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Seoul, December 1997

Back when I lived in Tokyo, I usually wrote up travelogues of the various trips I took. This is one example. There are far more words than photos, but I decided to keep it in this section, along with all the other travel stuff.

Prologue

Why Seoul? More specifically, why Seoul in December?! The Korean peninsula is known to be frigid at this time of year, with arctic winds shrieking down from Siberia. But, it also happens that Seoul is the absolute cheapest ticket out of Japan. Kaori and I want to go somewhere, anywhere off the rock. We decide that because we did a beach holiday last March, as well as our budgetary considerations, we’ll bundle up and face the kimchee. So we make plane reservations (¥24,000—around $300.—round-trip), and start looking into hotels. My friend Felix, who has been to Seoul a number of times, suggests we try the Savoy. We also have a look on the Internet, and it is there that we stumble across “Jaychan’s Homestay.” A Korean family - father, mother, and son, living in a satellite town to Seoul, and offering rooms in their home for U.S. $30.00 per person per night, with breakfast and dinner included. Plus airport pickup and dropoff. You might think, “sounds dodgy - what if they’re weirdos?” But if you have a look at their webpage (http://interpia.net/~homestay/), you’ll agree that it is reassuring. And when I see, in their Guestbook pages, comments from someone that I know—or at least know of—I feel certain that we have found something worth trying. Still, Kaori wants us to hedge our bets at least a little bit, and provide for some variety, so we arrange to stay with the family for 4 nights, and at the Savoy for our last 2 nights in Seoul.

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