Thursday, January 12, 2006
Icy greetings from freezing Seoul. Today was quite mild as the temperatures rose to a balmy three degrees. Unlike Friday when it rose from a low of minus -8 to a sizzling -3 as those damn Siberian winds kicked in again. No snow, just a bitterly cold Russky breeze blowing in from the North.
Seoul is the most inaptly named city in the world. It is a soulless place. It changed hands five times in the Korean war and was destroyed many times over in the process. As a result the whole city was rebuilt and it looks like how the Gold Coast would look if you dropped the temps by 30 degrees and dragged it away from the sea. The city is gridlocked with a rushhour that really is a rushday starting at 7am and continuing to 10pm. Thats the despite having a terrific subway system which I have been using to get around quite easily.
Not much English spoken here despite the strong American influence, with about 50,000 US troops stationed here. I saw quite a few of them when we took a tour to the DMZ on Saturday. The demilitarised zone was the ceasefire line at the end of the Korean war in 1953 and is now awash with soldiers, weapons, barbed wire, landmines, and of course, a Viking longboat. The Viking longboat is like something you'd see at Dreamworld except it is in the middle of a warzone. I guess you need something to keep the kids occupied when you are staring past a forbidding looking South Korean soldier into the famine-ravished North. The South Koreans built the largest flag pole in the world at the border so the North Koreans had to build a bigger one. It is so big that they have to take it down as soon as it rains as the flagpole can't support it when it gets wet.
Haven't found any restaurants serving dog yet but I saw this delicious looking repast on a cafe menu near the hotel:
"Nolboo's Soondae Kukbob is being made by putting the tripe, the horsehair's cap of badger, the womb and soondae in the thick broth from soupbone. It is good for your health especially by getting rid of its peculiar smell. Its taste is light and refreshing".
Call me a wimp if you like, but so far, I have passed on Nolboo's Soondae Kukbob even the horsehair's cap of badger, the womb and soondae don't do it for me.