Posts Tagged ‘Super Junior’

If you’ve watched this video, you’ve seen almost all of the most beautiful places in Seoul.

While that’s a great thing for attracting visitors, it does not help in making them stay.

Granted, as a French, I have some pretty high standards when it comes to architecture and urbanism.

I guess the most disturbing part of the Korean urbanism is its absolute lack of consistency (from a European perspective).

The most beautiful futuristic glass towers are surrounded by tiny old worn out buildings, the palaces are stuck in the middle of condominium and 6 lines road, and so on…

My first impression was: “Gosh, it’s far from beautiful”.

My second impression was: “Good Gosh! How did I fall in love with Korea again ?” (Yeah, when you watch those dramas you tend to see something a tad different from what’s really there.)

My third impression was: “Right. Maybe I shouldn’t have come…”

Let me explain.

The day before I left France, one of my colleague heard that I was going to Seoul and came by my desk to tell me what I was going to get myself into.

The conversation went like this:

Colleague: So you’re going to Seoul ? On holiday ? For how long ?

Me: Yes. That’s my 2 weeks vacations.

Colleague: Tell you what. Seoul is ugly. You don’t want to stay there.

Me (in my head): Yeah, right ! (Aloud): Really ?

Colleague: You should go to Jiju, that’s beautiful.

Me (in my head again): I guess you mean Jeju Island… (Aloud): I’m afraid we won’t have enough time for Jeju. And it’s the peak season as well…

Colleague: Ok. Well, Seoul is ugly. It’s big and dirty and sad. There is no castle, no church, no temple,  nothing to visit.

Me (in my head): Err… that’s strange…   I thought the 5 Grand Palaces were in Seoul… as for the temples…

Colleague: There’s nothing to do, no place to go shopping, not a single traditional shop and they don’t even have a traditional market where I could buy some little things to bring home.

Me (In my head. Yes, I didn’t speak a lot): Ok… now that’s strange.

Colleague: All I could find was a stupid old market where all I could buy was some plastic buckets and stuff.

Me (laughing inside with all that nonsense): Really ? Well, that’s too bad. But how long did you stay in Korea ?

Colleague: Me ? Oh, just a day between two planes. But you know, I walked a lot !

Me (in my head, still laughing): Yes. I’m sure.”

After that, I was more than determined to prove her wrong.

So it was killing me to be unable to love what I was seeing.

I tried.


I fell in love with some places… deeply in love.

But those places were in the middle of a city I couldn’t like.

Kind of a schizophrenic experience…

However, after 10 days in Korea, as I was burning under a scorching sun, while in deep conversation in the middle of a tea field on the south coast of the peninsula….

…it hit me.

I was missing Seoul.

I wanted to go shopping in Myeongdong, have tea in Insadong and study in Yonsei.

I was dying to go back to Namsan, see Cheonggyecheon at night and play with fireworks on the bank of the Han river with my samurai friend…

It took 10 days.

It wasn’t love at first sight.

But Korea won me over, heart and soul.

And I’ll show you why…

(No, it has nothing to do with them… ^_^ )


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Seoul, Incheon Airport,  August 28th around 8am.

Of course.

The airport was bright, spotless, welcoming, design, high-tech… Quite a few Samsung HD wide screens here and there (broadcasting Star King and others hugely popular talk shows) as well as computers with free internet access, and more.

Going through custom was a breeze and the luggages were delivered in no time.

My guide was (eagerly) waiting for me on the other side, we changed some hard earned Euro into Won (it feels awesome to give 600€ and get back almost 1 Million Won by the way !) and stepped out of the airport.


That was a thermal shock.

It probably was 30 degrees Celsius outside, but the humidity was so intense it was like breathing water. If you’ve ever been to the hammam, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The body gets used to it quite quickly though, and in 24h you don’t even notice the humidity anymore.

Now, what about the boys ?


I’m coming to that.

You see, I did my homework.

It’s enough going to Korea without any language, I wasn’t going to get there without watching a few dramas and downloading a couple of albums.

(Yes. That’s the understatement of the year.)

I knew about the Idols, those singers, dancers, actors, models, MC whom you can see everywhere in Asia.

Well, what I didn’t know is that they do mean EVERYWHERE.

So, stepping out of the airport to catch a bus to Seoul, I was met by that nice, big poster for Lotte Duty Free on most buses.

On this add: Big Bang, DBSK, Pi and a few others.

Sure, that’s not unusual.

When you land in Dublin, you must be blind to not see Westlife everywhere.

They don’t put themselves on coffee cups though…

And you wouldn’t see them in every single station of the subway, nor every wagon of every train, giving infos and advice on security. (Yes, I am fully aware that there is no subway in Dublin. Make that the Dart or the Luas and we’re even ).

And the list goes on…

But it’s not only about pictures.

Seoul is full of noise, music and huge screens with lots of adds and MV.

Guess what ?

Idols again.

But when it comes to music Taeyang ruled over Seoul.

He had just released his new album “Solar” and you couldn’t step in the street without hearing one of his songs.

I’ll come back to Kmusic later on, but just to give you an idea…

Funnily enough, it’s actually comforting to see so many well known faces in a foreign and far away country…

I didn’t take that many pictures of those Idols things but they really are everywhere, promoting everything you can think of, from make up, to travels,  cars, watches, clothes, food, drinks, fridges (yes, at some stage you actually want to be a fridge !), phones and above all… Korea !

Last video of the day. Super Junior and SNSD 2009 campaign for Seoul tourism.

Enjoy !

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