Korea : Day 0 & 1

Well, I find myself in South Korea on a business trip , visiting one of the huge ship yards. The plan is to spend 9 days in the south at the shipyard and then tag one day vacation on the end so I can be a tourist in Seoul. Silly getting the opportunity to come here and not take some time to see the place.

I was excited about coming, but admit I was a bit apprehensive before leaving mainly because of the language issue. At least when traveling in Europe etc you can attempt to understand the language even if you don’t know it. But in Korea I knew there would be no hope. But some colleagues that had already made the trip had some good advice to share, so I left on Monday feeling a little more confident.

Day 0:
The journey out was a stressful event initiated by London’s fog early morning. This delayed my Aberdeen flight initially by 2 hrs, which meant I would miss the one flight a day to Seoul. However we were told to board the plane as scheduled and at least we would be ready to go if air traffic bought forward our new slot. So the dilemma was, do I sit on the plane for up to 2 hrs hoping the slot would change, but also knowing that I will probably miss the connection then have to faf around in London rebooking plus hotel, or quit and rebook whilst still in Aberdeen. So I decided to board and take a chance……. And thankfully we got to leave about an hour after. So, everything else went to plan, and I made the connection with about 15mins before the gate closed ! phew !

It’s a 10 1/2 hr flight to Seoul, and as ever I didn’t get any sleep (does anyone actually truly sleep on an aircraft ? ) . Coming through the airport was fairly straight forward, but then I had to first get the train into the city centre before I could get the bullet train down to the shipyard. My first task was to buy a ticket for this train, and the only way to do it was using a ticket machine. Well, this might as well have been a task on ‘The Crystal Maze‘. I could just hear Richard slamming the door shut behind me and saying ‘you’ve got 30 seconds left!!‘ . It took me 2 machines and what felt like forever to even notice the {English} button ….which obviously made life a lot easier once found.

The 45min journey in to the city centre seemed to also take for ever, and there was what normally would have been a very useful digital display showing the distance between stations on the way, and green dots that turn red as you progress along. However in my current state of zoombieness having already been awake for almost 20hrs, it was only serving to frustrate me because the little dots weren’t progressing fast enough for me. I just WANT TO BE IN BED ! šŸ˜‰ It was at this point I truly wished I didn’t have the 2hr 15min train journey down south. However, despite nodding like I had a rubber neck, I managed to stay awake and not miss my stop. After a further 50min taxi ride to the hotel, I finally collapsed on to my bed …..but guess what….I suddenly felt WIDE AWAKE ! God damn it šŸ˜¦

I finally nodded off about 8pm just as Typhoon Danas arrived to say ‘hello’. It was the icing to my day as you can imagine !! I just put my ear plugs in and hoped I wouldn’t wake up in bed, floating in flood waters somewhere off the coast of Japan.

Day 1:
So I survived ! No lasting damage apart from two of the billboards outside my window had been torn away by the winds in the night. I had breakfast in the hotel which was just a standard buffet affair, and sipped my coffee to he faint sounds of ‘Sing….sing a song‘ by The Carpenters being played over the sound system.

I met the local team, all of whom were nice and made me very welcome, and they took us out for some lunch at a local food court. Very much like the ones you find in the malls back home, except it was pretty much Asian food. I had a very nice spicy fried chicken in chilli sauce and some dim sum.

Tonight as a went back to the hotel I decided to go to the supermarket and buy a large bottle of water and some milk for my room. I had no issue with identifying the water, however it was some what harder trying to decide what was milk. It was all mixed in with yogurt and flavoured milk drinks. So after some deliberation I picked the bottle that was white with black spots purely because it resembled a Cow. Thankfully the Cow looking bottle worked, and it was indeed ‘normal’ milk and made a mighty fine cup of English Tea I must say šŸ˜‰

Oh…and I learnt how to say Thank You …. ‘Go ma sseum ni da

Here are some photos. By the way, I’m not allowed to take photos in the yard, so the one here is from the internet.