Another thing that's great about Asian American Month, is learning from people who are Americans who have been able to experience true Asian culture first hand. Today we have a guest blog from Shannan from Shannan Loves Books who talks about her trip to South Korea (I've never been before, so jealous!)
My trip to Korea started with a 16 hr trip form Atlanta to Incheon. After arriving at the airport my husband met me and we took a bus back to Tonducheon, where he was staying. Tonducheon was quite different from what I was accustomed too in the states. As we pulled up to the gate at Camp Casey I got my first experience of being in a foreign country as the security guards came to the car and started checking ID cards all the while speaking Hongul (Korean).
After getting on post my husband took me to his quarters and there I saw how he had been living for the previous six months. I expected worse but it wasn't that bad being that he had TV, Fridge, stove and bathroom. The first night I was so tired so hubby let me sleep to get over my jet lag. the next morning I was ready to see what the country had to offer.
We took a 2 hour bus trip down to Seoul and checked in at the Dragon Hill Hotel in Youngsan. It was a 3 or 4 star hotel. It was gorgeous. It had marble floors and the lobby was very inviting. There were spas, coffee shops and salons as well as slot machines for gambling. All the while we were sightseeing inside the hotel and snow was falling outside the hotel. We decided to brave the snow so we took a cab to Etaewon and shopped a little.
I have visited New York City before but the the abundance of street vendors was a sight like I have never seen or experienced before. They had anything you could think of, they had Guccis, Polos, Louis Vitton, Sean John and many more. It was like Christmas was still here even though it had passed a week ago.
The Koreans are a friendly people with different social customs from that of an American. For instance it is polite to smile in Korea but in the United States its considered rude. It is normal to see women hold hand without anyone thinking they are lesbian because that is not encouraged there. The way of life is totally different as the average Korean lives over the shop where they work. These workers do not own their shop and work to be able to live in the shop as a form of payment. The nightlife is similar to that of western society. The people seemed really interested in hearing and talking about English. My husband and I received a traditional Korean massage. I felt very safe in Korea. Safer than I have ever felt in the United States .
As we continued to walk around you could see a lot of American culture with Outback Pizza Hut , BK, KFC, and Fridays. My choice for food was to taste something different so we decided to visit the seoul tower. The Seoul tower is reminiscent of the Seattle Space needle as it is a spinning needle with stores and restaurants. We arrived by cab which is an experience in an of its self. Lets just say it was like a roller coaster. After that we took a sky cab which can be described as a cable car, up to the top of the hill, . Once we made it all the way up there were gift shops and a sundry of places to eat. Our group chose the rotating one at the very top.
My last week there we celebrated New Years. It was one of the most fun New Years memories I have ever had. There were 4 different rooms with for different music styles to suit everyone. They had Top 40, Country,Latin and Hip Hop. They had endless amount of free food and spirits. I did not take picture of this because well because lets just say I was a little tipsy (LOL). We had champagne at the stroke of midnight to ring in the New Year.
Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Korea and would love to visit again. I wish I could put actual pictures of my trip but it was before the digital camera era. With my husband being in the military the chances are highly likely.