Wow, I think I am kinda in love with Seoul right now. I wish I was closer to here than where I volunteer right now, because Seoul really is my kind of city. Seoul reminds me a LOT of Boston. It's not the grid kind like New York City or some of the others, its a LOT like Boston where streets curve a lot, its hard to tell where you are sometimes, but then when you least expect it you have a majestic view of the city, and you enter this little part of the city which is just amazing.
Matias and I left on the 11:10 train from Mokpo to Seoul. He had to say goodbye to everyone at the center because he wasn't coming back which was really sad. Yi Sul had to hold back tears. The train ride was really quick. When I was going from Seoul to Mokpo, it felt like the train took 10 hours. Every like 20 minutes it felt like I was in a worse and poorer place, and I wondered how much worse it could get, and I wondered what I was getting myself into. Part of the reason why it felt like 10 hours was because I had just been traveling for so long, that it just added onto the time of traveling. This time though, Matias and I played cards, and talked for the entire trip. It felt like 20 minutes when we arrived.
Matias and I parted from there, he was headed to see his mom and mom's boyfriend who were at the hotel after a long flight, and I had stuff I needed to do in Seoul. We agreed to meet up tomorrow at the Seoul tower which is very close to my hostel. It took me a long time to figure out the metro system. It's very similar to Bostons with the different colored lines, but you have to pay based on what stop you're going to, and trying to figure out where I was, and where I wanted to go and which train to go on took a long time. In the end though, I got on the right train which I was really proud of. After a little bit of getting lost time (... this always happens to me i just kinda plan it into the schedule now) I found what I was looking for.. the US Embassy. After circling around (its a huge building) I found the main entrance, only to be told by one of the guards that today was a national holiday, meaning it was closed. Huh? I still have yet to figure out what this so called holiday was. Anyways, I was going there so I could get some english maps of the city, and get help trying to get to where I was going. So much for that plan.
After that and not even knowing where the nearest metro stop was, I kinda just started to walk around Seoul, figuring that eventually I would run into a station. The metro stations really aren't obvious at least to a non-Korean speaker. Also, on major road intersections, there arent crosswalks, there are little underground things, which kinda look like the entrance to a metro station, and the first time i went down the steps into one, i thought thats what it was until I figured out I was just going down, under the road, and back up the other side of the road (There are 4+ exits that you can take depending on which side of which street you want to be on). Finally I went down one thinking I was just gonna end up on the other side when I discovered that lo and behold, I was at a metro stop! yay! I was also on the line to get to the youth hostel, so i figured that was a sign to not try to find any other location and just head towards the hostel. So I did. On the train ride, Matias had explained to me that I would look for the hotel Astoria, go a bit past that, take a left go up the hill and under the bridge and that the hostel would be there. Had it not been for his help, I would have gotten lost! But I did not, and after walking up the hill (its a steep hill and its not a short distance) I finally arrived at the Youth Hostel.
The woman working at the front spoke pretty much perfect english (although its just been 1.5 weeks since I arrived, pretty much any english speaking sounds perfect to me because of how little everyone at the center speaks if any) and explained everything to me. I went upstairs, found my room (im in a bottom bunk in a room with 7 other beds although they might not all be full), put my stuff in the locker provided, and decided to head for Dinner.
Oh and I forgot to mention... the first thing I did when I arrived in Seoul today? Discovered a Starbucks and had a mocha frap there (they didnt have my ice tea lemonade but still!) and a blueberry muffin. I must say, their blueberry muffin put anyone else's to shame. It had been warmed up, and was AMAZING. So back to dinner. I decided to head back to the main road and turn left instead of right, and what do I see like as soon as I turn left? AN OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE. Would I go anywhere else? NO. Had the most AMAZING steak and baked potato and diet coke before heading back to the youth hostel where I am now.
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE!!!!! It was just the icing on the cake for me! Tomorrow I am going with Matias and his mom and mom's boyfriend on this tour of the city... its a 10,000 won bus that you can get on and off of at your leisure whenever you want during the day (thats like $6-$7!) and stops at all the touristy places. Should be a lot of fun.
I took a picture of the Outback Steakhouse sign, and my dish so ill upload them when i return to Usuyeong. Off to my bunk where I'm going to listen to music and read the new Jodi Picoult book I bought for $10 on the kindle for the ipod touch (its a free app! thanks dad!!!).
I love Seoul, I love Seoul, I LOVE SEOUL!