Thursday, May 01, 2008

Last Day Korea : Around Korea, Buh Byee~!

So, it is our last day here.

Really it wasn't much. Early in the morning went to the Korea Hallyu pop museum, situated under the Korea Tourism Organization right smack in the middle of downtown.

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Took pictures with some of our favorite singer, star, in cardboard of course. Me think they ain't even awake at that time on a Sunday!

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Went to their toilet. Just like Japan, heated seat all complete with in-built bidet (They must be wondering why it took me so long in the toilet.

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Also comes with this weewee silencer thingy that sounds like the thunderous river rushing through when pressed.

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Bad breath? Help urself with a cuppa mouth rinse on this dispenser. Heh...

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Right outside the Tourism Organization building, is a central business district separated by this wonderful stream--Cheonggyecheon that the previous mayor took much effort to restore it till what it was long ago. I thought it was marvelous to have such clean river running through the busy downtown district like here.

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According to Wikipedia:

During the presidency of Syngman Rhee, Cheonggyecheon was covered over with concrete for roads and, in 1968, an elevated highway was built over it. In July 2003, then Seoul mayor (now President) Lee Myung-bak initiated a project to uncover and restore the stream. It was a major undertaking as not only did the highway have to be removed, but years of neglect and development had left the stream nearly totally dry and 120,000 tons of water had to be pumped in daily. The stream was opened to the public in September of 2005 and lauded as a major success in urban renewal and beautification. However, there was considerable opposition from the previous mayoral administration of Goh Kun, which feared gentrification of the adjacent areas that housed many shops and small businesses in the machine trades.

The restoration helped Lee become a nationally renowned figure, making him a serious contender for the presidency, but did not come without controversy. In May 2005, just a few months before the project was to finish, Seoul vice-mayor Yang Yun-jae and local politician Kim Il-ju were arrested on bribery charges related to the project.

So, there you go, an oasis in the middle of a busy city center. Should go again at night during Christmas season, coz apparently they've beautifully lit up the area with light bulbs.

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Anyways, after lunch, we then toured the Yeouido Park shortly before we arrived at the airport. Not much here really, some funfair with sleazy looking food stalls. Then we boarded a short car ferry cruising around.

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And of course, you can't possibly leave Korea without buying the Korean groceries can't you. We were sent to the tourism shopping place, and just selling the daily Korean grocery.

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One thing for sure, although most people won't have half the clue on their language, Korean people have been very good promoting their lifestyle, food culinary fare, and even exporting movies and dramas. This is till a point that rival Japanese culture these days. I mean, who would've thought of selling daily bibimbab chilli paste to tourists per se, but the Korean did it, and have a place to teach the customer how to use their food as well.

The same thing just goes with the expensive ginseng powder. Expensive it might be, but as the tour guide made unassuming marketing strategy by letting us try her yogurt ginseng mark therapy, everyone just buy without even asking more questions. That itself is a very good marketing strategy lesson to learn.

Anyway, this really concludes my brief trip here to Korea. My next trip in line will be the most recent trip to Jiang Nan, China. That itself comprises Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. Thanks for dropping by on a off to read about my humble ventures around the world all these days. Your frequest visit really has been a motivation for me to keep on writing. :-)

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