Stuck in Seoul (kinda)


Well, I had a great time in Seoul Sunday. Visited a military friend I've made who lives there. He's been stationed here for over 2 years, so he showed me some of the good areas to do some shopping, where the good restaurants are, etc. (Can't wait for my paycheck!)


When I'd checked the train schedule online, I made one major mistake. I noticed that there was a train in Daejeon at about midnight... but didn't notice that it was the last one leaving Seoul-- at 11:00! So when I got to the KTX station at 11:03 to catch the train back to Daejeon all the ticket lady could say to me was "no train tonight! no train tonight!" The last one left Seoul 3 minutes earlier.

Fortunately, this is Korea...

So, I just hop on the subway back to Itaewon, do a bit more exploring/window shopping,and finally about 1:30 or so look up a jimjilbang to crash for the night. Didn't get that much sleep, because at about 3am all the Koreans that had been out partying starting wandering in.. so for the next 2 hours or so, there was the shuffling of people all finding their resting place for the night. Here, all the subways close at midnight and don't start again until about 6am, so if you're out late it's usually just as cheap to find the nearest jimjilbang to sleep than to pay for a taxi home. There are jimjilbangs everywhere-- I don't think you can go anywhere in Seoul and be more than a 10 minute walk from one.

And for the 10,000 KW it cost me (a little less than $9) I was able to get up in the morning, take a hot shower and spend an hour or so in the hottubs and steam rooms just relaxing before getting ready to head back to Daejeon. Part of the Korean culture is a focus on "good health"... which translates to a lot of "holistic" health practices-- saunas, aromatherapy, massage, etc. This particular jimjilbang had 3 jacuzzis and a pool in the men's section, as well as both wet and dry saunas (there's a separate section for women). Each of the 3 jacuzzis was set up with a different "therapeutic" purpose. The waters for this jimjilbang come from an underground mineral spring about 1000 ft. deep. One jacuzzi is just the natural mineral water (which contains sulfur among other things). The next one had oils from pineneedles mixed with the water. And the third one had ginseng. Then the pool (not a big swimming pool-- about 3 feet deep, 6 foot wide and 12 foot long) has COLD water. After being in one of the other jacuzzis or in one of the steam rooms/sauna, you're supposed to take a cold dip. Talk about a shock to the system!! I think I understand now why all the Koreans go to jimjilbang after a night out drinking. First steam out the alcohol, then talk about sobering up quick!!

So.. after relaxing for a bit, I headed out, hopped back on the subway to Seoul Station, took the KTX back to Daejeon, and after napping for a little bit got up and ready for work.

I did get some pics on the KTX... so here's some view of Korea going by at about 200 mph:





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Rick is an English teacher currently living and working in Seoul, South Korea. If you have any questions about life in Korea, feel free to email:

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