Monday, June 18, 2012

Lost My Seoul

The subject is misleading. Today was my first adventure into Seoul and I assumed I would get lost. Luckily I met up with a friend who guided me around a bit. We walked for what seemed like hours through palaces, secret gardens, and koi ponds filled with what she claims are hideous soulless beasts that are destroying the Great Lakes ecosystems. The latter I will agree with whole-heartedly, but the other stuff is the crazy Canadian in her. :-)

Oh, the factoid for the day is Korean King Sejong the Great invented Hangul, the language of Korea . . . period dot! She had nothing more in the way of information, and what I found hilarious was she was quite happy about that tidbit of brain filler. Her adventure into factoid telling ended and began within 10 seconds . . . that's it . . . there was no more info coming. We had a good laugh.

We started at ChangDeokGung Palace. It is smack dab in Seoul and is huge. It was built in 1405, destroyed during the Japanese invasion (1592-1598) then rebuilt in 1610. Then the Japanese destroyed parts of it during its occupation (1910-1945). When are those Japanese going to knock it off, right? It is unique among palaces in that it is layed out on sprawling grounds in harmony with nature, meaning it doesn't follow a main axis to maintain symmetry. Buildings were constructed to harmonize with the existing geographic features and positioned naturally so as to compliment the landscape, not command it.

I visited the notorious Seodaemun Prison. From 1908 to 1945 this was a Japanese political prison holding as many as 3000 Koreans who fought against the Japanese occupation. The Japanese were F'd up in subjugation and methodical plan to destroy the Korean culture and it's will. As you can see, that was absolutely not going to happen.

Oh, without realizing it, I broke my most sacred of rules while traveling overseas: I ate a cheeseburger for lunch. "This isn't a big deal," you might be saying to yourself, but you'd be wrong. I don't eat western food in foreign countries unless it's at my home. Why travel to the other side of the planet and eat American food? It makes no sense. But as payment for a tour well guided, I treated my friend to lunch. She wanted sandwiches, no particular ones in mind as she just felt like a sandwich. The shop had the traditional clubs and chicken fair, but they also had an egg cheeseburger! Now for those of you that have never been blessed with egg on anything other than a McMuffin™ then you are missing out. See recipe below:

1 Cheeseburger

1 fried egg (yolk popped and thoroughly cooked)

Directions - Combine together and enjoy.

Just lovely! ⬅ all that needs to be said

I just drank down some good 'ol Starbucks . . .whoa! whoa! Before you all start in on my anti-American food angle let me be clear, it's Starbucks!! Nuff said. Their standards for coffee excellence is only equalled by Seattle's Best or a great French press. There is the occasional bad cuppa but that is the exception not the rule. Oh, Tall non-fat Latte if you were wondering.

I'm thinking of doing a bathhouse tonight and staying in a room there. I've never experienced one before and always wanted to. Wearing only what you were born with, plus a bit of fur, with a bunch of strange asian men sounds like the perfect end to a great day, losing my Seoul.

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