Finally. KOREA!! As I was short on money I stayed less than my planned 3 months. But they were the most exciting days this year.
»Korea is: small in size! – yes.
By bus from very northern Seoul to very south-eastern Busan max. 5 hours. And only 18 € Perfect. From western Seoul to the very eastern Gangneun – 3h for only 16€ by bus. → I love this country. (train is much faster, but a little more expensive)
»Korea is: big! – yes.
Nothing compared to Japan. Houses, skyscraper, roads, cars, buses, apartments, stores, restaurants ANYTHING has –normal– size. And floor heating! [one thing that catches your eye is the very monotonous architecture, i.e. huge skyscraper apartments]
»Korea is: cheap! – yes.
One condition, you bring Yen or Eur. Hourly wage (500 won) is like ..hmm.. about half to japan (1000 yen) – thus items and food are considered cheap if you come from overseas. Sweaters for 10 bucks, food for 5, hotel about 30 and transport goes with around 1 per ride
»Korea is: full of mountains! – yes.
Ever wondered why korean girls seem to have perfect legs? Blood circulation! And you totally do work on that while simply walking around. Seoul alone has so many hills within the city [I would recommend a 2 week-intense training BEFORE entering the country, for those who have ‘sport‘ on their spam list]
»Koreans are: friendly and normal.
No fake-smile “I cannot say ‘no’ or my words might insult the other person”japan-style. They are somehow more honest, make and understand jokes (! ) simply → normal (in my personal point of view) — and we got the best explanation on how to eat and grill our food *yey~* [see the video below]
»Koreans are: tall and stylish. OH YES!! (hotties alarm) Maybe less ‘drama-plastic-surgery’angel-faced but still much more stylish and way taller than Japanese people. If you call Japanese penguins (because of their suit) I would say Koreans are hip-hop penguins with a nice haircut (← oh yes, haircut! I totally dig the korean style, even the chubby geeks look cute with glasses and sweater) and for girls like we are you have the “pants, sneaker, red lipstick” style to choose. Again ‘hip-hop’ish cool. (compared to the ‘I’ve never seen a japanese woman wearing pants’ style on the neighbour island)
»Korean Food is: Spicy and garlic-ish. I would say you should practice at home like I did, changing the level of spiciness every time a little ‘upwards’– then you are close to a “I won’t die nor get indigestion in Korea”- level. And yes, KIMCHI is everywhere (they even do have separate fridges for this mostly home-made delicacy, as it is prep. once per year only)
»Korean Food is: Delicious. And more german-bavarian like than expected. They have blood-sausage ! Actually way less sugar-y as the “everything contains sugar” Japan, and less “need of rice” – as they wrap it into a leaf of salad or simply said you don’t feel like you need rice as the meat and side dishes are too delicious!!
I experienced a more non-touristic Korea as all I did was visiting friends and my boyfriends family. So I can’t say much about pricy hotels or tourist attractions. Some ‘I watch dramas and know about Korea‘ clishès are true to a certain extent ⇒
• Food is mostly set in the kitchen on the table – THEN the table will be brought to you, i.e. the restaurant or living room.
• Never start eating when the senior hasn’t started yet!!
• And NEVER ever ever feed your boyfriend in front of his parents [yes I admit I watched too many drama and did it and it was a big laughter]
• Staying over night in so called ‘love hotels’ as a single or even with your friend is not a big deal. It is cheap, comfortable, you have everything you need, free water, a great bathtub, and ~~ a big big flatscreen where you can watch dramas all day long!!!
• One curious thing where subway-stations. I desperately searched for the timetable or a hint how long I have to wait for the next one to come. BUT → on those commercial screens you could find a tiny animated train [pink line], with station names below. Thus you could guess how long it will take.
Follow me to the next post about some other clichés that are true and really really amazing ones-in-your-life- experiences