Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Seoul is a Carnival

 I keep telling myself I could be standing in the midway of a carnival.  The night sky is awash in neon.  Fried food is readily available from the street vendors.  Music is blaring from every shop and restaurant – each one a little louder as they compete for your business.  Step right up!  Seoul can be a carnival.  

What’s amazing is how this scene is taking place in the heart of the business district.  If I walk a few blocks, I’m quickly surrounded by men and women in business suits rushing to catch their train or bus after a long day of work.  Skyscrapers surround us – Samsung’s headquarters is right around the corner.

But not all of those business people will go home – many will head to the carnival.  I’ve discovered that Koreans (at least in Seoul) love their nightlife.  Late dinners and even later drinks are typical.  Karaoke is a sure bet.  Doesn’t matter what day it is – even Monday nights appear to be happening.  In fact, the streets get so packed, cars have to fight their way through.  The streets are literally taken over by pedestrians.  That left me baffled – shouldn’t everyone be in their pajamas, maybe watching some TV before turning out the lights?  Apparently not in Korea…

It was impossible to take a picture capturing the chaos.  But, notice all the people in the middle of the street and the signage everywhere.

A vendor selling beautiful fresh flowers let me take his picture.  Vendors selling food and trinkets were on every corner.

The Flight (Tired and Numb)

Thirteen hours and twenty minutes – that was our scheduled flight time to Korea.  I was dreading every minute of it.  The plane may be big, but I knew my seat would be small and my butt was sure to be numb.  After sitting on the runway for an hour before takeoff – I was certain of it.

Movies, TV shows, music, and games all helped to pass the time.  But, even rolling Yahtzee at 36-thousand feet brought me only fleeting happiness.  All I wanted to do on the longest flight of my life was sleep – but I could NOT sleep.  I was frustrated – and if you know me well, you know why.  I can sleep anywhere at anytime.  In fact, I’ve always considered it a skill.  I’ve bragged about it, maybe even flaunted my sleeping skills a time or two.  I can practically nap on command!  Not this time.

 I have to say – the flight was better than I expected.  Even without sleep, the time passed and I survived.  Watching the flight pattern on my little seat back computer, I was tickled to know we had passed over Canada, were soaring above Alaska headed to the North Pole, soon to swing down over Russia to the other side of the world.  So what if I was sleep deprived and my hind quarters were numb, right?  I’m certain that’s the start of a good adventure.