Seoul - A City of Culture

Seoul - The magnificent city of Seoul ! And how I love it! I went there first in 2002 and since then I have visited it 11 times. And it has not stopped me enchanting me every time I go there! The world's best public transport can be found here. Seoul is a large city. Large could be an understatement ! It's one of the Mega Cities in the world. About 2 Crore = 20 million people live there. That’s about 2/3rd of the entire population of Canada ! And now this absolutely safe city of Seoul, is slowly opening up to the foreigners and accepting them with some curiosity towards them. Seoul has 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park, Lotte World, the world's largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and Times Square's CGV Starium, the world's largest cinema screen.


There were 9 Metro lines in 2007; Now there are 13 ! I think, about 45,000 busses run all the day transporting most of its 250,000,00 people and yet in most lines you find a seat to sit in Metro even in peak hours!


Electronics in Korea is a topic in itself. Korea is ahead of the world perhaps by 25 years in Electronics ! Just the day I left, SK Telecom announced 180 MBps speeds for mobiles and they already have 1GBps since some time. It's actually faster than accessing your own hard disk on your computer! What astonished me was the comfort of the senior generation of Koreans in using these technologies. I saw so many 80 years + old people using internet and some really complicated looking menus on home appliances. Koreans and I am told Japanese too, can handle some serious levels of complexities. Even their games are so complicated… almost as complicated as Cricket compared with football! Lots to see and feel around in Seoul ! This time in my schedule I had a full week kind of free. In all my previous 10 visits to Korea, I could not really get lot time to go around sightseeing. My schedules used to be really busy. I have performed 17 concerts in 15 days or 43 concerts in 30 days or so many times. But this time there was a gap due to some intense and again, complicated structure of a performance. This performance we were going to rehearse for a week and present 3 days. So for a week I had only rehearsals in the evening. I didn't need to get ready and carry my performance clothes, and I could get tired [ by sightseeing] as much as, as I wasn’t performing in the evenings! There are some famous markets in Seoul. Namdemun and Dongdemun markets. Both the markets are quite big and occupy perhaps 5-6 blocks and dozens of buildings. Dongdemun market is more for clothes and 1 billion designs of buttons and all such accessories! Whereas Namdemun market is more into selling touristy stuff. Various kinds of souvenirs and lots of bags, purses and some clothes and all that. The market has several buildings each specializing only one or two types of things. Several stories full of hundreds of small small shops is a sight to see. Although naturally one would find nearly 50 different shops selling exactly same collections at the same price. A common misconception about Korea is that you don’t / cant bargain generally. You can actually. Just ask for a calculator and key in the price you are ready to pay. No one will talk English, so this works ! Not much, but you can get some 10-20 % lesser price at times. But Some sellers won't reduce the price even by 1 won.

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