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Saturday, November 15, 2014

FALL CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE: Day #13--Seoul is COOL!

The temperature as I post this from Seoul is about freezing, so Korea can be cold.  In fact, it snowed yesterday.   A couple of years ago the weather went below zero degrees Fahrenheit (remember, freezing is 32 F), and the public was told to keep their room temperature no higher than 64 F because too many were using space heaters.  The electric utility was at maximum capacity.



Well, anyway, cool is not cold.  COOL means fun, awesome...cutting edge greatness.  Seoul is all of that and more.  Honolulu is not, nor London, and certainly not Los Angeles nor Moscow.  CNN has 50 reasons why Seoul is the #1 city in the world.  Here are a few of them:
  • Most wired city (95% of households with broadband)
  • Incheon is the best airport on Planet Earth
  • Very few sleep much (which is not good)
  • Movie theaters have seats for couples
  • Beautiful women, and Aseana Air has quite a few
  • Beautiful men, at least the top movie stars
  • MacDonald's delivers
  • They really have smart homes
  • Online gaming is popular on cable channels
  • Most art openings/square mile, with 18 galleries just in a building called Nature Poem
  • Superb service and no tipping
  • Soju can be cheaper than water
  • Kimchee, it is suspected, keeps Korea safe from SARS and Ebola
  • The underground malls are fabulous and go on forever
  • There are golf venues indoors, virtual but real
  • Galbi, also spelled kalbi (I'm going the best Korean barbecue restaurant for lunch today, located in Cube City)
Entertainment, for example, Psy's Gangnam Style now has more than two billion hits on You Tube.  Never heard of it?  Well you must then click on it.  #2 is Justin Bieber's Baby at just over one billion.

I began the day shopping for my Fantom shirts in Gangnam.  Go to the fourth floor of one of the New Core outlets, a short walk from Banpo Station on Line #7.  Gangnam City Station is two stops away.   Unfortunately, it is getting close to winter now and the emphasis was on cold weather wear.

Then I had lunch at the Ninth Gate Grille, a french steakhouse.  It was eerie, for the women were in their Saturday best and the men all in dark suit and tie:


I was wearing jogging clothes and athletic shoes.  My meal, with a view of "Rite to Heaven":


I can insert a lot of shots because what took 5 minutes to download a 25 megapixels photo on the Crystal Symphony takes 5 seconds here.

I then checked out of the staid Westin Chosun to transfer to my second Seoul hotel.  I need to preserve my platinum status, so on this trip will be residing at eleven Starwood properties.  However, it took more than two hours to travel a not too far distance.  Did I say that the traffic jams in Seoul are legendary?  But the various roadside scenes were interesting, and here is a contrast typical for the city:


This experience cost less than $20, ending at the 3-year old Sheraton D-Cube City, the centerpiece of a whole new metropolis in Seoul:


D-Cube City is a six acre mega-complex of department stores, offices, ecology park, art center, theater, theme park, private residences and restaurants.  Kind of reminds me of Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, for the architectectural firm was the same.  It's all steel and glass with huge atriums featuring flowing water.  Best of all, maybe, the Sindorim Station is in the basement, so this site is convenient to everywhere.

Why ecology park?  Well, an endangered species of frog (left, boreal digging frog) was found there, so they built around that habitat.  

The Sheraton begins on the 28th floor, and extends up to the 41st, sort of like the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, certainly in the top three of my favorite hotels.  Here is the view from my room:


Their Executive Club is exceptional, and had so much food that I decided to dine here for the night:


Yes, Seoul is COOL.

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