My mother, Pam, and my little brother Zac have recently returned from a trip to South Korea. They were there to compete in a Martial Arts tournament called the Mulimpia where they competed on behalf of Canada in the art of Taekwondo. My mother wrote a post all about visiting beautiful South Korea and I am so excited to share it!
Our first encounter with the Korean people was with Korean Air. We had been on two other airplanes prior and the service was certainly good but it was stepped up a notch when we boarded Korean Air. First off the flight attendants were impeccably dressed. Outfits were gorgeous and their hair was perfect right down to the bow in the back. They just seemed as though they were pleased to have us fly with them. They could not have been happier to bring us our meals or provide us with soft drinks.
When we arrived we went through security and when this was over, the first thing we did was board the first of many buses we would ride in South Korea. The only buses I have ever been on in Canada are the regular city buses so I was not used to such comfort. The buses of South Korea are plush to say the very least. We arrived in South Korea after 36 hours of flights and layovers, so when we arrived at our hotel it was straight to bed for us.
We were staying at a year round resort and got our first look at the gorgeous country we were in. A look out our window revealed the lush green mountains of Korea. We travelled by bus extensively while in Korea and this was always the scenery. In Korea there is either lush green mountains as far as the eye can see or cities with multiple skyscrapers. We were told that when a flat place was found they took advantage and built their cities there. Korea is a small country with many people so they really have to build up using sky scrapers.
The hotel staff would be our next encounter with the Korean people and we were not disappointed. Most of them spoke pretty good English the ones who couldn’t tried so hard to communicate. Everyone bowed to us and I have never felt more respected. They could not have tried harder to please us, right from the front desk to the lady who cleaned the room.
At the competition we met people from all over the world but again the nicest were the South Koreans. A lot of the younger ones wanted to have their picture taken with us, one group remarked it was because we were family. I think it is because we practice taekwondo and this is a martial art originating from Korea.
We passed out Canada pins and this was very well received. The young Koreans and even some of the older ones would stand with their hands open to eagerly receive one of the pins. The would tell us that they loved Canada. This also happened when we walked around their shopping centers wearing our Canada t-shirts. They would stop us and say “Canadians”, smile, and shake our hands.
After the competition we travelled by bus to Seoul to do some shopping. This was a long ride but there were these really neat rest stops along the highway. The bus drivers would stop every couple of hours to let us use the wash room or get a snack at one of these stops. They were like mini malls or food courts. They would consist of little restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, and little markets that sold souvenirs. I really didn’t mind all the bus travel because the buses were so enjoyable and again, the scenery is breathtaking, and I don’t think I saw a single pothole. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience on the buses.
The people of Korea are impeccably dressed, both the men and the women. I don’t think I saw anyone who was in track pants there. They all move very quickly and all seem to have phones and carry them. I thought it was funny the women didn’t seem to carry them in their purse they were either in their hand or they were texting.
Even though they seem to be in a hurry we had three young ladies help us buy our subway passes. There were twenty six children and adults in our group and they helped us before buying their own passes. The subway was a new experience for some of us as we had never been on one. Again, we learned to move quickly. When it was time to get on the subway it was either go fast or be left behind, same thing when it was time to get off the subway. When you are done with the subway you can take your pass card and return it and get some of your money back. I thought this was neat because it is recycling. The same with their water parks, the bracelets are rubber instead of paper. So again, no waste, the bracelet gets activated when you pay for it.
Shopping was quite an experience. We went to a street market and the vendors really wanted you to buy their things and most of them would haggle. Mostly a lot of the same things hats, fans, key chains. Korea is very hot and the vendors really pushed the fans. They sold a lot too I think everyone one in our group had at least one.
I cannot find enough wonderful things to say about South Korea and its people. I would visit again and again. I think I could even see my self living there, that’s saying a lot for me because I am a proud Canadian.