My first impression of Seoul: What an amazingly modern, clean city. Incheon airport is shockingly clean and modern, customs was a breeze, luggage retrieval fast, and my ride was waiting and drove me to the Shilla on the most modern highway I’ve ever been on.

After flying in daylight, I arrived at my room in the evening with a breathtaking view of the city and the N Seoul Tower:

Room view from The Shilla Seoul

After enjoying a quick visit to the gym (best hotel gym I’ve ever seen), I crashed for a few hours before getting up to do some work. I then went on a short tour of Seoul, visiting Changedeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace:

Changedeokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

The best comparison I can make to these would be visiting the memorials in Washington DC, except that this is more like visiting Monticello, if Monticello was located in downtown DC. The architecture and gardens were phenomenal.

I needed a memory card reader, so I headed to the Yongsan Electronic Boutique, where you can literally buy any electronics device, old or new (think street markets in New York, times 100, just for electronics). I hear there’s something similar and most astonishingly cool in Tokyo, but I did quickly find a memory card reader for my new Sony camera so I could upload my pictures.

Yongsan Electronic Boutique

Yongsan Electronic Boutique

A few things I’ve learned:

  • My bowing skills are subpar
  • My use of chopsticks and even normal cutlery leaves much to be desired (Koreans do not eat food with their hands)
  • The use of English here is very common, but my accent is impossible for people to understand
  • Korean children are almost as impressed with red hair as national palaces
  • You cannot get a to-go box for meat at the end of a meal, as there’s too much risk due to local restaurant health and safety regulations
  • The internet is fast, and cell coverage is full bars all the time
  • Things “Grand Open” here rather than having “Grand Openings”… seriously though, there’s an astonishing amount of English used, but very little concern with grammatical accuracy
  • Trying to open product packaging with nothing sharper than a pen and nail clippers is an interesting challenge
  • I’m extremely impatient

So far, I’m very impressed with Seoul and the people that live here. I can’t wait for tomorrow when I’ll go to the N Seoul Tower, and have the Seoul edition of My complete set of Seoul photos will be updated on Flickr.

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