My parents left Budapest for Switzerland. The city seems suddenly very lonely without them, but fortunately, I’m only staying one more day before flying to Seoul, South Korea.
Yes, you read me, South Korea. You’re maybe thinking: “What?! That’s not close to Budapest”
Let me explain: in my initial plan, I was never supposed to leave Asia. I had to go back quite suddenly to Europe for my studies. I had a great time there, but that’s not really where I wanted to be… Plus, I still had my Chinese visa, and my good friend Luke was still travelling Asia. Looking on the internet, I found a very good deal for combined plane tickets that went from Budapest to Seoul and then Beijing to Geneva.. So I didn’t think too much and here I am, ready to fly back to Asia. Impro style!
(Yes, that does also mean I am coming back for a few weeks in Christmas. 🙂 )
After a long trip with a stop in Doha, Qatar, I arrive in Seoul on the 6th of October. I take a train to the center, and join my friend Luke who has already been there for a day. It’s nice to see him again!
We start exploring the city the next day; it’s a very interesting capital! The mix between Korean traditions and technology, poor urban areas and super-developed infrastructures is surprising.
We have the chance to arrive at Deoksugung, one of Seoul’s five famous palaces, right at the time when the changing of the guard ceremony is starting. The music, the costumes, the colors… it’s very special 🙂
After that visit, we go for lunch and stop in an ATM on the way. That’s when I stupidly forget my camera in there… I realize that a couple of hours later. It’s horrible! I love that camera, and I have absolutely no chance of finding it, especially in a big city like that… Right?
Well, no. We go to the closest police station, just in case, not with high expectations of course. To my very big surprise, the police officer there accompanies me to the ATM to see which one it is, in order to check the CCTV videos (I mean, have you ever seen a police officer go through that much trouble to find a lost camera? I know I haven’t…). A few minutes after we get back, they get a phone call: someone has found something! And here I am with my camera in my hands, less than an hour after I realized I lost it. I’m not totally sure about what happened but I imagine someone just brought it to another police station. No wonder why the policemen don’t have a lot of work to do! 🙂
But all these emotions don’t help the fact that I have been feeling really, really sick for weeks now. This can’t go on: the next day, I go to the hospital. I go through a lot of tests, and spend hours lying there, on a bed, with needles injecting some kind of fluids in my arm. After what seems like an eternity, I can finally go out, feeling worse than when I got there but with some antibiotics and other pills. My state will get better and better in the next week, fortunately.
Another day, we go to the top of a hill south of the city, where we enjoy a beautiful sunset.
But I saw something that I really didn’t like on the way there 🙁 It makes me sick to see that some people can still think in such a retarded way. And that this is still allowed…
At night, the city is still very lively, with all its street-markets and flashing lights. It’s super fun to wander around!
After a few days, we decide to go on a tour to the DMZ – the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea – it’s exciting!
As we approach the place by bus, our guide tells us to look on our left, to the other side of the river: we’re looking at North Korea. It’s a very strange feeling, because of the little we actually know about what’s really going on in that country…
People here want reunification – especially the older people, because some of them still have family on the other side. The younger generation is a bit more worried, I think, about the economical consequences it could have, knowing how poor North Korean people are… The story of these countries is very sad.
We walk along an underground tunnel, one of the four known infiltration tunnels they discovered the North Koreans had built in order to invade the South, by taking them by surprise. The walls have been painted in black to pretend it’s a coal mine. It’s terrifying to imagine the purpose of this place. I don’t have any photos unfortunately, it’s not allowed to take any.
A bit later, we get to a viewing point where we can look at North Korea, and its closest village to the border, Kijong-Dong – a propaganda village. Fascinating!
That’s all for my first week in South Korea. So far so good!
But the country still has a lot to offer… I’ll show you soon! 🙂