A Taste of Korea

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Early view of Seoul

Last weekend I went to Seoul, in the Republic of Korea. A whole weekend! Now I’m an expert on all things Korean.

The Won is the Korean currency (“wahn”). What do you call a bunch of Won? A Won-ton! (Now I’m hungry.)

There’s about 1,000 Won to the dollar. Just think of the comma as a decimal point. Try not to get nervous when you pull 100,000 Won from the ATM.

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Where’s the comma?!

They should drop 3 zeros and reprint their currency. (Japan needs to drop 2 zeros from theirs. <hold breath>)

Friday afternoon we wandered around Itaewon (pronounced eat-taiwan, which seems like cross-marketing. And makes me hungrier.) We found a hamburger place run by Americans. We had Guinness at an Aussie bar. And then we struck gold. Pancake Hotdog Sale. Yep, bratwursts with a pancake for a bun and yummy asian sauces drizzled over them.

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You many not know that Seoul has a tower. It’s unimaginatively called Seoul Tower. It’s 240 meters tall, on a mountain that is also 240 meters tall. (That’s 1,000 cubits, or $1. Wait…) I wonder if they’re able to lower the tower into the mountain. And would that freak everyone out.

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I predict Pyongyang will be visitable by 2030.

The weather is Seoul was “bruto” as the Italians say. On Saturday we walked to the tower in 97 degree heat (that’s 5 degrees centipede).

Then we got a day full of rain on Sunday. We went to the Chong-duck-gong palace anyway. No ducks or gongs were visible. Ducks would have liked the rain.

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Love the blue roof.

That night we went to a Canadian bar to play trivia. It was…creative. 11% of the questions were from a single rap song. On the other hand, the Rule of 72 came up as an answer – go Finance!  I liked the section where they had translated song lyrics into random languages using Google Translate. You got points by figuring out the language, the song title, and knowing the artist.

My buddy enlightened me that the squiggly square pictures are combinations of letters, not pictograms like Japanese Kanji. I almost switched from sightseeing to studying the alphabet so I could practice reading. I could see Korean being on my list of languages to learn.

So, Korean food is tasty. You can get by on English. The weather is fickle. There’s more honking than in Japan, but less than in California. And the food is tasty. I give it 4 stars.

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Bounty!

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