O My Seoul 01/28/2011
 
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The view from Kelley's apartment.
And you, O my Soul, where you stand, 
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space...
-Walt Whitman


Yeah, I'm the first person ever to make a pun about Seoul. 

Where to begin? Seoul is like a big amusement park. My friends, Jessica and Winston, live nearby this shopping center/disney land hybrid complete with groceries and an ice skating rink.
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My friend, Kelley, lives right down the street from this:
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In fact, most streets seem to look like that. In a huge city dotted like the pox with metro stops, it seems any one you get off at will hold some incredible slice of city. I spent the last five days stumbling around and ooohing at all the pretty lights.

Seoul is a futuristic city of heated floors and restaurants in any theme imaginable. In this one city I was able to eat traditional Korean food (kimchi!!!!) for lunch, and have my choice of Mediterranean, Indian, or Mexican for dinner. This was a dream come true to my palate, which has experienced a steady stream of Chinese food for 5 months.  I became quite the fan of the traditional Korean alcohol, mackeoili, imbibing almost daily. My swell hosts even found and took me to a mackeoili themed restaurant where you can get a sampler of different kinds for something insane like 2 american dollars.
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Photo by Jessica
Seoul life seems to me to have a lot of personality. Aesthetics and the details are considered in a way I haven't seen in China. The way the dishes in the mackeoli restaurant are served on rustic wooden boards and in woman-shaped decanters. Seoul also has that seemingly contradictory balance of ancient and new that I've grown fond of in China. You can sit quietly in a temple and overlook the skyline, then walk across the street into the biggest mall I've ever seen. 
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My friends were incredible hosts, opening up their one room apartments to me and my oversized luggage, and entertaining me even when they had to go to work the next day. 

We socialized.
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I think Winston always carries that pillow around? Photo by Jessica.
We shopped (Dongdaemoon!!!!).
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My first and only korean phrase: Kaka juseyo-- Give me a discount!
We ate (falafel!!!!!).
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Photo by Jessica.
We publicly bathed (Dragon Hill Spa!!!).
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And it snowed.
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It was a tantalizing little sample of Seoul, of which I am determined to taste more of some day. Hopefully when that happens, it will be in just as good of company as the lovely folks I just left!
 


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