Can you believe it’s been almost four weeks since I left the Netherlands for Seoul? I can’t… and I know I have hardly blogged since arriving, for that I apologize (more about why I’ve been slacking so much can be found later on in this post under ‘technical problems’). Here is an extremely long, picture filled, update about my life in Korea which involves visiting historic palaces and villages, people dashing towards me to take pictures, eating lots of Japanese food, shopping for make-up and technical problems.
In my last personal post you can read that I was still suffering from home sickness quite a bit, I can tell you that it’s a lot better now. I’ve met many nice people and are doing my own thing. Many people here go clubbing multiple times a week, nothing wrong with that but it’s not really my cup of tea to do so every weekend (once in a while is fun). I rather go out for a movie, cocktails or bowling, something we (two Finnish, two Koreans, two French, one German and Dutchie me) did last week friday!
We divided the teams up by nationality, one of each in both teams (I know Dutch and German aren’t the same country but we are neighbors ok haha!). We made a bet: the losing team has to buy the winning team a cup of Starbucks coffee (one of the few things that is actually expensive here in South Korea) At first my team seemed to be on the winning hand but in the end we lost… I did throw three strikes in one turn though!
I also went to Seoul Grand Park (a zoo) with the same group, but I won’t talk about that in this post as I plan to dedicate a whole post to it.
After bowling this cute girl came up to me and asked if I’m a model (my height, 1.80m/5ft11, is very unusual here and I think therefore people like to take picture with me in Asia) and if her male friend could take a picture with me. I tried to explain to her I’m not but her friend still wanted a picture with me. I agreed as they asked in a very nice way. I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but there have been quite a lot of Asians wanting to take a picture with me and giving me flattering compliments, probably just because I’m so tall. I thought it be cool to also take a picture with them with my own camera every time someone wants to take my picture. That way I can remember all the nice people I’ve met.
Unfortunately there are perverts/annoying people all over the world. When I was out to get some dinner with my Finnish friends Anu and Heli, this guy came dashing toward us. He said “picture please!!” while pointing at me. I didn’t see any harm in posing for a picture with him, so I agreed. While I posed he all of a sudden stepped behind me and wrapped his arms all around me. It scared me to death. I pushed him away instantly and refused to take a picture. I’d like to think that his guy is an exception as most Koreans are extremely respectfull and won’t ever do a thing like this.
Before coming here I thought that Seoul was the technical, gadget, internet, smartphone and so on capitol of the world… I WAS WRONG. Seoul is the SAMSUNG CAPITOL of the world and with that everything is said. Let me explain why. Every website, system or program here operates on Internet Explorer ONLY. I am not that technical so at home on my p.c. I use Internet Explorer and on my macbook (which I’ve got with me here) I use Safari. At first I could only register for my university’s courses using my roommates windows laptop (I now know a way to excess the school system with Mac too, but only worked with Windows..), super annoying as Korean students are extremely competitive and as soon as the course registration site opened, all classes filled up within half a minute.
But the most annoying thing of all? My blog takes literally five to ten minutes to load, be it in Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer. I have no clue how this is possible as I could open it perfectly fine the first week I was here. It might have something to do with the slow internet connection we have here at our dorm (it seems to have gotten worse over the weeks) and at the university. Some other WordPress blogs also take forever to open but some other don’t… none of the Blogger blogs I read (some have extremely heavy pictures displayed on them) have problems loading. Everyone in The Netherlands and the USA can open my blog fine. Anyone has any idea where this problem comes from? Please tell me if my site opens fine for you or not and which country you’re from down below! It would help me out a lot. This all prevented me from blogging. It takes forever (most of the time it doesn’t work at all) to even preview my posts before posting…
Last but not least (excuse my massive rant, all the technical issues have just been so frustrating that I have to vent them).. me and my roommate wanted to go on a trip to Kyoto. We got all excited when we found tickets for just 180 euro, on a Korean web sited called Jeju Air. The website refused to work on anything but Internet Explorer made mus make an account in order to purchase the tickets but in the end didn’t work at all. Then we tried for the more expensive option through Korean Air, a partner of the Royal Dutch Airlines so you would expect them to be high quality, but no. At the final booking page they informed us that only Korean credit cards can be used to book, this after they also ‘forced’ us to use Internet Explorer and create an account. Why give to option to put your site in English if you can only use Korean cards?! This is only the quick version of how annoying the whole process was, there’s more to it. The end result: no tickets to Kyoto for us.
All the technical problems caused me and my roommate to look for an alternative holiday destination. Just for fun and without expecting anything I typed in Okinawa, a tropical island in Japan where I’ve been wanting to go to ever since reading this and this blogpost from famous Malaysian blogger Cheesie about it, and found tickets for the exact days we wanted to go for only 220 euro! But on a Korean website named Jin Air. We were very skeptical but luckily this website is the best. They only accept Visa and Master card and the website is great. Jin Air you just saved your countries face when it comes down to local airlines.
To make a long story short: Alex (my roommate) and I are going to Okinawa Japan for five days and will stay at a hotel with the following view. More about Okinawa another time. The above is the view from our room. And just because I’m Dutch: we only pay 75 euro each for this muahaha!