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Coen, Aug 05 English


Coen, Aug 05 Englishaugust 14, 2005

Flight from Amsterdam to Seoul
On one of the busiest days of the year I arrived at Schiphol airport to fly to Seoul to visit the Zofona family in Seoul (finally!!). Everything went smooth, nothing interesting to tell about this day: the KLM flight took around 10 hours as planned, saw some stupid movies on board and had several airplane meals (the meals were pretty good actually, started to eat Korean cuisine right away: Nudles and Kim-Chi and other Korean food).

august 15, 2005

Arrival at Seoul airport
I arrived at Seoul Incheon airport at 10:00 am after a good flight. Jitze was already waiting for me at the gates. The Seoul airport is great to see, lots of space, nice interior and relaxing atmosphere. It must be the oriental "everything in balance" Feng-shui that the architect used to design this airport.. with success..

After customs control and luggage claim we walked outside to the car. First thing to do: A smoke, after a 10 hours no smoking flight! Nice... And first thing that strikes me being outside: HOT HOT, a 35 degrees Celsius temperature, with a humidity of around 90%, quite striking after being in airconditioned spaces for more then 12 hours. This is something that will occur many times to follow in Seoul: High temeratures and humid air, after being inside an airconditioned building it's like entering a greenhouse when going outside...

After smoking time it's driving with Jitze to their home, it's about an hour drive from the airport that is build on a constructed island to the city of Soeul. The highway to the city is broad and the first 20 minutes we are driving on flat land, but after that hills and height differences start to appear. The city of Seoul and it's suburbes is surrounded by hills, high rise residential blocks, buildings and highways appear.

Arrived at the house I got a quick tour around, it's big and I got my own living appartment with own bathroom, tv, computer etc. Great service!
After changing shirt we went for a drive into the city, today is Independence day in Korea, that means lots of traffic and people in the city and Korean flags everywhere... It's around lunch time, and we went to a restaurant for a real Korean meal.

We had nudles, some hot spicy soup and of course Kim Chi, the Korean national dish. No matter what you eat, It's all Kim-Chi what you get with you food. It's also the first time for eating with Korean sticks, not easy, they aren't round as the Chinese chopsticks, but they are flattened at the end. Stick eating stays a struggle during my holiday, and now and then the Korean people have a good laugh about a westener trying to eat his food with these sticks. But i liked the food, it's hot and spicy.

After driving home by car we went the evening by foot to the nearest subway station. Jitze gave a small explanation of the Seoul subway system. It's easy and it brings you everywhere in the city.

Because it is independence day we went to City hall, it's very crowded with people overthere, and the City Hall building is wrapped up in a huge Korean flag. In front there is a stage where music is played and performed. It's beer time, there are kiosks everywhere around the city where you can buy drinks, cigarettes, candy and lottery tickets and other stuff, so after buying some cold cans of Korean beer called Hite we did some drinking and went to Nandemum. Nandemum is one of the largest and famous markets of Seoul, you can buy clothes, T-shirts, electrical appliances, toys, leather belts, CD's and DVD's and other stuff you will find on a market. It's one of the busiest places in Seoul, packed with people shopping.

At 23:30 we went back by subway, and took a cab from the nearest subway station to the house. Cabs are by the thousands in Seoul, 1 in 5 cars overthere is a cab... Because almost no cab driver speaks english, the drive back is done in sign language, showing the cab driver where to go: left, right, straight ahead etc... Jitze showed me how to tell the cab driver where to go, and I'm trying to memorize the route we are following for the next times I will drive with a cab.

At the house I still had no signs of jetlag. We had a couple of beers and some Dutch herring with onions.
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