In October 2013, we embarked on our first transpacific flight to Asia from California. Our first stop was Seoul, South Korea to visit Erin's sister Aubrey. Once together, we traveled to Kyoto and Tokyo. We departed from SFO at 11 am and arrived in Seoul 12 hours later. We dropped our bags off at the Designers' hotel, which featured Banksy-like graffiti in each room. Although our body clocks were 12 hours off, we couldn't wait to explore Seoul's contrasting Eastern culture.
We met up with Aubrey and checked out her apartment. She led us to Gwangjgang market for street food. The challenge of deciphering the various food items at the market was our first wave of culture shock. Next, we hiked up a giant hill to Namsam tower and its surrounding park. Acrobatic actors performed a traditional Korean show. Later we strolled around Bukenon village and Insadong.
Then we joined Michelle and rode the subway to Hongdae for lunch and shopping.
Early next morning we circled Bonguensa Temple and were inspired by the colorful temple decorations and artwork. We bowed before the giant Buddha and remarked at the contrast between ancient temples and modern skyscrapers.