It's been almost 10 years since the last and first time I went to South Korea, back in 2012. It had been nearly 3 years since the last time I traveled internationally, which was to Paraguay in 2019, shortly before the pandemic began. The urge was strong, and I was constantly checking for places I could travel to. The end of March was when the stars aligned and I booked my trip. Last time I went to Korea, I went with my friend, Joe, to visit my friend, Ed. Ed took the two of us around. This time, I went alone. The trip was relaxing, which was what I needed.
I spent the trip mostly just walking around, riding subways, eating good food, and reading comics in a comic cafe. I also hiked the city wall, visited a palace, and spent an afternoon petting cats in a cat cafe. The following are some of the highlights.
The food is delicious, affordable, and accessible. The amount of selection is impressive. Good restaurants can be found within walking distance from the hotel at anytime of the day or night. While some places are definitely better than others, I did not have any experience that was bad. Natives may think that the food I ate is trash, but from my perspective, it was tasty, nutritious and balanced. I would've liked to have eaten more seafood as I heard that is both reasonably priced and good, but I don't have anything to complain about what I did eat. In addition, I don't have to worry about recycled sewer oil infesting the food, like in China or Taiwan. So, food in South Korea is as good and tasty as in Taiwan while being as safe to consume as in Japan.
I went everywhere. I rode the metro as far as it would take me. Along the way, there were a few things I noticed. In general, everyone is very nice. People are pretty quiet. I fit right in, until I start talking. Then, my cover is blown. Shortly before going, I had read an article in the news about how poverty in South Korea is very high, especially among the older population. I can confirm this seems to be true. In restaurants, most of the time the people working are older ladies. The people who clean up the subways and stations are also older ladies. While this is probably the reason why the subways were so clean, it is unfortunate that the older ladies are the ones who have to take these jobs. Riding the subway, I also got to see people of all walks of life, from the elderly down to school children; from businessmen or white collar office workers down to the homeless beggars. Just about all of them are well behaved, albeit not very friendly. Everyone keeps to themselves. For me, one notable difference when compared to 10 years ago was that whereas 10 years ago, people would be staring at each other without actually seeing each other, now, most people are on their phones.