Week 9 – Getting around Seoul

Last weekend didn’t have much planned and it was a bit cold for the bike, so I just worked, caught up on administrative stuff, watched OSU give away the Iowa State game because of the coach, and hopped on the subway and headed around town. I posted a lot of pictures, some of which go back to my interview trip when it was clear and 70 degrees. I now have my debit card which has a RFDI tag so I can just wave it to get on any train or bus.

The main stops were the Hyundai Department store (2 blocks from my house), Lotte World, and Digital Media City. The two department stores were bigger than anything I have ever seen (like Macy’s NYC but larger) and Lotte World also had a sizeable theme park – the Disneyland of Korea. I have a picture of just the “hiking equipment” floor. And completely packed, you could barely walk. Digital Media City is billed as one of the the largest, most modern real estate development in the world and was built on an old landfill – but because it is mostly offices and all new with no alleys and restaurants, it was very sterile and reminded me of downtown Houston on a Saturday night (at least in the 1990’s) with no people around. This weekend, heading to another new town, Songdo as it is built from scratch too and has new parks and miles of bike trails.

Only translation issues this week related to my start of Korean class. Unlike other asian langagues with symbols, Korean is based on an alphabet so it is more like learning greek than Chinese as there are 24 letters. I have a very patient teacher. I also figured out why some Asia people confuse L with R (think Fa la la la la, la la la la and Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra). In Korean at least the symbol ㄹ is a very soft l at the first of a syllable and a very soft r at the end of a syllable – and to them they can’t hear the difference.
Geek note. Went to a Samsung meeting with all the business group – the presentation for the next generation of smartphones and integration with media and social networking was amazing. I’d tell you, but then I would have to kill you. Also met the principal architect of the Burj Khalfia and he explained his thought process behind the design and approach to wind loading (ok – very big geek note). 

Heading out with some US guys tomorrow night who have been in town….25 and single so I will be hard pressed to keep up. Next week heading home and will have a lot of time on the plane to compile the “food issue”.


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