Monday, 30 May 2005

The Seoul Experience: Lost Taxis and Kimchi Overload

I've been back in Malaysia for the past few hours, but am still stuck in KL Sentral waiting for the traffic to clear before getting a cab. The last thing I want now is to get stuck in a cab for too long with an over-talkative driver asking me where I've been.

Last night I finally got out of the hotel and went somewhere, after SIX WHOLE DAYS of not doing any shopping or sightseeing. Now, I usually TRY to get a little bit of sightseeing in between my work, but to go six days of only seeing the hotel room, the subway, and the event venue was just too much.

I eventually went out on the final night to two night markets in Seoul - Namdaemun and Dongdaemun markets. They were essentially just pasar malams, except in Korean - mostly selling clothes, bras, souvenirs and food. Speaking of food, they had aquariums of live baby octopi swimming around, which were pretty sad. One octopus looked pretty pathetic, looking more like Tweety Bird on drugs than an octupus.

Anyway, I didn't buy anything, on account of everything costing more than I actually had (and this in a pasar malam!), so off we went to a club where there was a post-event party going on. We tried taking a cab there, but the cab driver mistook 'Seoulleung Station' for 'Seoul Station' and desposited us in the middle of nowhere. We had to take the subway instead, and ended up being late for the party (it'd been cut short anyway, because the neighbors called the cops on the party for being too moisy. What a party, eh?)

I had really rotten luck with cab drivers in Seoul. Besides the 'Seoul/Seouleung' debacle, I've had cab drivers take me to the wrong hotel, agreeing to take us somewhere without knowing the way and ending up throwing us out in the middle of nowhere, and downright refusing to look at the hotel card we gave him because he was too lazy to put on his glasses. ARGH.

NOW I remember why I HATE taking taxis. In fact, I once went two whole years WITHOUT even stepping into a taxi, whether in Malaysia, or anywhere else.

Anyway, this morning I got to the airport early, and tried to do some shopping. But with only 8000 won in my pocket, the only things I could buy was one can of beer (which I buy because I collect beers from all the countries I visit). I COULD have bought some kimchi from the DOZENS of duty free stores selling them in nicely packaged boxes, but I hate kimchi.

Though on hindsight, maybe I should have bought some seaweed or instant cup noodles instead of the beer. Oh well.

Well, that's it for the Seoul Experience. Regular blog transmission resumes tomorrow (provided I'm not being harried for my stories too much...)

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