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03 May 2007 @ 10:53 pm
Korea, the fast way  
so, here's my long overdue post on my trip with Robin to Korea. it's the fast way both because our trip was fast and because i'm making a quick, bullet-point style entry on it.

  • first, when going to Korea for just a weekend (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday til around 4pm), one should make sure you're not still exhausted from previous travels (Thailand for me, the Philippines for Robin).

  • second, you should really go for more than just a weekend. we didn't really have much chance to get out of Seoul, and we felt like there were probably better things out there besides the city. it really just felt like a dirtier, ruder version of a Japanese city. besides all the Korean writing and language and money and food, of course.

  • when thinking how poorly the yen is doing, it would be good to remind myself how weak the Korean won is. it's about 120 yen to the dollar, and it's about 7 won to the yen. ouch

  • the food was a definite highlight of the trip. i ate enough kimchi to last me a while, and one night we went to a tofu restaurant we later found out is one of the best in Seoul. that meal was practically worth the trip by itself. i may not have learned much Korean, but i did learn the proper table manners for traditional Korean dishes, so i felt like it was an educational experience. and unlike Japan, they have Dunkin' Donuts. oh yeah.

  • cherry blossom season is equally lovely in Korea, and we enjoyed them at Seoul Tower, the Grand Palace, and pretty much everywhere else.

  • naturally, the most interesting part was our tour on Sunday of the DMZ. we don't have many pictures of this part of the trip because, well, people with guns would shoot you if you took pictures. we saw the MDL (military demarkation line, aka, the border) with the flags of North and South Korea looking like something out of Lord of the Rings (they were on huge tower/flag poles, the South's being white with a lighter flag and the Northern one being taller, with a black tower and a darker flag). we also went down the 3rd Tunnel, one of the tunnels the North Koreans dug under the DMZ and that the South found in the 1970's. Things like the peace bridge and the station where the railways of North and South are being connected though reminded me that Korea is coming closer to unifying. I do still hope to see a united Korea in my lifetime. I bought a very cute Joint Security Area t-shirt in the hopes one day it will be the reminder of a time gone by where they needed the JSA. i'll give it this though, the DMZ is the most peaceful warzone in the world.

  • i'm too lazy to upload the few pictures i took before my camera died, but you can see the ones Robin took with her better camera here. i look fat and tired in most of them because that's what i was.

feel free to ask me any questions about Korea or the pictures if you have any curiosities, but that's the basics of our trip. next post (when i get around to it) will be about Kelly and my jaunt to Kyoto in kimono. i will try and at least get that up before my sister and mom arrive for a week-long visit on Saturday. until then, hope you're all well and happy with spring in full swing!
Alex Staherskiintheblacklodge on May 3rd, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
I'm commenting!!
Mellenabsentmammoth on May 3rd, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC)
so am i, but that still doesn't count.
Alex Staherskiintheblacklodge on May 4th, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
Why not? Is that like the whole they can't try a husband and wife for the same crime thing?
Mellenabsentmammoth on May 4th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Fonzie should not be your lawyer, first off. and secondly yes, just like that.
Mandafee_b on May 3rd, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
cool! did you get to buy anything because of the uber cheap? or wait...uber expensive? I'm confused.

Also, what is that bell-looking thing in her pictures? it looks like a korean liberty bell sorta thing... is it a bell?

And I like that pciture of the sculpture of the people pushing the sphere together. that's metaphor for uniting korea, ne?

also you don't look fat, and I like your sweater. I think you just look comfy, and not as SUPER SEXY as usual. I mean, it's nice to see the comfy mary ellen every now and then too. My eyes will burn from the TOO SEXY, you know?

I'm fat though, and I had some stuff in an art show! WOO! I will send pciutres soon. those were unrelated statements! We'll catch up soon, I'm trying to finish this semester without bombing everything. yeah. ok bye! love!

Mellen: loveabsentmammoth on May 3rd, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
hey there hun, it's been too long.

first off, no, things in Korea weren't cheap, and while the art scene in the area we stayed was cool, we didn't end up buying much except food and travel and accommodation fees. things were about the same price as they would be in Japan, just the number was times seven.

the bell-looking thing is a bell at a Korean shamanic temple complex we went to. the strange rock and a lot of the colorful buildings she photographed were there too.

the statue is a uniting Korea metaphor, and in fact it's a map of Korea on the inside. that statue was at the area where you could enter the 3rd Tunnel.

i do love that sweater as well, it's one of my favorites, and i guess if you'll all burn from sexy, good thing i'm not most of the time, hehehe.

i have to hear about this stuff in an art show for certain! we need to catch up on things desperately soon! good luck with school, and i do hope i catch you soon darling.
Ed-gar Mack-Feydolorouschilde on May 4th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
Sounds so awesome. Becky and I are really serious about coming to visit. So stay there for a long time ok? That way we can see all these places via MEPK.
Mellen: m.e. in nipponabsentmammoth on May 4th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
hehe, I will be here as long as it takes, I hope. If not, I'll come back to be your tour guide, honest to god. But coming now, you get to crash with me for free, and I can help you get around in my car for free, and you can eat my food for free! so come and get it! servin' up some fun Japan, MEPK-style!
acidbarbie on May 4th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
Hi Mary Ellen! Just wanted to let you know I very much enjoy reading about your adventures, and I'm so happy you're really making the most of it. I hope we can reunite someday!
Mellenabsentmammoth on May 4th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
well, if you come to japan before August 2008, just let me know!
brendaarei on May 4th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
there's no dunkin donuts in japan? what about starbucks? i'm not sure i can live in a country with a definite lack of coffee...
Mellenabsentmammoth on May 5th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
fear not, there are starbucks a'plenty here. we also have mister donuts, which is really good for coffee and donuts, it's simply not the same thing as a genuine dunkin donuts is all. as you know, there's something like five DD in just waterford alone, so losing that particular symbol was kind of surprising, and then seeing it again in korea was a pleasant bit of nostalgia, albeit in a foreign language.
papasansa4 on May 9th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
Its like that out west too, the closest DD to me is like a 2 hr drive. Its crazy..... but well worth the drive. Can you imagine some people out here dont know what a dunkin donuts is???? AMERICANS!! they have never seen a Dunkin Donuts?!?!?!