In the last few days we've been able to finish midterms, visit an amazing aquarium, and go hiking in the beautiful South Korean mountains. The aquarium was in the Coex mall, which is the largest underground mall in Asia. They had a ton of different types of sea creatures, and though it costs $22 to get in, it was quite amazing. When we went hiking it ended up raining almost the entire time; but it was better than sweating and being really hot. The views from the top of the mountain were incredible. Even though you felt so far away from the city and everything, you could still hear cars, and sirens from the city. We were able to see about three Buddhist temples. We learned our lesson by getting too close to the first temple because a monk came out and yelled at us to leave. It was actually pretty funny, but we had no intention on trespassing on the land, we just got turned around. I actually made it all the way to the top of the mountain, and some of the hiking was really difficult, at one point we had to hold on to some little rope in order to climb across a large rock. It was all worth it and very fun, sometimes the free things are the most enjoyable.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
For one of our many free field trip we went on a city tour of Seoul. I got to see a couple of temples and palaces. We went to a temple and on the side of the building there was a swastika, and I thought maybe someone vandalized it. I asked a Korean lady why the swastika was on the building and she said before the Nazis used the symbol for evil it meant peace in the Buddhist religion. I also was able to visit the Olympic stadium, the torch from the 1988 games was still burning, it was a huge area with a lot to see, definitely visit it if you come here. On the tour we were also taken to the Namsan Tower. It is one of the largest towers in Asia, and we were able to go to the top and see all of Seoul. The only trouble was the smog, so that made it more difficult to see far out. Korean barbecues are a very popular, the waiter brings hot coals to your table and you cook your meat right in front of you. It is very cool; the first one we went to we had no idea what to do, but the owner of the restaurant came over and helped us, she was very nice and knew that us Americans needed some help. Most everyone is as helpful as they can be, but not as many speak English as we thought would, so sometimes getting around becomes a little difficult, but as long as you can find a subway, your fine. All the subways are colored so it is extremely simple to get around. We also visited the Toilet House Museum on our own yesterday. Its basically a house in the shape of a toilet bowl, and filled with the history of toilets and old types of toilets, it was a donation only museum, and even though it was somewhat small, it was worth going to.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Going to Seoul, S Korea has been quite an experience in only the few days I've been here. The food is fantastic, and the people try to be as helpful as they can in most cases. The first day here was an adjustment because I could not find a working ATM and no where would accept American money. The days have gotten better and better thought. Classes started on the 1st and they didn't seem to bad, they are three hours long so they seem to drag on a little bit. The city is huge, something like 10 million people live in Seoul alone. The tour we took with all the exchange students was pretty fun. We went to some old palaces, and the Seoul tower, and a few other places. I also went with some friends I met, Brian from Nebraska and Arnout from Belgium, to a Buddhist temple, and that was extremely different than anything I've experienced. The university is miles long, its hard to believe how huge it is. All in all I am so glad that I have come here and been able to experience a place that is utterly and completely different from where I have lived my entire life.