Friday, September 30, 2005

The Korea Trip

16 September -- Friday

Get up too early after staying up too late. Got on the train (KTX,high-speed rail) and read pretty much all the way to Seoul. I gotinto Seoul around 11:30, stopped by the USO (an organization for members and families of the US Army that organizes trips and activities) to pay for our visit to Panmunjum and the DMZ the following weekend. Trucked back to the train station and took an over-priced ($13) limosine bus to the Incheon International Airport,which is located about 50 minutes from downtown Seoul. After killing a bit of time at the airport, I checked into the hotel that afternoon. After waiting around for a bit longer, I caught the shuttle bus back to the airport to meet Vic that evening. Unfortunately the bus was abit late in departing, so Vic had made it through Customs before I gotthere. I met up with him, got caught up and heard some good stories about women on the flight and being mistaken for a military or CIA man. Weston arrived about an hour later and was very easy to pickout--both his hair and posterior massively overgrown. We caught the hotel's van back to the place (at about 100mph) and got gay with kids that evening.

17 September -- Saturday
Woke up to a massive downpour and strong winds. There were no hurricanes in the forecast, but both the wind and rain were stronger than anything I had seen during Typhoon Nabi the week before. In an attempt to secure umbrellas for the group, I borrowed an umbrella from the group and sprinted to the nearest convenience store. In a matter of seconds I was completely soaked and the umbrella was destroyed by the wind. Returning to the hotel, we braved the conditions and set out in search of food. Seeing as Chusok (one of the two major holidays in Korea) was the next day, virtually everything was shutdown. We settled for Dunkin Donuts, the sighting of which would proveto be a common scene for the duration of the trip. After tracking down some cough-drops for Weston, who was suffering from a bit of a sore throat, we found a small restaurant that was still serving food. Not quite satisfied by the donuts, we ordered a little gimbap (rice + veggies rolled in dried seaweed) and a few bowls of soup. The combination of donuts and the spicy soups (and in my case, coffee) proved to be a fatal mistake. Within a few minutes an unholy mixture was percolating in our stomaches.

After this we made for the airport and caught the bus back into downtown Seoul. We obtained subway debit-cards for Vic and Weston and made for the university area, where we planned to stay for the night.We had quite a debauchal in finding a love motel to stay at, which involved a lot of backtracking and walking around in the rain with luggage. Eventually we secured lodging and got settled. Afterwards,we decided to make our way to Insa-Dong (a place famous for traditional artwork, crafts and souveneir shopping). We met with lukewarm results, however, as a large number of shops were closed for the holiday weekend. After enjoying some green tea soft-serve, were turned to base.We went out that night looking for trouble, but the combination of rain (Koreans are moody when it comes to rain) and the forthcoming holiday ensured that the streets, bars and clubs were dead. After toomuch walking (to the point of blisters being formed because we'dwalked around all day with wet feet) I decided to cash in the team's chips and made the executive decision to pack it in.


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