Tag Archives: Korea

Too Hot to Handle

Recapping a trip to Seoul (yes another) in mid April 2019

I think this would’ve been trip #4 to Seoul, but the first time so late into the spring.  My first ever trip to Korea was beginning of April, and usually I choose to go in the nice cool Autumn months.  I’ve learned my ways, I am not going back to Seoul on my own dime after March.

Let me preface this with a quick note that I am someone who cannot stand muggy heat.  I cannot sleep if the room is hot, I don’t like the feeling of stuffiness, I don’t like lugging around my spoils of shopping when I’m sweaty and sticky…food is not appealing when I’m feeling sweaty etc.  If you like hot and muggy, then definitely ignore my post 🙂

I found out while I was in Korea that there was some law that prevented public places from using x amount of electricity during certain months, which meant the air conditioning was the first to go.  I understand the sentiment of lowering electric consumption, HOWEVER it is the public places that need this most.  If residencies are required to lower power consumption during work hours, FINE; if offices are asked to turn off all lights and AC after hours, FINE….but when you have no AC in shopping malls, hotels, and even the airport, it’s a major turn off for your visitors.

I stayed once again at Shilla Stay Mapo since I really liked it there last time. I even told my friend who was transitioning through Seoul to give it a go, so she booked a night there with her husband.  What a mistake.  Without AC on, and the sun hitting the hotel during the day (there is nothing in front of it, making it a great view but no shade)…my room hit 30C by 10am.  There were windows in each room, but for safety reasons they opened maybe 3 to 4 inches outwards, which meant unless the wind was coming from the right direction, no air came in.  What did come into the room however were bugs (no window screen, and despite being on the 16th floor, things flew in) and dust.  When I travel, I like to buy food and eat in the hotel at night after a long day of shopping (since I’m by myself and Seoul is still not the most solo diner friendly place)…it became a toss up between suffocating due to hot air or suffocating due to dirty air. -___-;;  When I asked the front desk for a fan because the room was too hot, I was first told to open the window.  Then I tried again with someone else and told them I cannot sleep at night, as it’s noisy if i open the window (major intersection here, making for super easy airport transfer but noisy as heck with window open), and even with the window open it’s HOT.  She said the fan is already on.  When I saw it really isn’t because no air comes into my room – she insisted it’s on.  Third try, the guy at the front desk immediately went and found me a portable fan – which was really helpful to help draw air in by the window.  This allowed the room to stay at a lovely 26C instead of 30+C.  Then finally on my last day I told the front desk again, and I think this time it was a manager who told me my room seemed warmer than the others so she sent a technician to my room to double check.  That night my room was around 25C when I returned, which was lovely in comparison.  When it’s cooler outside than in a pricey hotel, then what’s the point of paying so much for a hotel??

Aside from a suffocating stay, my friend and I also noticed that the colours of Spring are pastel everything.  If you work in an office environment where darker clothes are required, then don’t bother shopping.  I was trying to find a black bag for work…and kept getting told that because black, navy, and dark colours are FW colours (fall winter) they don’t have it.  Then when I tried to find this pillow that has a cooling effect, I was told that’s a summer line.  lol it was extremely frustrating to find anything that was not baby pink or lavender….or not frilly. -______-;; I think this trip was my cheapest one since I barely bought anything.

The good thing however about this time is that Korea has a lot of sun products to get everyone ready for the hotter weather.  I discovered a stick sunblock from Nature Republic that I really like because it was not sticky and no scent.  Also a powder pack from CNP wtih SPF 50++ that has been great.

Food-wise…it was tough to eat everything I enjoyed in the heat: galguksu (hand cut noodles in soup), mandu (dumplings), odeng (fish cakes on a stick)….i still ate it all, but was sweating like there was no tomorrow….lol

Just thinking about that trip makes my head hurt. 😦

Leave a comment

Filed under Korea

한국어…

So…I’ve finally decided to sign up for Korean classes at a local language school here in Vancouver.  I gotta say, it’s so much fun that even though my thursdays end up being 12 hour days including work and class, I don’t actually mind (that’s saying a lot from someone who totally hates mornings with a passion).

So far, it’s still quite beginner, introductions and such…stuff that I already sort of know.  But it’s getting tougher now and I’m really excited.  My Korean friends and coworkers often point out certain words and phrases for me…now I just have to learn in class how to link all those phrases together to make a meaningful conversation. 😛 keke I have found many similarities with Chinese (well…duh…considering…lol) so it’s been ok remembering words and sentence structures.  Soon (hopefully)..I’ll actually understand all the songs I’ve memorized! Or watch a show without having to read the subs! (wishful thinking, I know….ha >_< )

Pororo is also a great help if you’re learning Korean. Seriously, cutest cartoon…. and it’s for kids…so you learn certain phrases in each episode (and how to write them!).  I spent all 10 hours of flight to Korea watching Pororo and his friends lol.

I have 2 more classes in my introduction-introduction course…before moving on to the beginner-introduction (they’re not actually called that … just…that’s what it is haha).  Hopefully in the next 2 weeks, I can figure out how not to write like a 5 year old. Not sure if even Pororo can help with that one. 😀

When I go back to Korea next year (fingers and toes crossed)… I vow to at least be able to ask for directions and order my food 😛 Must…work…to…fit…in…with…my…name! (My Korean friends gave me a Korean name…lol 저는 박준희 에요…반갑숩니다~….did I write it right?)

…학생!Image

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventures, hello

Korea…

It’s been a while!  Life has been a zoo…and while I can’t say I loved every minute of it, it’s definitely got it’s moments.

I spent 2 weeks in April in Korea this year.  It was my first ever trip there, and my first ever trip where I went not knowing what to expect.  It was sort of a spur of the moment sort of trip, mainly because my friend would be there and could take me around, and partially from the curiousity that korean pop culture has instilled in me.

The flight there was fantastic.  My ever faithful travel partner (a stuffed monkey by the name of Bobo) and I jumped on to our Korean Air flight heading to Seoul, and landed to much excitement and more than a little nervousness.  My friend would be spending three days with me at my hotel, then I’ll be off on my own for a bit before joining up with her again for a side trip to Jejudo.  It was great that her sister was able to join us, and in the end it was her sister who booked everything!

Long story short, Korea met every expectation I had and more.  I visited the old palaces, old shrines, the Royal Tombs, ate everywhere, and shopped even more.  I loved that the people of Korea carried with them so much pride in their culture and history, but at the same time they are so…modern.  The fact that I could look out the front gates of their Gyeongbokgong straight out into the busy streets of Seoul…or walk from in between rows upon rows of high rises into Insadong and have tea at a traditional teahouse… or how different the scenery is if I took an hour’s bus ride out to the royal tombs, then bus back and end up at one of the trendiest shopping areas before walking back to my hotel.  It was such a thrill….

Of course, I did a whole bunch of crazy tourist things: took sticker pictures while wearing a hanbok, had bbq til I sweated bacon, ate mile high ice cream cones, had much street food, went to Namsan tower at night to look at the lights….etcetc. Oh yeah and I shopped of course.  Surprisingly, I didn’t buy much!  I think I was more interested in visiting the places and living the culture….and visiting JYP Entertainment in Gangnam. Hahaha.  Yup….I’m crazy =p

My friends all asked if I enjoyed my trip there…and I honestly replied that it would be a place I can see myself living in.  I’m not sure how I would find working there because I haven’t tried…but in the city, there is so much activity and so many people – not unlike Hong Kong.  But unlike Hong Kong, there’s so much space, and so much CLEAN space in Korea – which is not unlike Vancouver.  So in my mind it is best of the two places that my heart is stretched over.

Then there’s Jejudo…if you go to Korea, you must spend a couple of days there.  This place was spectacular….so many things to see…I want to go back and climb Hallasan…I want to go back and watch the sunset again..I want to go back and just sit at the cliffs and just be.  It’s hard to find a place where you can just BE. And maybe while i’m being, I’m going to eat oranges and drink makguli 😉

In my two weeks there, I felt the warmth that was reserved for foreigners as people stopped to help me when I got lost….or helped me find someone who could help.  It really opened my eyes and made me reflect on how I should treat people who just need a hand, and how much a simple smile could make someone’s day.

Thank you Korea for a wonderful time.  My theme song for the entire time I was there was “I’ll Be Back” by 2PM (of course)….and I will be…I promise 🙂

….Saranghae~!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Winter, Spring…

It’s always so exciting to plan trips.  I’ve actually probably never planned any trips before. hahaha.  Mexico was planned by the wedding planner (and the excursions were decided on the spot when we arrived), HK is just going home. Vegas…I just went along…

BUT THIS TIME! I’m planning for myself…cuz I’m pretty much going by myself lol. To a land of unknown.  Unknown cuz well I don’t understand their language and they most probably won’t understand mine.  I wonder if my mediocre Mandarin will work in Korea. lol.  Either way I’m so super excited…and really nervous.

I’m studying hard…to hopefully know more than “hi”, “thanks”, “wait”, “i don’t know”, and “sorry, I don’t know Korean…I am Chinese” (lol I use that…at work…when Korean ladies insist on carrying on conversations with me in Korean).  oh I also know “stop it” and “it hurts” lol.  >_<

I’m too busy laughing while watching Korean variety shows to actually pick up on words.

I think I’m going to be in trouble HAHAHA.  oh well!  It’ll be one heck of an adventure~

Maybe I’ll get lost and will find 2PM while I’m there.  If not I’ll just imagine I did. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

….Summer…but I won’t fall. (harhar)

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventures, Journey, Randomness