Posted by: evedlewis | October 21, 2009

Weekend In Seoul

The blue and bronze buildings glistened in the sunlight proudly and seemed to bow at me as my train entered into the huge city of Seoul.  Large billboards fought for visual attention, the streets were crowded with busy people, and the hotels and highrises grew out of the ground battling for air space.  My eyes sparkled with excitement as I arrived in Seoul and experienced the same electric energy I felt during my last visit to New York City.

I exited the train, and walked into the Yongsan station with a sense of delight and wonderment.   The station looked more like an airport than a train facility, as everyone scurried to their destinations.  Adults and children with face masks passed hurriedly, couples holding hands laughed as they strolled by, businessmen and women walked with briefcases, families with suitcases followed one another,  and young adults with book bags casually breezed across the shinny white floor.  I swear I also saw someone I knew from Atlanta go up the escalator, but I was too mesmerized by the crowd of strangers to lose focus. 

Huge colorful banners hung from the ceiling.  Tremendous signs covered the walls.  Brand new Daewoo cars were parked in the middle of the train station showcasing themselves.  Many people viewed the car exhibit, while others sat on chairs nearby.  I walked towards the humongous sign which illustrated the various train routes through the city.  The color-coded sign looked as foreign as the Korean characters surrounding it, so I opted to take a taxi cab to my hotel. 

I continued wondering and staring at everything for a while inside of the train station like a lost orphan, as I had nowhere pressing to go and nobody to meet.   My intuition lead me towards one set of doors that I assumed would take me out into the streets of Seoul.  I asked the information desk just to be sure.  As I suspected, the huge automatic double doors lead out to a shopping area, and then out into the openness of the city.

I smiled as I inhaled the evening air and saw more people.  Hundreds of taxi cabs lined up in front of the station, as they waited for customers.  I took out the sheet of paper with the hotel name and address and approached one of the taxi drivers.  He quickly waved me off and pulled forward.  I walked to the next taxi driver, and he also refused to serve me.  I continued walking down the line of cabs and finally came to the fifth man who read the address and instructed me to get in. 

I smiled again, as we pulled off to find my hotel.  I had no idea where I was, and I had no idea where I was going.  Everything was unknown.  This made the ride to the hotel even more enjoyable.  I absorbed the scenery during the fifteen minute drive like a video recorder.  I noticed a casino, a beautiful plaza with a water fountain and countless hotels.  I recognized the name LOTTE on one of the buildings, and the names Calvin Klein and GAP on a few signs.

We arrived at my hotel with no problems, and I paid the driver.  The bellman quickly grabbed my bags and welcomed me.  I have always been very good with choosing hotels on-line, and I seemed to have hit the jackpot once again.  The lobby was tastefully decorated with an incredible black and red water feature, creamy marble floors, deep mahogany wood, and matching colorful art work.  The clerk informed me that he would be upgrading my room to a suite, and I was pleased to hear this news.  I got on the elevator and headed up to the 10th floor.

I looked at my reflection in the elevator mirror and smiled to myself.  I couldn’t believe how everything had worked out so perfectly!  The train ride to Seoul was perfect, the taxi ride to the hotel was perfect, and my hotel choice was perfect.  I walked off the elevator and became anxious as I approached the door to my hotel room.  I hoped that my bed and bathtub were also perfect.

As I unlocked the door and opened it, my eyes widened with surprise.  The room was gigantic and impressive.  There was an open living room with plush couches, which opened to a separate bedroom with hardwood floors and a heavenly looking bed and television.  The decorative curtains were splashed with Korean print.  Behind the curtains were the most spectacular views of the city.  My bathroom was large, all white and equipped with a bathtub!!!  When you have not seen a bathtub in over a month, the sight of one is more profound than you could imagine.  The enclosed balcony with patio furniture was an extra bonus.  I sat down and marveled at the city below from the balcony windows. 

I imagined that I would be going out to party and to hang out in Seoul, but I spent much of my time in the hotel room relaxing.  I set up my laptop and played my playlist of itunes songs; I watched Zeitgeist on youtube; and I enjoyed some television.  Who in the hell watches Zeitgeist on vacation???!!!  Yes – that would be me.

I had a great dinner and a WONDERFUL night’s sleep on Friday night.  I spent all day Saturday in Itaewon; had some great meals and another MAGNIFICENT night’s sleep on Saturday night; and then, I left on Sunday.  Saturday in Itaewon was fabulous.  While walking the strip, I browsed the stores, and I enjoyed seeing a mixture of people from various ethnic backgrounds (different races and nationalities).  Jeonju City is about 99% Korean and 1% Foreign.  So – it was nice to see a variety of people again. 😉

I took a few pictures, and the weekend came quickly to a close.  I did not want to leave!!!!!!  I did more walking and browsing on Sunday, and I left Seoul knowing that I would be returning again soon.  I really enjoyed having the relax time at the hotel, and I really enjoyed my favorite meal at KRAZE BURGER!!!!!!!  OMG!!!!!!!!!!  The best burger I have ever had in my life!!!!!!!  Delicious meat on a wheat bun – it was sooooo perfect!

So – I am headed back to Seoul this weekend for a teacher’s conference.  I have booked my hotel, and I need to get my bus or train tickets tomorrow.  I may just take a bus this time instead of the train, because the bus tickets are cheaper.  Either way – I am excited to be going back.  Hopefully, I will spend some time in the casino and at a night club.  I would like to get out a little more and enjoy the night life this time. 

I have heard that the casino in Seoul does not allow Korean customers to come in and gamble.  The casino only allows “foreigners” to enter and spend their money.  WHAT????!!!!!  How is that possible????!!!!  I am not sure if this is true information yet.  I would like to see for myself this weekend.  Although – I will be attending a teacher’s conference, so I’m not sure how much time I will have to go gambling 😉  I may not even make it to the casino – HAAAA!!!!  We shall see………….

UPDATE: A trusted friend who lives near Seoul says that the information I heard and reported was completely false!!!!!!!  Sorry to misinform you!!!!  This is a prime example of  why you should never report what you HEAR!!!!!  Only report what you know for sure from experience or from trusted sources!!!!!  I did learn that in my Journalism classes 😉  I decided to leave the information posted to show everyone that this is how rumors and false information SPREAD!!!!!!!



  1. Eve,

    Just wanted to drop by and say, “Hello.” FYI, I have been tuning in to your adventures via your blog. This particular entry is one of my favorites because it is so well written. Also, your words created vivid imagery.

    It seems that you have made a seamless adjustment into the Korean culture. Right now, you probably realize that you are not the same person that you were before you arrived in Korea. These types of experiences have a way of getting into our spirit and all of those other things that define who we are. Your international perspective has been broadened. And you see yourself as a “citizen” of the world as oppossed to a U.S. Citizen.

    Wishing you only the best,

    Brian Hooper

    • Brian – thank u so much for your comments. I do appreciate your love and support. I decided to get a little descriptive with this particular entry – mainly because the experience was sooooo magical. I wanted to describe what I saw, felt, heard, smelled, etc…. so – I figured that using “descriptive writing” would be completely perfect and appropriate for this entry. Thanks for reading!!! I am certainly feeling more worldy at this point – and time is starting to fly by!!!! I went to Seoul 3 weekends ago!!!!! I need to get better at writing quick entries and updates!!!! 😉 Hope all is well with you!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  2. Hi Eve,
    My name is Elizabeth Jimenez and I am planning on coming to Korea soon using ESL Park. I was wondering if you could tell me some more about the process, how did you verify ESL Park was reputable, have you encountered any problems with teaching, etc.
    Please email me at when you get a chance! I’ve been enjoying your blog. You seem to really like exclamation marks!!!!!!!

    • Hey Elizabeth!! Thanks for reading my blog – great to “meet you”. 😉 I will send you a separate e-mail answering your questions. Yes – I am a bit energetic and dramatic – so, I use a lot of exclamation marks when I write!!!!!!!! 😉 Check your g-mail account soon for a more detailed response 😉 Have a great weekend!!!!

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