68 Beijing to Seoul

Taking off on an airplane is always enjoyable. Once the rumble stops you know that you are now up in the air traveling to your destination. According to the travel map of the plane’s position we are now somewhere over the Yellow Sea probably midway to our destination. 

  
The sky is blue above the clouds below. There is nothing to see and no one to talk to. The girl next to me is checking out her plethora of selfies that she has taken and now she is playing some karaoke video. She doesn’t speak any English so any semblance is a conversation is out the window. She has wised up and put on some headphones. Maybe not. 

  
Anyways, I’m on the plane on my way to Seoul. Kind of excited to spend the next few days there. It’s a big dynamic city and it will be just that much different from China. Hopefully the directions I’ve saved will work as South Korea is another one of those countries that doesn’t allow offline maps to be saved. 

  
My day started off early again. I had the job interview in the morning. It was strange to be interviewed over Skype from Vancouver while sitting in the lobby of the hotel in Beijing. These are the times though I guess and with the wonders of technology these things are becoming a lot more commonplace. It was the first time they have used Skype to interview anyone so it was new to them too. I had or attempted to have an interview done over video link once but that was a disaster and I ended up sitting in a park with the sound of seagulls in the background at five am in the morning. They should have used Skype but their insistence at following the rules was their downfall. 

  
The interview went well but my knowledge of my old field has decreased dramatically. I will have to relearn some of it. 

  
I got distracted by the food that was served. I also peaked at what the girl beside me was watching. It was a video of herself dancing in front of a mirror. Hmm… 

The flight landed not long afterwards. What was supposed to be a two hour flight turned into one that was barely over an hour. 

  
As you can tell I’m in Korea now on a fast moving train on my way to Seoul. As I peer closer on the map that I got from the information counter I would have picked my route a little bit differently than the one Googlr maps provided me with. No matter I’ll still get there just the same. The airport is a bit far out of the city. It’s nice though to see a bit of the countryside before entering the metropolis that is Seoul. 

  
The procedure to get through the screening wasn’t difficult. I didn’t sweat like I did getting into China or India for that matter. The process was also quick and efficient. The airport itself is quite the complex. There are terminals connected by underground rail links that ferry passengers to the main terminal. One other thing that will get some getting used to is the exchange rate. It’s approximately 1700 Won to 1 pound!! The machine spit out notes with 10000 on them! Interesting. The coins are in 100 Won. 

  
Got to the hotel and it’s actually pretty good. Finding it wasn’t too difficult when the hotel is in the right place on the map. There was one issue though the wifi that is specific to my room wasn’t working right. The reception guy doesn’t speak English either but luckily I was able to translate a statement and hand it over to him. He came up to my room and tried the things I did already like rebooting the modem and checking that the connections are right. I ended up guessing the password for the room next to mine and it worked!

  
I am on the metro meeting up with Michael from the China tour. We are going to go to some kind of market and from what he sent me it looks kinda crazy. Someone is eating something on this train and the smell wafting towards me reminded me that I should get something to eat. I haven’t had anything to eat since China. The woman sitting next to me is eating a giant bar of chocolate. That’s the smell I’m smelling. It’s overpowering everything that is going on in my mind. I guess that’s the power of such a powerful instinct taking over. 

  
As I look around people are glued to their phones just like I am typing away. Except they are doing something magical, talking on the phone while underground. There is one woman sitting one seat over who is sketching people sitting across from us. I guess that is one way of making good use of time. As I look up we are traveling over the river on a bridge. There are lights and reflections everywhere some from traffic and some from the various buildings that line the waterway. 

  
The market I’m going to is quite far away. I just counted the stops and there are thirteen to go. The map for the system looks just as complicated if not more so than the London Underground map. There are so many lines that the colors for some look pretty similar to my tired eyes. It will just get some getting used to. Just like standing out from the crowd will. I haven’t seen too many westerners here. I thought that I would. Maybe besides the people that I’m meeting there will be more of us there. 

  
The Market wasn’t a total bust but it wasn’t what we expected. It was a wholesale market for fish and vegetables and I’m sure a lot more if we really went around looking for it. We have split up now. I’m just having a beer sitting beside some road that will take me back to the hotel. Don’t really feel like walking just yet. 

  
I saw a woman walking by and I asked her if she was lost. She said that she wasn’t and somehow we got to talking. She said she missed her bus and that she has lived here for almost two years now. She came from St Petersberg on a scholarship and that her salsa dance ran a little late. She was tentative at first but eventually she sat down and told me the things that I should see while I am in this town. I never got her name and she never asked for mine but we had a good conversation talking about life and where it might take us. She walked away to her destination I being a brief pause on her way. She alluded to if only it was a different time and place…

  
So the market wasn’t what we expected them to be. Michael came with a couple of guys from the hostel that he has been staying at. One a Canadian and the other from the States. We kind of got stuck traveling the metro lines going in the wrong direction but at the same time finding a quicker way to another market that we thought we should check out. The other one was a bit more of a disappointment as it was closed by the time we got there and this is why I sat here in this spot having a beer and writing down my thoughts. So with that in mind I’ll continue along back to the hotel. 

  

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