Seoul, December 16th
Asia trip 2018-2019

At Six o'clock in the morning, I take the Hotel airport-shuttle bus to Pudong International Airport. There is something about flying that makes me really tired. This time it took almost 2 hours from the bus to the gate. I tried to check in online, as I am only carrying hand baggage. But all I get is a message that tells me to go to the counter. So, half an hour to get the ticket, half an hour to pass the foreigners country exit check, pass security and get to the gate consumes the 2 hours. The main problem with a trip that visits so many cities (Delhi, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai just for now) is that you will spend a lot of your time onboard planes and trains. But, there is no other way of seeing so many places.

When I arrive to Incheon airport, the first thing I do is to get a pocket Wifi rental. The prepaid Unicom SIM card for my phone that I used in China was very useful, but I prefer the extra bandwidth, price and multiple-device connection that a pocket Wifi provides (and I do not own one). Now that I left behind the Great Firewall China, I get back connection to Facebook, Google and the rest of accounts that are forbidden in the country.

To not be able to access my accounts in China was annoying. Even more when I was able to receive notifications "you got a message in Facebook" in my iPhone but then I was not able to connect to see the actual message. Google Mail was a little better as it shows a brief of the message in the notification. Now, everything is back to normal.

Today, it will be a short day. I am tired, as I have shown by ranting a little in the opening paragraphs, and didn’t have so much time left after flying anyway. So, to get back some energy, I stop in a market and buy something to eat. There are some tourists but most of the people at the market are Korean. Traveling in December usually means to not find too many Americans or Europeans.

On my way to the hotel, I visit the Deoksugung palace. The place is built in a similar style than other Asian palaces. But, the colors are quite different than in other places, uniquely Korean. Also, there is a European style residence. tourists guide from the museum helps me to get in and gives me an audio-guide as the tour is only in Korean. At the Deoksugung doors, there is a performance with actors dressed in traditional clothes reenacting some historical event. I stop to watch it for a while and enjoy the performance. The palace is a great introduction to Korea, and I enjoy all the different exhibitions and performances.

"Deoksugung was originally the residence of Prince Wolsan, the older brother of King Seongjong. This residence became a royal ‘palace’ during the Imjin war after all of the other palaces were burned in 1592 during the Imjin wars. King Seonjo was the first Joseon king to reside at the palace. King Gwanghaegun was crowned in this palace in 1608, and renamed it Gyeongun-gung (경운궁, 慶運宮) in 1611. After the official palace was moved to the rebuilt Changdeokgung in 1618, it was used as an auxiliary palace for 270 years and was renamed Seogung(West Palace)."

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 9). Deoksugung. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

That is all for now. Tomorrow, I will take it easy and get some strength back. In two more days, I will be on the move again.