Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arriving in Seoul

Early morning, Saturday, September 19, 2009

We arrived only a little late in Seoul, Korea, after non-eventful legs of flying from St. Louis to Detroit to Narita International Airport in Tokyo, then on to Seoul. We were met by “Handsome” John Kim, our host for the next week, and Pastor Chung, the always-smiling NYI Coordinator. They drove us to Hotel Rich, not far from John Kim's church (Tree planted by the Water Church).
Being quite tired and trying to adjust to the new time zone, we went to sleep on the low platform bed – after being instructed about removing our shoes at the entrance to our room and wearing the provided slippers. This was quite a nice hotel room with a big-screen TV and a large sunken bathtub (as big as a double bed!) and a shower with body sprayers too. It included a computer too, but we were just glad to be able to use our own and connect with the Internet.

We got up around 8 and had been told to ask for breakfast at the front desk and it would be brought to us. We had our choice of “cheesy” toast or bacon toast, so we asked for one of each. And just a little while later, a nice young man appeared at our door with our breakfast! It turned out to be from Isaac Toast: square egg sandwiches on toast – one with cheese and ham and pickles, one with bacon and a sweet slaw – both quite tasty, with 2 small cartons of milk! There was a pitcher water heater for us to make instant coffee, so we were set for the morning.

John Kim picked us up around 11:00 am so we could go out for lunch and begin discussing the schedule for workshops that Dan would present. Dan asked about the people attending each one as we sat down to lunch at an Italian restaurant called Lavenheim. Our lunches were quite tasty and, afterward, we enjoyed coffee outside, as no one hurries from a meal here. John showed us a map of Seoul, where we were and where we would be traveling (I always benefit from a visual example), then we got back in his van and started our tour. He showed us a charming place called English Village, where Korean children go for camps to learn English (there are even large letters spelling out “English Village” on the hillside that can be seen from the highway!). Very near there is an art village, where there are galleries and all the buildings are squarish and unusual but quite different from each other. These places were on the way to the Odu Unification Observatory on a high hill built so you can see all around, but especially North Korea, where life is still extremely difficult for everyone who lives there under Communist rule. The exhibits and the slide show, narrated in English, were a great help in understanding the long-standing problems in North Korea.

Dinner was in a busy Korean restaurant – we shared Jim Dak, a spicy chicken dish, with Kim Chee, of course. After that, we drove a short distance to Lake Park, a beautiful place that has a huge fountain with programmed music and a light show of many colors. We loved it – it's incredible and a simple description can't begin to do it justice!

No comments:

Post a Comment