:
- Oh, and we also got to take a photos with the guards but were not allowed to touch them.
After the tour, we returned to Seoul for our final evening. It was the first night of the Seoul Lantern Festival, where dozens of artists create these amazing lantern displays along a canal-walk in downtown Seoul. We worked up an appetite from walking through the festival so then headed back to the market to sample street food.
Today we headed to Hong Kong for a few days before our two-week excursion to Nepal. All in all, it was short but memorable trip in Korea. And while we’re sad to leave so soon, I’m sure Matt is relieved that I can’t make any more Seoul puns and will stop singing, “I’ve got Seoul but I’m not a soldier!” randomly out loud in public (and private).
Instead of squeezing in one last Seoul pun, I’ll leave you with two random/fun pictures from out trip: