25.02.2010 - 05.03.2010
A long flight, but we're here! 14 hours later we have finally set foot in Korea!
There were many things that we had to do to prepare for our trip before we were able to leave the country.
The first thing was to find out entry requirements of Korea, and what was needed in order to remain there for the time we wished. After research we found out that since we were Canadian citizens and would be in the country for less than 6 months we weren't required to have a visa to enter. All that is required of us for entry is a valid Canadian passport.
The second was to find out what type of currency we would have to convert our money into.
Korean Won is the name of their currency. We found out that 1 Canadian dollar was equal to 1,095.72 Korean Won.
We were also told that their transportation is very much the same as ours here in Canada, including bus, taxi, car, subway, city tour bus.
Accommodation in Korea includes Temple Stays, hotels, guest houses and youth hostels.
We were told that it would be a good idea to bring a language book with us and if we weren't able to get one here we could get one in Korea. They don't speak English a lot, so the book would definitely be beneficial to us.
Korean is a pretty easy language to learn other than the grammar and the difference of formal and informal speech. Informal speech is used between people who are very close to each other, like best friends, so formal is pretty much what we'll try to use here. Korean also uses both Hangul and romanization. Hangul is what the characters are called. Romanization is the pronunciation written in English, like 안녕하세요 is in Hangul and Annyeonghaseyo (or An-nyeong-ha-se-yo) is the romanization which is also how you pronounce the Hangul. It also is the word most often used because it means hi, hello, and how are you?
We are comfortably in our traditional house. It looks much like the traditional houses in Japan with sliding doors made of paper and wood. The whole house is pretty much made of wood. What is so unique is that we chose a really traditional house, so the kitchen is made with stone stoves. We have to chop the firewood and put it in the stone stoves. Pots are mostly huge and placed above the hole on the stone stove. It gives a very olden and natural feel to the place. Washrooms are more modern because we got greedy. With a flush toilet and small shower the washroom isn't really big, but it's really all we need. The inside is also more updated with heat, a computer, and a television with what we think maybe a DVD player.
Of course traditional houses aren't usually found in the modern city of Seoul so after arriving at the airport we had to take about a 40 min ride towards the outside of Seoul. The elder and his son that owns the traditional home used to live there until they moved to the city, but because the traditional home is still memorable to them they rented it to us to live in for the time we are here. They picked us up and drove us there. They also stayed to teach us how to use the traditional kitchen and departed at sunset.
Now it's really late and we still got active days planned ahead for us so here is a route map