Monday, September 27, 2010
Reminder: Seoul is the 4th Largest City in the World
So I got a little adventurous today. What started off as a wind-down evening walk around the block turned into a full on adventure in Seoul. There's no need to remind you that it's the 4th largest city in the world. My roommate at orientation, Anne, and I decided to take a direction. No maps, no knowledge of the neighboring streets, little to no command of the Korean language (Anne having the former and myself, the later). We took a direction that had the promise of pretty clothing stores and a luring smell from food vendors. I thought this would be a fairly easy task; walk in a block pattern and I thought that surely we would be bound to end at our starting spot. Come to found out, Seoul was designed long before the car and city planning is not the most organized or logical configuration of all the cities I've seen. Seoul is a city where you'd walk down the street and see your typical high rise buildings and neon lights and then, hello, an ancient Korean palace. After about a half hour walk we found that Seoul does not use the block configuration of its contemporaries. Now you might be thinking, "So, turn around and back track." Well that's not really my style, however smart or not so smart that might sound. We pushed forward thinking, surely we'll find our way back. After not too long we began walking up a steep series of stairs. I'm talking, a very long series and at the top of this series of stairs was a giant illuminated cross. By the time I got to the top of the hill (or what felt more like a mountain) my pulse was racing. This whole adventure was taking on the feel of a religious pilgrimage. All joking aside, we turned around and it really was something of a religious experience. We had reached a fairly high elevation that was green and peaceful that overlooked a very beautiful part of the downtown that was lit and vivacious. We took a second to appreciate the view, but we were on a bit of a time constraint. It was around 9:45 and the doors locked to our building at midnight. This was your classic Cinderella pumpkin syndrome. So we wandered a bit longer until we gave in and asked for directions. A nice business man who spoke a little English walked us to the nearest subway station. He urged us to take it, saying that our walk back to our building would take too long. Once we got to the station we found a map that gave us a general idea of where we were and decided to walk the rest instead of taking the subway. Long story, short.. a few more twists and turns and we found our way back. After looking at a map, we found that we had made a huge circle. Alls well that ends well, I guess. We stopped by a convenience store for ice cream to celebrate. Time in: 11:05 just as it started to pour down with the rain. I think we got out of a possibly bad situation by the hairs of our chin.