Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Made it to Seoul, South Korea!

Wow. That was a long day.

But everything went without a hitch. The plane was only a few minutes late leaving, and it was a smooth eleven hour flight.

The time zone thing is different though!

We are now 13 hours ahead of Eastern daylight time in North America. So while most of our American and Canadian readers are just getting up and having breakfast, we've already enjoyed our day and it's coming to a close!

Calgary to Seattle, and Seattle to Seoul.

The route on the above map is not totally accurate. We actually flew northwest over Vancouver Island, and did curve over Alaska and Russia before coming down into the west side of Seoul in order to avoid North Korean air space.

Our gluten free meal on the airplane was far from special. Delta could learn a thing or two about doing things gluten free. Nice touch to include the bun instead of the expected rice cake though. 

I think they forgot to include a meat portion!

Anyway, Ruth had brought lots of snacks so we didn't starve.

Sorry no pics from the airplane window. The seating was two, four, and two across and we were stuck in the middle seating. Still, Ruth had an empty seat right beside her so we weren't stuffed in there. 

Delta has a fantastic seatback entertainment system. Great selection of movies and shows to keep you entertained for the eleven hour trip. Good thing, because the seats weren't comfortable enough to get any sleep in. No worries, we're here now!

Our friend June met us at the airport with her boyfriend Park. June had couchsurfed with us at Ruth's father's house two years ago when she was doing a cross Canada trip. She said that she would love to show us Korea some day...so here we are! She said that she thought she was more excited about us coming over than we are! She's such a sweetheart. Always smiling.

Anyway, Park has a car and he had offered to drive instead of taking public transport although it looks like they have a decent train system from Incheon airport to Seoul. We didn't get to explore any of it, but Incheon airport is supposedly the top rated airport in the world!

We'll have ample opportunity to get decent photos without trying to get them from a car window. I tried to get a couple, but this was the best I could do from the freeway!

Downtown Seoul in the distance.

It was around dinner time, so they wanted to take us for typical and very popular "Korean BBQ". You essentially end up cooking your meat at your table. Neat idea! And of course I had my first Korean beer and we all shared a bottle of soju. Soju is a very popular Korean liquor that tastes a lot like vodka but it's only 20% alcohol. (Chris, I think you would LOVE soju!)

Korean pale lager beer, and a small bottle of Soju.

The meat is cooking right at the table. You can see the red hot coals underneath!

Park, June, and Kevin

Kevin and Ruth

Lots of food! Most of the small bowls are the different types of condiments. Large pieces of fermented radishes and "kimchee" which is very spicy fermented cabbage. No idea on prices yet because Park wouldn't let us pay for anything! We'll get him back next time we're out.

June, Kevin, and Ruth outside the restaurant.

We thought we were going to be couchsurfing at June's apartment. But her sister and friends are staying there from out of town, so June and her boyfriend rented a furnished bachelor apartment in downtown and it's ours to use during our stay. They'll alternate between his place and her place. 

Only 9:00pm, but we're beat so it's time to hit the sack. Busy day tomorrow as we've been invited to a Korean wedding! Weather is beautiful. 23C (73F) during the day and maybe 12C (55F) at night. Sunny.

44 comments:

  1. That restaurant arrangement looks awesome. I'd bet we *couldn't get an occupancy permit for such a place around here. Looks like fun. Sleep tight.

    *meant to say "couldn't"...need to proof read. Duh.

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    1. It was pretty cool and according to a facebook commenter there are Korean BBQ restaurants in Edmonton., having said that not sure if they are set up like this or not.

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  2. I am thrilled to be following your visit to South Korea! Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you Kay, I hope you enjoy the updates.

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  3. while you are in Seoul, check out the shopping in Itaewon. It has been 25 years since I was there and still remember it.

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    1. We will try to fit that in as we explore Seoul, thanks for the suggestion Ray and Cindy.

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  4. Wow, you guys must be tired - so much travelling but what a great end to the day. That BBQ looks tasty.

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    1. Yep, by the time we got to the apartment and had a look at facebook, emails and writing up the blog post we were beat.

      The BBQ was delicious!

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  5. Wow, it was nice to wake up in Seoul Korea!! June and Park appear to be a very nice folks. Can't wait to explore with you.

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    1. June and Park have been amazing, they have certainly given us quite the introduction to South Korea.

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  6. Looking forward to your adventures in Korea! Pam and I were stationed there and I had the opportunity to go back on business half a dozen times. Haven't been there in over 10 years though so will have 'go there with you guys' so to speak on your blog. Love the pictures and can't wait to see more. Kam sah ham ni dah!

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    1. You are welcome Randy! I bet it has changed quite a bit over the last 10 years. If you think of anything or anywhere that we should go, let us know and we will try to fit it in. Hope you will enjoy or adventures here.

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  7. Too cool! Glad to hear the flight went without a hitch. I'm sure you enjoyed that BBQ after your gluten free meal on the plane.

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    1. We did pretty well on the flight for food but that was only because I brought a pile of food for us to eat on the plane. The food at the BBQ was great and our first REAL meal in the two days of traveling.

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  8. Love to eat different foods. This would be great. I do like kimchee. The meal on the plane looks like a snack...

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    1. The meal on the plane was pretty much a snack! Have to admit we were pretty disappointed in that aspect. Last year on South African Airlines we had a delicious gluten free meal. I was so glad that I bought lots of healthy snacks to eat on the plane otherwise we would have been starving.

      We love to try different foods as well and I think we will have lots of chances to that here.

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  9. So excited for you both - wow, talk about changing cultures rapidly! The Korean B-B-Q looks delicious and your 'hosts' friendly and interesting. If you're ever interested, my son is a Korean cooking affectionado with lots of great Kimchi recipes. There's also a wonderful Korean blog I follow called "Korean Babsang." Take a look at it. It's written by a Korean American woman specifically to pass on her recipes to her children and grandchildren. Have fun, guys!

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    1. We are quite surprised but we haven't really gotten "culture shock" here, at least not yet. I think we will notice more of a difference when we get outside of Seoul. Right now we are finding things to be very modern and really not much different from Canada and the United States of America. The Korean BBQ was delicious and we really enjoyed it and the explanations of the different foods from both June and Park.

      We will definitely take a look at that blog, thanks Mary-Pat!

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  10. We are sure you will have an awesome time there.
    That BBQ really looks like a great idea.

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    1. We loved how they do their BBQ's over here very neat idea!

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  11. I have had kimchi at a vegetarian restaurant. Temp. is 5 in Regina today! Hope you enjoy the wedding!

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    1. We liked the kimchi but is it also VERY spicy!

      We timed our escape from Saskatchewan perfectly with the weather.

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  12. I know it doesn't seem like a fast trip from the park to Korea to you but it sure does to me. I was wondering if you were going to eat with chopsticks. I have tried and tried and need some sort of lessons. Really nice of them to rent someplace for you. Sleep well so you are rested up for the wedding which is probably over by the time I type this. 13 hours WOW.

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    1. You are right about the length of time to get from the park to Korea but it was still a long two days!

      I can do quite well with chopsticks but Kevin gave up and used a fork, maybe by the end of the trip he will have mastered them.

      I think June rented the place for herself as well because she said that her sister and her friends are quite loud so when we aren't using it, she will be using it, so that she will have some peace and quiet.

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  13. WOW....your own private tour guides. What an awesome treat!

    Your meal looks delicious. I would love to try authentic Korean food. Enjoy your trip.

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    1. Yep, it is wonderful to have our own guides at least on the weekends.

      The meal was fantastic, especially considering that we hadn't had a "proper" meal in two days.

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  14. Nothing like having a couple of personal guides who are familiar with everything to ease your way into Korea.

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    1. You are totally right Erin. We are now more familiar with how the metro works here, which is a huge help because we will be using it a fair bit of the next little while when we are out exploring on our own. They have also helped a fair bit with the food so that we at least know a few of the items that are gluten free so that we won't starve.

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  15. This is so cool! I've waited all day to read the blog. This is really something. Hey, maybe you'll have room for some soju, or maybe they sell it here. We have Koreans in Mexico. I'll check it out. We have to meet up after you hit Mexico.

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    1. Glad you are enjoying it so far Chris! Unfortunately, we won't be able to bring any soju back with us because at least one of the flights that we will be taking to get to Mexico, we will have to have our bags as carry on so we wouldn't be able to take the liquid through the security check. :-( Guess you will have to see if you can find the soju there in Mexico.

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  16. What a fabulous start to your trip, looking forward to reading more of your adventures. Our time in Korea was way to short to get a real feel for the place.

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    1. It sure has been a great start to the trip! You may just have to book a trip here yourself Glen and Steve, because you are right your day or two here wouldn't have been enough time.

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  17. Hi

    A long trip, but so worth it. Air flights are a necessary evil in the world of adventures! I have very low expectations when it comes to airline food, so anything is a bonus. I try and eat something decent before I fly and then may take any of the useful items from the airline meal with me. As Nan said, your meal looked more like a snack.

    You will have the best time with people who live in the country. Just can't beat that, and such lovely and generous hosts too. Despite being tired you already have experienced wonderful things. Make the most of each day and grab your sleep in between.

    I too am looking forward to your daily posts!

    Sft x

    (P.s. Ruth, I'd forgotten I'd been to the Vatican City which counts as a country so my current total is at 56 countries with another 5 organised!)

    http://349sfttoseetheworldchallenge.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. We don't mind air travel, but these long flights are killers! As for airplane food, some food isn't all that great but other times we have had fantastic food. It is definitely more difficult when you have food allergies though to get a great meal. Last year going to Africa we really enjoyed our food. We were very happy that I brought a ton of healthy snacks along so we certainly had lots to eat because of that.

      Yes, we have always found that the best experiences are ones that we have with the locals.

      You are going to have such fun on your own trips that you have coming up. Look forward to reading about them as well.

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  18. What??? You went to bed before blogging about the wedding! We readers demand hourly updates :)

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    1. Sorry Dugg, but yes we did, we just couldn't stay awake any longer. We will try not to let this happen again! ;-)

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  19. Wow, can't believe "we're" there already and off to a great start!!!
    B&C in PA ;)

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    1. Glad you are enjoying the tour so far Connie and Barry. I think we will have some great adventures in store for you.

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