Korea: Part Dul (2)

10. In Seoul with one room mate in a fancy hotel room for a few nights. (The program I participated in was sponsored by the provincial government and education department and they took really good care of us. We paid for nothing other than our own spending money and got a great experience including a cultural tour.) For the first time in a while I got to spend some time alone, as in exploring on my own but surrounded by people who I can't communicate with.
11. On my own apart from the group now. which means I had to find my own accommodations and meals for the first time in five weeks. I stayed in a hostel in Seoul for two nights. A room with three bunks, mixed gender, but the only boy was one of the teachers I had worked with.
12. On Jeju island, we hadn't formed a clear idea (traveling with one of the other teachers) about what we were doing. Arrived at the airport and took a random bus. I mean random. How about this one? Sounds good enough right? We had both learned to read Hangul there, but knew almost no vocabulary. We got into a sort of downtown looking area and got off the bus. Then we just hoped we could find a jjimjulbang (a bath house/sauna with an option to stay overnight in a big shared room). There was one within two minutes - we were so lucky! So we paid only 7000 won (around $7US) and it was a nice place. There was a rooiboos tea bath and some fancy jacuzzi water jets in one of the pools. From there my friend was able to get online somehow and make arrangements for a hostel on the island. By the way, I should explain more about jjimjulbang here probably. After you have a shower and soak in the hot tubs, you change into special pajamas. Generally boys wear blue and girls wear pink in case anyone gets confused. Then you go to a separate area that has a big TV probably playing Korean dramas, some brick type pillows, and thin mats and blankets. You find a spot to camp out in and sleep there. Men and women are in the same big room, but some jjimjulbang have separate womens and mens rooms in addition to the big shared room. Your stuff is all in a locker in another room, and despite American expectations, it feels totally safe. I stayed in at least two different jjimjulbang and had no problems.

I like the fancy Egyptian dudes on the walls.
13. A hostel for two nights with two big rooms (one for men & one for women) filled with bunk beds. The owner lived with his family upstairs. He was from Seoul but had retired early a couple years before and started the hostel/guesthouse. It was a ten minute walk to the beach. Kind of in the middle of nowhere, but there was a small market near the beach and bus stops nearby. We stayed there because it was a short bus ride to the beautiful area that we had seen photos of and convinced us to visit.
14. Slept on the short flight back to Seoul.
15. Had no idea where I'd sleep that night... I packed an overnight bag and left my luggage in the Seoul airport so I didn't have to carry it around. I thought a jjimjulbang would be a good option to save money, but I didn't know where there was one. I went to the hostel I had stayed at before and they didn't have any open spots, so I stole their internet to try to figure out what to do. I felt like a homeless person. But then I saw they had a map of the area and there was a jjimjulbang nearby!  It was a bit expensive and not as nice in comparison with the one on Jeju, but a safe place to sleep. The sleeping area had a smaller room with little caves big enough for one person to sleep in so I went for it. I obviously don't know Korean so I didn't feel that stupid about it... but the next morning I found out that room was for men only... ooops. It was the most private space I slept in while in Korea. It felt very safe even though it was a room full of strange men. haha. I was almost scared to sleep in a little space like that, it was different from anything I experienced before. Maybe like a tent for one person.
16. Incheon airport. My flight left at around 8am, and I knew I wasn't going to wake up early enough to get there on time from Seoul. So I tried it out. Much different experience from spending the night in Narita (Tokyo). There were people sleeping in various places around the airport, and no one seemed to mind. Instead of sleeping across a row of chairs (looked uncomfortable) I slept on the floor near an outlet so I could charge my phone. Unfortunately I could never figure out using the wireless internet in Seoul. I had my sleeping bag, so I used it. I was a bit excited to go to Japan so I fell asleep late and woke up early when people started checking in for their flights early the next morning.
In Transit:
17. On the flight from Incheon to Narita.
Next: Japan. My favorite country to travel in. (Because I can sort of communicate in Japanese. What a relief.)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.