The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Month July 2013

Korea trip day 6 & 7, back to Seoul

The last day in Busan, we had one final thing we wanted to do before heading back.  For few days now we had  passed the Busan Aquarium several times, so we decided to check it out. I’ve been to a few aquariums before, and this one was pretty good, but not as exciting as I thought it would be. The only really fun thing in there was an enclosure of otters frolicking about, both in and out of water.  With nothing more of real interest to see or do (if you are not really there for the beach life, there … Read the rest

Korea trip, an evening at Siloam sauna

I have entered the fomentation room (I don’t even know what that means) which is a large hall with a low ceiling, where people dressed in loose-fitting shorts and t-shirt, the men in all white and the women in red and orange, are lying or sitting on thin bamboo mats spaced out on the floor. This is supposed to be some kind of spa, but as far as spa experiences go, sitting on a bamboo mat is fairly underwhelming. Then I discover it, there is a series of doors along one wall, with signs on them saying things like “Jade … Read the rest

Korea trip day 5, Temple and markets

Having spent most of Wednesday at the beach, we decided to do something a bit different on Thursday. Looking over the possible tourist spots we had two options, one was an old fortress up in the mountains, the other a temple by the sea. As the day was hot, we opted for the sea hoping for a cool breeze.
I think the temple was a bit odd, though located in a beautiful place atop jagged cliffs sloping down towards turquoise water. Except for the scenery it was not much to see or do there, and to be Frank, the small … Read the rest

Korea Trip day 4, Beach life

We arrived in Korea’s second city, and all around beach paradise, Busan yesterday evening. By the time we had checked in to our luxurious hotel room (we suspect it is a love hotel, but who cares) and rested up a bit, we only had time for a short stroll around the neighborhood before going to bed.

Today we set out to see more of what we only glimpsed last night. We strolled down the high street until we reached the local beach, but the sky being somewhat cloudy and the waves high, we decided to just go for a walk … Read the rest

Korea trip day 3, DMZ tour

I try to not take a tour if it is possible to avoid it, but for visiting the border with north korea, independent tourism was not possible.

I arrived at the tour registration desk at seven in the morning. Way too early for my taste, but that is the way of  the tour. Speaking nearly constantly during the hour-long drive north, our guide made it abundantly clear that we could only take photos when told it was OK. We arrived at a checkpoint on the unification bridge, just shy of the border with north Korea, and showed our passports to … Read the rest

Korea trip day 1 & 2, the first days in Seoul

Me and Yini have gone on a short trip to Korea. We landed in Seoul on Saturday night, found our hotel, then went out to explore. The city was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday night but we did find a vendor in Namdaemun market where we had a bite to eat. Other than that, almost everything was closed.

Having a beer in the market

On Sunday we woke up late then went out to explore. I have seen many of the major sights before, so we decided to go for some less well known ones. We started with Bukchon village, an area where … Read the rest

Disaster tourism

Now, I do not condone people pulling up their smartphones and filming the scene of an accident rather than helping the victim (this is a real problem, look it up). However, I do understand people engaging in disaster tourism, such as the people going to see the wreck of the Costa Concordia; destruction is exciting, like an action movie, the problem is that real disasters often entail real loss of life. When there are no people involved however (Mythbusters blowing something up, an abandoned house deteriorating and so on), I enjoy a bit of destruction as much as the net … Read the rest

Hukou 6:38 pm

I’m on a motorcycle, not a scooter this time but a proper one, with manual gearbox and all. I’m sitting upright on the loaf of bread saddle, bright green gas tank up front, gripped between my thighs for stability. I come to a part of the road where the vegetation on the side gives way and you get a view out over the fields. As I do, the orange glow of the setting sun lights up my face and I can see the world in front of me in splendid colors. At that moment, and for one moment only, I … Read the rest

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