Last year October 2019, Derek was invited to go to South Korea by a client, all expenses paid. The best bit was getting time off for exploring. I am going to tell you about these highlights.
Although South Korean’s second language is English they mostly learn the written form and so when he wanted to ask questions it was tricky. Fortunately from a business point of view Derek’s client could speak English but when it came to the two days of travel Derek encountered three problems: the language; the directions and the unavailability Google maps.
Before Derek started his week they encouraged him to go touring so he took a Red bus tour in Seoul. Like in any other country the Red Bus tour has headsets which relay the commentary in one’s own language. The problem in Seoul was that he had to catch a train from his hotel to the middle of the city. The stations only had signboards in Korean language; and no English. So buying a ticket for the correct train line was a challenge.
Once he got into the inner city and in the correct vicinity, there was no Google maps so he couldn’t find his way. Eventually he found an English speaking policeman who kindly explained to him how to get to his bus tour.
In Seoul, is that if a business wants to construct a building it is mandatory that they also have an art installation erected in front of the building. Here are some examples.
In the evening everything is lit up with city lights and televisions on the walls for art and advertising.
Some people are dressed in traditional clothing here because if you are from South Korea you can come in dressed up and get a free entrance. I think this is a nice touch.
What Derek found interesting was that each city seemed to be surrounded by high-rise residential apartment blocks while outside this ring of apartments were nonresidential agriculture. The layout of the towns and agricultural lands in between the many conical hills, sounds quite picturesque.
Derek and his client went to work at the University in Gwangju which has quite an impressive entrance.
After that he went on another bus tour.
There was no headset automated tour facilities for the trip and the tour guide only spoke Korean but Derek enjoyed the scenery and the sights very much.
This is a place where they stopped to view traditional arts: dance and music.
Once it was lunch time the bus stopped again and everyone disappeared into the village. Derek didn’t know what was going on and what time to come back. After trying to communicate with a few people including the bus driver with google translate he found two ladies who were on the tour on behalf of the government for bus tour guide quality control. They could spoke a little English and took him under their wing and showed him around.
On the way back to Seoul Derek and his client went past another World heritage site:
Derek is not too supple and so he found sitting on the ground difficult but he took to eating with chopsticks quite quickly as his family use to eat Eastern food with chopsticks when they grew up.
His host was very keen to offer him Western food like this stake but Derek was feeling quite adventurous and tried all sorts of dishes.
Derek really enjoyed his 10 day stay in South Korea.
Next time I will continue with African Travels in Malawi.