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Travel Diary: First time in Seoul

I have had the opportunity to live in South Korea for nearly 4 years. I initially had so many plans. I wanted to travel every weekend I was going to write about all of my experiences and post them online along with my photos all to get the attention of Lonely Planet. Then when I was ready to leave I would take all of that experience and use it to start my own travel agency! Well, living in Korea proved to be a little more stressful for me than I was ready for. So it only took me four years to get all of those experiences down. So let me tell you about when I finally got to Seoul! It only took 3 hours, 1 bus, and 1 train.

So the bus down the street from my apartment went directly to the train and the movie theater across the street. I saw this really cool graffiti piece under a bridge. I know there is a Graffiti Alley somewhere in Seoul, I'll have to take a visit. Maybe I'll find someone that likes having their photo taken and do a little shoot situation.

Here is where the fun part starts. I know that I am supposed to take the Line 1 train to the end of the line which would be Seoul Station. I'm pretty much going from one end to the other. When I looked at the sign it said Line 1 and Track 4, but I only saw the numbers. I stood on track 1 which was the right train in the wrong direction, for about 30 minutes before I realized my mistake. Luckily, I'm in a Facebook group that started a Kakao Group Chat, so I was able to ask someone for help.

I finally made it with not as much time to spare as I had originally planned. I was meeting up with a friend that I had met back in Chicago and his friend. They were going to show me around.

When I finally got to Seoul I was greeted by a protest! Turns out Korea and Japan were having some trade issues and they were gathering at Seoul Station in protest. Let me tell you, as a photographer, especially one that is hoping to go into more street photography than portraits due to my current circumstances, the thought of walking through a group of passionate people waving flags both Korean and American, I was excited! However, as an American that doesn't understand as much Korean as I like to think that I do, walking through a group of passionate people waving flags, both Korean and American, I was terrified! I didn't know if I was offending someone or not!

Anywho, I made it to the agreed Rendezvous Point and was able to meet up with my friend. He took me to lunch where I had Galbi for the first time. 엄마야!! If I had known before what I know now! I try to taste everything since Korean food is still fairly new to me. There are many foods that I have already had that I know I like, like Bibimbap and Jajjangmyen. There are also foods that I already know that I don't want to try like Dakbal and Gopchang. Yangnyeom Gejang is Spicy Marinated Crabs. They are raw, which doesn't truly bother me, but it is spicy. I have learned that Mexican spicy and Korean spicy are VERY different, and I only just got used to Mexican Spicy a few years ago. But when my friends didn't even touch them, I knew that it wasn't for me.

I got in trouble for not having a plan. I tried to tell him that I am new in town so I want to see it ALL! We ended up going to Namsam Tower. I wasn't a huge fan of the cable car, but it wasn't definitely better than having to walk all the way up, especially since, even when you get to the "top" you still have to keep walking up to the tower itself. We didn't pay to go all the way up, we just walked around the "deck area" where all the locks are. It was cool because I had seen this place in a lot of different dramas, like Boys Over Flowers, Oh My Ghostess, My Love From Another Star, and The Swindlers. I was finally up close and personal with all those locks left by tourists and lovers!

After leaving Namsam Tower they dropped me off near the Namdaemun Market. I had a very small panic attack because KakaoMaps kept getting me lost. Yes, the map, it wasn't me. It would tell me to walk in a particular direction and I would then I would double-check my progress and it would jump to somewhere else but I never strayed from the given path or turned or anything. It started to rain and I was so tired of walking up all of the stairs! I felt like I would break into tears. But I calmed down, bought a phone charger and figured out how to get back to Seoul Station!

Now that I have been to Seoul a few times for various reasons, I feel a lot more comfortable wandering around and can give you some great suggestions! Where would you like to go?

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