Wow Seoul truly is an amazing city. I have spent the last two days exploring it and there hasn’t been a dull moment. There has been a lot of wandering around and getting lost, but that’s half the fun. There is a big foreigner neighborhood called Itaewon. There are parts of it that are almost all foreigners and no Koreans. This is very strange to me almost to the point of being like culture shock. My Korea has been all Korean and the dozen or so foreigners who live in my city. Earlier, I walked into a convenience store and was about ready to say hello in Korean like I’ve been doing several times a day for the past month and a half. I was actually taken aback when the cashier said “Hi.” It is strange because none of this: the amount of foreigners, the English speaking, etc, would phase be if I hadn’t been spending time in a smaller city before coming here. Foriegners who only come to Seoul must take it for granted. The lucky bastards.
Of course, there are drawbacks to having a lot of other ex-pats around… like a lot of them are douchebags. Also this evening I was walking around Itaewon about to go into this English language bookstore. It’s on the second floor of the building and as I’m going up the stairs, this guy starts talking to me. He asks me my name and asks if he can “join me” in the bookstore. I don’t want to be rude because he is not doing anything really wrong, but I’m not an idiot. There is really only one reason (well, one main reason) a man would approach a woman in the street. So I say okay he can join me, so as not to be rude, but I have no interest. He follows me around the bookstore for awhile and says we should go get drinks afterward. I am like, “maybe.” He brings it up two more times and I keep saying, “maybe.” I just didn’t like the way he approached me. It was creepy and I wasn’t interested, but he was very persistent so I was worried about him not leaving me alone even after I asked him to. Really, I did not want to get into a whole thing where I have to put forth great effort to convince him that I’m really not interested. I am especially wary of this now after another incident that happened a few weeks ago. Anyway, I don’t feel great about it, but with a little bit of maneuvering, I saw an opportunity where I could sneak out of the bookstore without him knowing, so I took it. I took it and ran away.
Anyway, even without this mishap, I was starting to sour on Itaewon. It’s awesome that it has a ton of different types of foreign restaurants, etc. but mostly it’s just an overpriced tourist trap filled with way too many people. I wanted to go to an Indian restaurant and I looked at three different ones and the prices were all around $20 for a meal. Rude. I actually wanted to go to a supposedly legit taco place that was closed. I might go back to Itaewon before I leave... but it'll only be for the tacos.
I also climbed up a mountain in the middle of Seoul and got kid of lost on the way back down, but it was nice to take in the scenery. Plus, I ended up at a university, so it was cool to see a Korean university campus.
Tomorrow I am going on a tour to the DMZ. So excited to see North Korea in person!!