After a nights flight with China Eastern airlines (the available seats next to mine and the meals and movies provided make for quite a different sensation than with Air Asia) I arrived in the worlds best airport of Incheon, Seoul. Where immediately you are welcomed by Korean punctuality on airport trains and buses to the city.
Driving through the city it reminded me of Tokyo a lot. Same cleanliness, same advertising style, same big high rise buildings, same small restaurants next to each other.
I arrived at Hoam University where I met Inre, originally from India but living here already 3,5years. Together with a friend of his, Inyoung, we walked up Gawanaksan Hill and did yoga there. He is good and taught us very well. Inyaung was specialized in raw food and she invited me to have dinner with her tomorrow. I gratefully accepted!
After that, I went to the neon district Gangnam (!) to meet Atlas. He grew up in US but has been living here for quite some time. We talked, ate some street food, and he made me try Soju, Korean rice wine, and Korean beer.
I explored the city a bit, went to dongdaemun area, where there are markets and the old city gate and some remnants of the old city wall.
At dinner time I went to Inyoung. The raw food was delicious! http://rawfoodfarm.kr/rb/?referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.kr%2F Pizza made of raw vegetables and sauces, “bread” made by dehydrating seeds and coconut, cheese spread and desert tart made with the help of the dehydrator… I’m quite convinced to buy one back in Belgium. Very healthy and stomach filling food! It’s quite funny, in the “Areng to Aural”-trek we were constantly talking about food. One of the guys, Travis was specifically talking about that dehydrator all the time, and now, 5 days later I actually see what it is and how the food tastes like… I feel the flow of life!
But the best surprise of the evening is yet to come. When I mentioned that my host was feeling too sick to come to the jjimjilbang tonight, she suggested that she could join me! Can things get any better? Being initiated to the typical Korean Jjimjilbang by a real Korean? I loved it. So it goes like this: first women and men bathe seperately. Take a shower, bathe in a warm bath or a cold one, stand under a strong vertical water jet where you can sort of massage yourself with, sit in a warm (sauna) room, and in an even warmer one, and if you like, another cold bath or shower. Then you get dressed and go to the communal area. There are more peculiarities: the Jjimjilbang itself is a sauna that looks like an igloo (low entrance) with a pointy roof and made of brick. There also is an ice room, that’s like a big fridge, a salty sauna, and a warm room. All surrounded by a big communal area with several corners for watching tv, eat, chatting or just sleeping or relaxing or getting a paid massage.
… I guess I don’t have to mention that liked it a lot? And all this you can have for 8$… In Belgium we would pay at least 25€ for that. The big difference is, people here usually do this once or twice a week. But I was surprised to hear that going to a jjimjilbang is relatively new, it’s not a traditional thing.
Oh and the Koreans like to make a “sheep head” (reminded me of Star Wars’ Amidala) with their towel, folding it lenghtways and then curling the left and right end.