Sunday, May 20, 2012

Arriving in Korea

I'm here to attend EXPO 2012 in Yeosu.  I have never been to Korea before, other than a brief stopover at Incheon's Airport, rated the second best airport in the world after Hong Kong, so I was all eyes! A few of the things I noticed:
I flew Korean Air because their flight attendants look like what North American flight attendants used to look like...if you know what I mean.  (I also think the fare was a bit more attractive than Air Canada!)The next time you are at YVR, just check out the Korean attendants.  They are always perfectly attired and put together!
The first two things I noticed were the unusual land patterns and a golf course by the airport.  (That's why they are so good at golf. I always encourage my golfing buddy Neil Kornfeld to swing the club like a Korean lady golfer.) While golf is popular here, there are not many courses in an around Seoul, and those that have been built are very expensive to play.  I did see some urban driving ranges covered in netting in amongst high density developmnent.
I thought the Canadian flag associated with my baggage carousel was a nice touch, even though Canada is not even participating in the World Fair, but more about that later. At customs you are both photographed and finger printed.  Do we do that to foreign visitors? Come to think of it, why don't we finger print everyone...it would help with identification in more ways than one.  If I recall properly, we had our children fingerprinted when they were young.
In the airport toilet I noticed a photo of the man who is responsible for maintaining it's cleanliness.  It's a bit bleary since my mother taught me never to take photos of any men in airport washrooms.But more importantly, how can you not like a country that celebrates the person looking after the washroom cleanliness?
I travelled into the city in a deluxe airport limousine bus.  It was extremely comfortable and I didn't think I have ever been on such a nice bus in Canada.  Does our airporter look like this on the inside?  In South America one often comes across very deluxe coaches which substitute for planes and trains.  As we consider alternative forms of transportation in Canada, perhaps it is time to upgrade our buses to reduce reliance on the private automobile.
En route I noticed a lot of very similar concrete apartment blocks with their addresses prominently painted on the outside. I will be curious to see if this is the generic building form for higher density living.  I have also noticed some extraordinary commercial buildings that I'll illustrate later.
I also caught glimpses of single family houses with bright blue glazed tile roofs.  I suspect I'll see a lot more of them before I leave since my trip to Yeosu is quite lengthy...it's on the south coast of the peninsula..
My hotel room was not remarkable except for one thing...the toilet.  This is the first time I've had a room with a high-tech toilet that offers rear soft, front wash, and rear strong.  There's also oscillate and massage.  (I was grateful for the instructions in English!)

Although it was very late by my clock, I decided to wander off and find a local pub or restaurant for a light meal.  I found a lively looking place and fortunately the fellow at the table beside me spoke some English.  I told him I wanted a beer and something to eat. Please order for me.  "You want heart" he asked? No heart thank you. I ended up with a bowl of soup with some meat on a bone that I'm sure my Rabbi never tried.
At the next table were some Ukranians also trying out new things.  Their meal required white gloves covered in plastic gloves.  I'll go back for that tonight!

1 comment:

Namyoung Eva Kim said...

It is interesting to read you first day in Korea including your personal impression on many things. The thing that i really like is i can learn my country through your eyes. Also Reminds me of my personal experiences in many countries. The first day always bring us differences from ours which we could think and learn more. this part is very attractive for me to travel over the world.