We are half way through our return travel marathon at the airport in Seoul. We started the day by sleeping in and having a relaxing breakfast at the Village House. We hung around playing cards until about 12 noon before taking a taxi to the airport. We were about 2 hours early so we stopped by to have a latte at Starbucks. Yep, there is even a Starbuck's in Borneo with a picture of the original Pike Place store on the wall. It was a little freaky. I also picked up a few last minute food items like Laksa mix.
We arrived in KK and took a taxi back to the King Park Hotel for a couple of hours. We decided to get it for a night so we could relax and shower before the next leg. We had to make a few more last minute book purchases. George couldn't stay away from the plant books at Borneo Books. We also decided to have pizza again for dinner.
The plane for Seoul left at midnight. I hate sitting in the back of Airbus planes. It feels weird like back of the plane is fishtailing. We might have slept a bit but it was pretty uncomfortable. I don't remember the movie so I must have slept a bit. We arrived in Seoul at 6am.
We decided to take the City Tour. Asiana provides it for free. We could have gotten a free hotel room but this was so much more interesting. The airport (Incheon) is about 60km from downtown Seoul and it is on an island. The bridge that connects it is pretty amazing. There are 50 million in Korea and 10 million live in Seoul. You can definitely tell where they all live. The river is lined with 20 story high rise apartment buildings.
But what amazed us more is to go from the rich dense green jungle of Malaysia to the barren brown winter of Korea. Nothing is green at all but a few random evergreens. We are used to some green even in the winter on the west coast. This is very prairie brown stark and 34 degrees. Quite the contrast from 90 degrees with 80% humidity which we left 5 hours ago.
It takes about 1hour by bus to get to Seoul. The first stop was a Buddhist temple but on the way we went by the President's house which is called the Blue House. We saw tons of security police for blocks around it and could not stop. The temple was beautiful. Inside are three large gold Buddhas. A worship was going on and the temple was filled with about 100 people changing and praying. It was very moving. We had 15 minutes to walk around and take pictures before moving on. Next stop was recovered stream through the financial district that has been renovated with cement steps and a waterfall.
Next was lunch which was a lot of fun. We sat at low tables and had beef Buglogi (spelling) and of course hot Kimchi. George had a vegetarian rice bowl.
Last stop was of course for souvenirs. We bought nothing but it was very interesting area with nightclubs and sport stores.
3 more hours and then our last 9 hour leg home.