I have a tendency to overplay vacations, so for this trip, I’m not! My biggest concern has been about whether or not I’ll be able to sleep on the long plane ride from San Francisco to Seoul. It is 12 hours and I don’t have the best history with being able to force myself to sleep. That’s why I’m writing this at 3:34 am… I took a short nap, but otherwise I am trying to stay up for most of the night so I can be tired enough to pass out on the plane!
Once we arrive in Seoul at 3pm, our only plan is to find food and get comfortable at our Air BnB. We definitely want to go out since it’ll be a Friday night. We are both dedicated to seeing as much of the night life as possible, so drinking is guaranteed. I think this trip will be an interesting comparison to my last adventure in Scandinavia where my travel parter much preferred sleeping over partying.
The following day we are going to the demilitarized zone on the border to see the conference room and take the DMZ tour. It lasts quite awhile, so it’ll take up most of the day, but we get to see into North Korea! So cool.
We have the rest of the days to explore Seoul without a strict plan. We assigned 1-2 major things to each day, but otherwise, we just want to be flexible! I’m most excited to go to a jimjilbang – an all inclusive spa where you pay $8 to get in and have access to soaking baths, ice saunas, cedar saunas, massages, etc. It is what Korea is known for! We also really want to have one of those fish pedicures where the fish eat the dead skin off of your feet.
I’m also really excited for the street food! I MUST have the delicious fish-bread! Each fish is filled with a red bean paste. There are also interesting looking “potato tornadoes” where a potato is spiralized down a stick!
Our plan is mostly the same for Tokyo, but there are quite a few more things we want to see. Primarily – the Robot Restaurant. It was featured on the Anthony Bourdain show and looks insane. We already purchased tickets and I’m excited to go!
We also plan on going to the Tsukiji market to sample some crazy food! It has the freshest seafood in the world and we definitely want to try sea urchin & the octopus tentacles that are still moving and suction to the inside of your mouth!
We’ll see how these expectations actually live up to the hype… but I’m just excited to break away from routine and try a few new things. I think this is the first time I’m worried about people NOT speaking English, especially since we don’t have program directors or friends who know Korean or Japanese. I read somewhere that most young Koreans do know English very well, but they are not confident in their skills and are deathly afraid to practice it. Who knows if this is true… but it definitely explains why such an Americanized country doesn’t speak much English!
Well… I have 45 minutes before we leave for the airport, so I need to get ready. I managed to pack everything into a carry on bag. The maximum size is 22 inches and my backpack is exactly 22 inches! Hopefully they won’t make me check it. Fingers crossed I can sleep! I have my ZzzQuil, pillow, and some aromatherapy to help.
I’m not bringing my laptop with me, so I’ll update when I return and get over the jet lag!