Since my first visit to Korea in 2010, I had always regretted having not been able to spend any significant time outside of Seoul, much less explore any other provinces in the country. So when I knew I would be spending two weeks in Korea, I was determined get out of Seoul for a bit, and see how Korea’s other half lives. Inspired by the cover photo of my recently purchased Frommer’s South Korea, I chose Sokcho, gateway to Seoraksan National Park, as the first stop on my jaunt down Korea’s east coast.
There are some things that Americans do really well, like deep frying and covered wagons, but our ability to cheer on our sports teams of choice has scarcely improved since Prohibition. Four syllable chants of “LET’S GO, (CITY) (TEAM)!” and “DE-FENSE!, (CLAP), (CLAP)” have turned us into the remedial math class of the fan kingdom. Everyone knows that Koreans have our number when it comes to standardized testing and four-door sedans, but now they’re also sticking it to us with our own national pastime.
In early April I spent two weeks in Korea visiting one of our featured correspondents. We traveled around the peninsula from Seoul to Sokcho, and back to the southern border of modern totalitarianism just for good measure. More posts on this trip are in the works, but in the meantime here are the CliffsNotes to whet your palate.
JUKJEON, SOUTH KOREA- My friend Kim and her husband Jayhyeon invited us to Kim’s parents’ house for dinner. We walked in and, after greeting us and introducing us to her mom, Kim brought over a bowl of water that had three octopi (it is octopi, right?) in it. They were very much alive.
I think I’ll name him “Guy”. Oh wait, what? We’re eating him?
We were going to have Sannakji, Kim told us. That translates (I think) to “Living Octopus.” YUM? Bart and I swore we’d try this dish when we …
Our friend, and local Seoulite (what’s the demonym of Seoul anyway?) Iris insisted we try a burger place here in Seoul called “Kraze Burger.” According to Iris, Kraze Burger is better than Austin’s universally-known-and-loved P Terrys (You may recognize the name from such places as: all the cups in my apartment.). Well we went. The results? A photo essay.
Today, against the advice (read: direct orders) of our mothers, we went to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, highlighted by a trip to the Joint Security Area on the border controlled by the United Nations. For a quick history lesson on these areas, click here.
Technically, we were in North Korean territory for about five minutes (but I didn’t get a stamp in my passport. Blast!).
Personally, I thought the whole thing was a little eerie. The walk from the South Korean controlled area to the neutral blue buildings …