Tour of Asia - 2007-2008 travel blog

Our guest house/hostel in Seoul

Met these kids at Hahoe, a traditional village near Andong

Well folks, you just missed out on one of the most important literary events you are likely to view on the web today - I wrote all sorts of good stuff then tried to get tricky and uplink a photo and lost the lot! So here, regrettably, is a far lesser version:

Korean Air flight was long but reasonably comfortable - more legroom than Lufthansa provides and food, service, efficiency all impressive.

Cold in Seoul on arrival but warm, friendly people: a lady on the airporter bus gave me a mandarin (proudly stating "grown here on Jeju Island") and pointed out the sights on the way in. Then, when we got off the bus at Hapjeong Station and were evidently completely flummoxed, a man in a long overcoat with a well-modulated voice and a plummy English accent asked "Can I help you?". Turned out he must have practiced "Can I help you?" a thousand times to get it exactly right because he then talked and talked in a completely incomprehensible garble with only the occasional word "taxi" being intelligible to us (still, that one question is far more English than I know Korean!). We hailed a cab and the guy left, but then we had trouble communicating with the taxi driver. Luckily the guy in the long overcoat re-appeared and, being an expert on our situation, told the taxi driver what we needed. He and another man on the street and the taxi driver and Bruce then pushed and shoved and wedged our huge quantity of luggage (two HEAVY bike suitcases, Bruce's grip, my two panniers, Bruce's small backpack and my rackbag) into his car, but then (in spite of a remarkable looking, huge GPS screen) the driver still couldn't find our 'Guest House'. So he called the lady at the Guest House on his cell phone and after much yelling (and I mean YELLING!) he handed the phone to Bruce and the lady told us to get out of the cab on the corner we were at (it was a quiet, dark side street surrounded by red-brick houses and it took a leap of faith to do so) and to wait for her there. We assumed she'd be coming in a car, but she showed up on a bicycle and the parade to her place began: she in front on her bike, Bruce behind dragging the two bike suitcases and wearing his little backpack, and the Bag Lady bringing up the rear with two panniers slung (straps cross-wise) over my shoulders and a bag in either hand.

We must have been quite a sight as we trundled up the street to her 'Guest House' which is, essentially, a backpackers hostel: some dormitories and some private rooms, but all share bathrooms. We have what amounts to a closet with two single beds (for $42.00/night - Suzanne, Dick and Sylvie: You could charge $500/night in comparison to this place!), but it's clean and the lady is helpful and friendly. We will leave our bike cases here and go to visit other parts of Korea (Andong area) for the next two nights then come back here for one night before flying to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

By the way, apparently I don't need to be on my bike to have a fall (refer to frequent falls during European ride earlier this year). The shower in the bathroom here is in a corner of the bathroom flush with the floor. I slipped as I was reaching for the towel and fell on the wet floor hitting my elbow and right butt and my head on the wall. Sigh..............!

Stay tuned -no doubt there'll be more to come!

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