A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

Seoulday #1-South Korea

Yesterday, was my first full day in Seoul. After having coffee at McDonalds, I took the metro to Gyeongbokgung, which is the station for the main palace and museum, it seems. I learned it was Children's day in Korea, which means it was a public holiday. Lots of children we're running around in old fashioned Korean dress, and adults as well. I am not sure what it means.

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After that, I decided not to go into the museum. i walked along and found a Korea-Israel-US rally, with speakers, a band, and lots of people watching. I took a seat near the front, and listened to a band play and people waving Israeli flags. I tried to find out what it was about but couldn't because of the loudness. i sat near the back-and asked someone. She mentioned that they we're convinced that Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, is a communist-and his meetings with Kim Jong-un are a smokescreen to combine the Koreas under Communist rule. They we're hoping Trump would bomb North Korean and be done with it. They thought that South Korea was similar to Israel, in that they we're both celebrating their 70th birthday, and Syria was trying to target Israel like North Korea was trying to target South Korea (that's what i got).

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So this was a prayer service, to pray for Trump to invade North Korea, from what I understand. An Indian preacher got up and spoke for a long, long time. He said how great Koreas innovative history was and how he has nice memories of his Nissan Sonata. (Hyundai is pretty huge in Korea so that was quite a snafu). I took a nice nap during his speech.
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Then I walked along to a huge street market covering different streets, looking at various items, like old clothes, food, etc. I walked further along to a long bridge over the highway that had folks playing outdoor pianos, and walked back to the market, and had some food from the street and went back,
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Posted by DavidPearlman 15:17 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

China to South Korea-what my birthday is really about

Yesterday I left China after 29 days (my Visa was for 30 days). I really enjoyed my time and the people in China. Sure, the hygienic habits of some older Chinese folks i encountered is a little bit different-they tend to love to cough up phlegm and spit it out anywhere (including women). Also, some older folks like to save water by showering less-i noticed this (A) on the cruise i was on, where i believe in a room of 4 I was the only one who used the shower, and (B) anytime I was in crowds in China. But the people I met, even those who don't speak English, are very friendly and accommodating, and the county was spectacular, with pagodas, temples and construction equipment creating new cities.

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The next stop Seoul South Korea. I chose Seoul because it was an inexpensive airfare from Beijing, and it was an inexpensive airfare back to Hong Kong after 5 days, where I was going to go back to but that feel through. So I don't know where I will go next. So far Seoul is quite different then China-everyone i met speaks English. The signs are in English. I can use the internet freely and use my credit card (which isn't able to be done in China). I went out for dinner to same area with lots of bars and restaurants and last night of some spicy seafood and then a rod of spicy chicken.

It was also my birthday, which the world doesn't seem to care about. Flying from China to South Korea I showed my passport numerous times to airlines, gate officials, etc, and nobody seems to care. And that's not unusual. The folks are too busy to catch that. Nobody else cares either. Folks say how lucky I am to travel, and they are convinced i am wealthy or won the lottery. They don't see how I live at home, or how I stay in hostels on the road. But that said I guess in certain ways I am. But what I gain in being able to travel I lose in peace of mind. Not working I don't have a work network of friends, which i used to have-but many friends I lost along the way. Other friends I used to enjoy their company-but I said/did something that angered and or disgusted them, and we don't talk anymore. Travelling there are many single serve friends-that I hung out with once or twice but we went our separate ways.

When I was at the Central Perk Cafe in Beijing the other day (world reknowned Friends-homage cafe)-the episode of Friends was on where Chandler was worried about being alone the rest of his life. Even though it is a 20 something year old sitcom-i wonder why would a 20 something guy who has 6 people to consistantly hang out with worry about that?

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:17 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

China a Many Cultured Place

Yesterday was my last day in China.

First thing I did after taking a long walk was to go to the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Park. The park showed recreations of buildings of many different cultures in China, along with descriptions of religious practices, language, etc, of which there are 56. I learned that many have a different spoken language but the same written language as those city-dwellers. Some groups worship ancestors, others practice ghost worship. Some are quite primitive and still build straw huts-(that is what I got out of it). The park is huge, comprising two city blocks, and includes a bridge the goes between both blocks. Certain musical acts we're playing dances and singers relating to different nationalities. it was a fun time.IMG_1847.JPGIMG_1811.JPGIMG_1801.JPGIMG_1805.JPG
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That took up most of the morning and afternoon. After that, i was debating weather to go back to the hostel and rest, but instead decided to go to the Temple of Heaven, which was a place for emperors to worship during the 17th century. The temple was closed by the time I got there-but that was ok. I sat on a bench and took a nap. Also walked around the temple, and it was quite beautiful.
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After the temple, i got on the metro again and went to a big pedestrian street with big-name department stores, as well as stores like H&M and the Gap. There was a food street with lots of vendors. I had different types of food including lamb, something that looks like a crepe, oyster balls (I think-or something like), rice in a pipeapple, etc. And i found other food as well, which I didn't eat-like stingrays that we're still alive, lizards, etc. The lady had a sign asking for no pictures but I snuck one in.
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Posted by DavidPearlman 15:37 Archived in China Comments (0)

China: Always Stuck in Second Gear

Yesterday, I started the day by going to the China Museum. The Museum was surprisingly interesting-I expected only the usual vases and ceramics, but there was a compelling display called "The Road to Rejuvenation", which was a display of ration cards, gifts from other countries, after World War II. There we're other cool displays such as small signs from companies like Texaco and other foreign companies during the period which China suffered the humiliation of being occupied by foreign powers, and nearly being a colony. i learned that the HSBC bank, which is a British Bank-was always a British Bank despite the name-(Hong Kong Shanghai Bank)-it was set up by Great Britain when China was nearly a colony.

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The rest of the museum was the usual collection of vases and ceramics which i expected, but even that was rather interesting.

After that, I got on the metro about 6 stops, changed to another metro, took the metro one stop-walked for about 20 minutes to an office building, took the elevator to the 6th floor, and found Central Perk, which is world renowned. A while back, I mentioned how Friends is shown in just about every hostel, a show which is nice to see due to nostalgia, but i never particularly loved. Well this is a cafe dedicated to Friends. Friends is on tv all the time, and just like the cafe in the show, (with the same name), there is old, ratty, furniture. I ordered some type of fancy coffee drink and a banana nut muffin (supposedly that is what was ordered in the show). While i was there, the episode was on where an elderly hermit neighbor who complains that the Friends crowd was too noisy unexpectedly dies, and leaves them as benefactors in his will. Upon checking out his apartment, Chandler, who is worried about dying alone, learns that the he shared many of the same interests as the old neighbor-and therefore he might take the same course.

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Sort of a stupid episode, like the Jump the Shark type that comes towards the end of a series-but due to the fact that Chandler and Monica weren't together yet (and the twin towers are featured in the lead-in shots), this was somewhat early in the show's run. As with many famous places, Central Perk was somewhat underwhelming.

Later I took the metro to the bell and drum towers, which also we're underwhelming, but it was a nice night, and I walked along.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 15:44 Archived in China Comments (0)

China-allowed in the Forbidden City

Yesterday, I woke up early and went to the Forbidden City, one of the main attraction in Beijing. It is an entire part of town consisting of large temples, with names like the "Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony, etc. Each hall served a different purpose, such as one to entertain guests, one to hold court, etc from the years 1420-1912. It was nice, but the city was crowded, and I have been in China and Hong Kong for almost 6 weeks, and I have seen lots of Temples, Bell Towers, and Drum Towers. I am sort of burnt out on them. So all of this wonderous splendor that people come from everywhere to see was wasted on me.
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After that, I walked across the street to a park called Jingshan park, where a giant Tower on the hill, where I got great views of the Forbidden City. The park also had some pretty gardens with lots of flowers. i walked around for a while, took pictures, and then walked out and enjoyed the nice spring weather.

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After about 1/2 an hour of walking, I walked into a hutong. A hutong is a traditional neighborhood in Beijing, where people live in small houses with alleyways in between, and often on main streets nearby are plenty of shops and restaurants. i walked along one for a while looking at the various shops and having some cheap street food, which was good as always.

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I walked along a little more for another half an hour. I wanted to find an English guide on Beijing, and online I saw there was an English bookstore-so I took the metro there-taking one line about 5 stops, and connecting to another line. The entire trip was roughly close to 40 minutes, and it was miserable because the pokey train stopped at a lot of stations and I had to stand the entire way. I got out of the metro at a neighborhood with a modern shopping mall, Intercontinental hotel, and office buildings. i found the bookstore-bought a small guide, and dreadfully spent another 40 minutes on the metro to head back to the hostel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:09 Archived in China Comments (0)

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