First off, I’m late but I’ll say it anyway – Happy Father’s Day dad!!
There were two food options on the Korean Airlines flight: Western and Korean. I was already in the holiday spirit so I opted for Korean food for supper. Since making that decision I can say without a doubt that airline food is airline food. Bad Korean happens to be better than bad pizza or chicken with rice but it’s still airline food at the end of the day!
We arrived in Seoul at 16:30 (8:30 BST) rather bleary-eyed but in pretty good shape overall. I say we arrived in Seoul but what really happened was landed in a nearby town called Incheon – a mere hour bus ride away. I’ve already complained about air travel many times including here, here and here so I won’t go into it in detail once again but I will say that airlines should be required to state travel times from the airport to the city centre in addition to the flight times. This would open a lot of people’s eyes to the real cost of air travel. At 19:00, yes that is two and a half hours after we landed, we left the hotel and start our holiday in earnest.
I only took one term of Korean language classes but it really makes a difference in my comfort level. I had alwasy believed that travelling to an Asian country would be a disorientating and difficult experience because you couldn’t do basic things like read signs and notice boards. Well, I still haven’t tested my theory because I can read most signs and notice boards and ask for basic things! Also, at least in Seoul, most people speak at least a little English so I can get by quite nicely. Having Yu Kyoung to back me up when I fail helps a bit too, I’m sure.
Around the corner from the hotel, I stepped into an exaggerated version of New Malden. We walked for a while until we found a suitably busy restaurant, took off our shoes and took a seat on the floor for our first meal in Korea. We had beef bulgogi and some soup then pork with old kimchi. The sourness of the old kimchi matched the pork belly perfectly. For those who don’t know, many meals in Korea are cooked at your table which lets you eat at your own pace and have piping hot food on demand – perfect!
After the meal we found a bar named Zuzu. It was relatively empty but the staff was very friendly and we got to see a dazzling display of spirit bottle spinning and fire breathing by the bar staff. It was quite impressive. Overall, it was a great start to the trip.