Friday, April 13, 2018

Seoul Day 1, The journey there :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

[26.12.17] How could I have forgotten to write up about our first trip to Korea? Looking back, we travelled 3 times overseas last year, SG was a short fun trip, Perth was epic and Korea was something amazing, and how could I have forgotten to write it up is beyond me.

1) Opps she did it (to us) again.

I could feel it coming, even back in October / November, your mother had mentioned more than once about taking you two to somewhere cold to have some fun with snow :-) but I really didn’t think anything of it. Then one morning, I’d suddenly found out we were going to Korea, for New Year, haa haa haa. I was laughing until I’d found out how cold it was going to be... wow... haa haa haa.

For the next few weeks, we’d spent probably every weekend shopping for winter clothes, just imagine how fun it was, shopping for clothes suitable for -10c in a country where we moan that it’s freezing at 25c, haa haa haa. A combination of online and offline strategy, we’d did manage to get all the essentials done with a few days to spare.

As the departure day approaches, I was checking the weather almost religiously, and the advice from colleagues didn’t offer me any delight, the most common words being, ‘it’s going to be absolutely freezing’, haa haa haa.

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On the day, it was stress from the get go, haa haa haa, the flight was very, very early I mean 02:00 early, haa haa haa, but my game plan was strong. My most concern was you two being too tired not to enjoy the journey, so it was early supper and straight to bed you two went! Even before 19:00 you two were tucked in bed and soon were off to dreamland. Your mother and I on the other hand was on a different course :-) we have not had enough sleep for the past 9 years (since Matt was born) haa haa haa, so we were used to it.

Everything ran like clockwork, and the few hours of sleep you had made it so much easier for everyone, you were as fresh as daisies came around 01:00, the taxi was on time, and soon we found ourselves walking through immigration and heading towards the lounge, as that was the next piece of the plan, finding somewhere for you to have a quick kip before boarding... the lounge was sparse, and so I was able to make a makeshift beds from two pairs of seat :-) Soon you two and even your mother was once again off to dreamland :-)

The actual flight time was only around 5 hours (BKK - ICN), quite a short flight (relatively), waking you two up again was a bit painful, but it had to be done. Korean Air was fantastic but the thought of asking you two to go back to sleep for the third time was going to be bit of wishful thinking, as it turned out, you two went out like a light :-)

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2collage2) They weren’t joking about being cold.

From ICN (Seoul Incheon Airport) to our hotel was super convenient, the top knotch bus literally took us for the Airport’s door to the Hotel’s door :-), the only risk being it operated on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis, so there was always a risk of not having enough spaces for the four of us.

I almost bought ticket for the wrong bus too, haa haa haa, well there was a lesson learnt on not to entirely trust words on the net, luckily the ticketing officer knew our hotel (as it was one of the stop on the bus’ route), just imagine if we did got on the wrong bus... your mother would have found somewhere to bury me alive in Seoul, haa haa haa.

As soon as we walked outside to wait for the bus, your mother and I turned around and looked at each other, without a single word, we executed the clothing plan A, simply pile on as much clothes we had at hand on the both of you... man it was cold.

Blowing steam could have kept you occupied for the rest of the day, but soon the bus arrived, and it was fantastic, the seats were so comfortable you two fell asleep for the fourth time, haa haa haa. Seoul is 2 hours ahead of BKK, we had landed around 10:00 (Korean time), and it was 13:00 when our feet were being cuddled by the heated floor of our room, oh if only we could revert that for Thailand, chilled floor could the the next big thing, haa haa haa.


3) Time to roam, and first insight :-)

By the time we’d unpacked and rested a little, it was still quite early in the afternoon (around 15:00), so it was time to roam, it took us a little time to get the lay of the land, the two Underground Stations closest to Ramada Hotel and Suites were Seoul Stations (much bigger station) and City Hall. Of course being a nube, we went to City Hall station (wrong choice, haa haa haa).

Here come the first insight, putting on all the layers for you two, took far much time than we had thought :-) For Thailand, one T-shirt, a pair of underwear, a pair of shorts and you are done, literally took 5 mins. In Seoul, it took at least 20 mins just to get dress, haa haa haa.

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After roaming for over and hour or so, it was time to feed, since we had not really had a proper meal since the last ice age, found this rather smart looking, essentially an upmarket food court. And here was another discovery, we’d thought putting on all those clothes was a bit of a pain, taking it off in a restaurant was like an episode of Mr. Bean, we could have accidentally killed anyone within an arm length of us four, haa haa haa.

This early supper was fantastic... and not that dear, and soon we found ourselves putting back on the layers once more... oh man, as it went from afternoon into the early evening, the wind began to pick up your mother and I were having second thought, but you two were absolutely loving it :-)

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Instead of walking home, we’d decided to take the Underground to Myeong-Dong area as it was supposed to be the heart of retail among others, but it was obvious that you two were running out of juice, and were visibly very tired, lol. So after a quick walk we’d decided to call it a night for our first day here in Seoul.

Second insight, some of the Google Map’s function have been removed, one can see exactly where one was and with some guess the direction in which we were travelling, but it was not possible to use the route function, which was extremely challenging, lol, it had to do with national security, so who was I to argue :-). Ended up having to use a combination of local (Korean) map tool and Google Map, it was a bit of a pain but workable :-)

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