Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seoul's Got Soul

And indeed it does. I have been fortunate enough to take three trips to the capital city of South Korea in the past three months, and to explore and see what this great international metropolis has to offer. Within the city itself, 10 million people live and work, but when you add in all of the suburban areas around it, the population jumps up to over twice as much! Two percent of that number is foreigners from different nations around the world, whether they are English teachers or just studying/working/living in the city.

What I like about Seoul is that it's a great mixture of the old and new, and encompasses so many different cultures because of all the nationalities of its residents. For example, if you head on down to Itaewon, you can find a large population of foreigners shopping, partying, and eating. There is a great variety of food choices in both Itaewon and Seoul in general, so whatever kind of food strikes your fancy, you are likely to find it. (One really good thing is that there is an On The Border in Shinchon Station! Here I can satisfy my cravings for Mexican and freshly made guacamole.)

There is also a wealth of things to do and see...I believe you could spend a year there and still not see everything there is! So far I have been to three of the five great palaces in the city, shopped in Insa-dong (a cultural craft market) three times, explored Itaewon, Apgujeong, Namdaemun Market, the National Museum of Korea, taken two Han River boat cruises, walked through Yeouido Park, and ridden the subway all over the city, including out to Incheon Airport. I might have gotten a little lost along the way a few times, but the best part of getting lost in a place like Seoul is what you discover along the way.

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