I’ve got Seoul and that Singpore feeling
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the early participation on this blog. It’s really fun to see the witty comments and Jake, I’m sorry that my last blog post was not up to par. I promise this one will make up for it.This is the first time that I’ve been in front of my computer for about a week (boy has it been nice). Over the last 4 days I have been on a plane for 20+ hours and in between I have been walking like a mad man, trying to see as much as I could while I was in Seoul and Singapore.
Seoul is enormous with over 10 million people within the city boundaries. I arrived late in the evening, took the Metro to my hotel and then headed out for a late night snack and beer. I stumbled upon a lively area hidden between the towering high-rise buildings which was packed with people and food. The rough blacktop pathways were about 5 feet wide and they meandered around from one makeshift restaurant to another. Barbecued ham hock was the favorite dish among the drunk patrons, but unfortunately it only was served whole and was intended for 2 or more people. I opted for the Korean pancakes with scallions, which were delicious in their own right. I ordered a Cass and started to finalize my plans for the next day as the crowded restaurant roared in the background.
My two days in Seoul were spent eating Kimchi, randomly touring historic architecture, and riding their awesome subway system. The Metro reminded me of New York City because it got me everywhere and anywhere I wanted to go without having to wait more than a few minutes. Everyone on the subway has a smartphone (EVERYONE). They all have screens bigger than my Droid Razr and over 75% of them are in a case which has some sort of charm hanging from it. Not a lot of talking taking place on the subway because everyone’s too focused on their mini Fun Machine (I guess that’s how the states are now too).
Singapore was equally as fantastic. Before my trip I did some research around what I should spend my time doing over the short layovers. Reading about Singapore brought only one “must-do,” EAT FOOD! Easy right? Well eat food I did.
My morning started early due to my inability to adjust to the new time zone. As I rode the bus toward my breakfast destination, I realized that it was of course “closed on Monday’s” (yes, I was visiting on Monday). But it didn’t matter. I decided to head towards the location anyways and just use my keen eye to choose the first meal of the day. After evaluating about 5 different open air restaurants at 7am, I chose a lovely establishment that was serving two of Singapore’s most famous items. The first was Kopi, a type of coffee drink that can be tricky to order with the countless variations (Animal style anyone?). With my delicious sweet coffee I ate a dish that even has it’s own Facebook page, Chicken Rice.
For lunch I headed to one of Singapore’s most famous Hawker spots, Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. It’s an open air food court which is packed with delicious options for around $4 each. From what I had read, the trick is to find the longest line and join it, because numbers just don’t lie. After doing a thorough investigation of the entire premise, I went with a line that ended up being a 25 minute wait. The meal was Chinese and it did not disappoint.
I ended my Foodathon (“Did he really just put a link to a made up word?” “Have all the links been bullshit?” Nope, this was the only joke link) with the only relative I know of who lives outside of the US (in Singapore of course). John Garrett is my Grandma Hansen’s sister’s son (not sure what that makes us, but I call him my cousin). He’s living in Singapore for the second time in his life and his familiarity was evident as he played tour guide for a happy hour and dinner. Beer, Chili Stingray, Pepper Crab, more beer and great conversation is how the evening unfolded. It was a pleasure hanging out with John and I hope to see him again when I stop in Singapore on my way home.
I’m having a little trouble inserting the pictures, but here’s a little sample of what I saw in both cities:
Singapore was a blast, but it’s English speaking population, seamless transportation, and crazy clean streets did not prepare me the slightest for what I was about to experience, INDIA!
Bikes, beggars, cows, rickshaws, dogs, cars, walkers, cats, people carrying things on their heads, and near collisions happening every other second on the roads of Bangalore, India.