If you follow me on Instagram, some of you already know that I was in South Korea on a business trip for a little over a week. I have a few thoughts to share with you from my experience of this trip (and first time in Asia also)!!!
- Food is indeed great! Whenever I asked people who had travelled to South Korea, I get the same exclamation: ” Food is GREAT!!!” I got to taste everyday a new dish with the locals who shared with me their favorite hotspots and showed me how to eat things starting with holding the Korean metal chopped sticks. I tried the tofu stews, some ramen, some skewers, some bimbibaps, some sesame udon soups, some clam soups, some pancakes, some hot pots, lots of BBQ… well my taste bud was fulfilled to say the least! They also showed me how they drink their mixed of soju and the Cass beer then shake it up by putting the chopped stick in the cup then knock it, which creates bubbles. Personally I don’t like either the bubbles in my beer nor the light tasting beer but it was all fun to watch and cheer with them.
- A cultural shock; there isn’t much of work live balance there. My colleagues worked 10-12 h a day. Although that rate is similar in the US, it’s not always a standard. The hierarchy is important so there is showing respect with a bow. And lastly, very few people spoke English to my surprise. And another lastly, the taxi drivers are so so crazy (underrated statement). Driving there is completely suicidal. Pedestrians yielding is not a thing so watch out!! On another note, I visited a few sites such as the Hwaseong fortress (nice hike at night), the War memorial museum, the Geongsokgung palace where Koreans dress up in beautiful traditional clothes, the Namsan tower (hike was deadly to me, I almost fainted) and there were more Koreans than foreign tourists interestingly. One of my favorite part of this trip was to head to picturesque Hangang Park for a tranquil escape where people can rent a bike and hit one of the many cycline trail along. In the evening, you can grab street food and listen to an array of local buskers and entertainers, catching fireworks over the River Han and kick back drink red wine. The view is beautiful at night!
- The women of Seoul dress better; I’ve seen women street style in major fashion cities of Paris, Toulouse, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome, Los Angeles, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, and many countryside too… but Seoul wow just amazing!! I am writing a post on my observations and how much I was inspired by their style. So stay tuned! But if I could put the Seoul style in a couple of words would be elegant and minimalist.
- Party life in Gangnam; this part of Seoul is so crazy! A fun night life started with bar hoping at the Wood Stock where they played vinyl records and we played darts. We then hoped on other bars which I couldn’t recall anymore (was not drunk yet) but then we got into a must have Korean karaoke session where I lost my voice the following day. I was too tired to go clubbing afterwords (must be an aging thing I suppose) but I had a great time in Gangnam!
- The importance of beauty; plastic surgery clinics were at every corner and at the airport one could not have missed to buy a beauty mask as there are so many cosmetics duty free shops lined up in the hall. I was also approached a few times to get a nice compliment on my beauty which I would have never guessed as my mom really doesn’t think I am beautiful in her ‘asian’ standard. You see, I like to be tan a bit and I don’t wear much makeup! I also don’t do anything with my hair (no straightening, no conditioning, no combing OMG!). I am not certain if the Koreans found me beautiful because of my eyelids or my height, but I gladly took the compliment 🙂
I am now back to the US (so hot here) and preparing a road trip to Arizona!!!