I was actually in Seoul for five days but hit a bit of a snag in terms of sightseeing upon arrival at the airport.
Those of you who know me well will know that I have not been physically sick since I was about 8 years old. Nope, not even from overindulgence in my favourite drinks.
So it came as quite a shock to find myself sitting on the floor of an airport bathroom cubicle in my pants, vomiting my guts up for the entire of Korea to hear, just minutes after arriving. There was a lot of swearing coming from that cubicle. And then sad little apologies to the general public afterwards. And some weeping to myself.
Hugo helped usher me into a more private disabled toilet. This was great as I could swear as loudly as I wanted. The downside was the automatic door. Once the electric door had been locked for too long, it would open slowly, showing me off in all my sweaty and trouser-less glory (don’t ask why my trousers were off, it was just too hot). And then a Korean cleaning lady would appear and shout at me, despite it being perfectly clear that holding on to this toilet bowl for dear life was the last place in the world I wanted to be. The stress of it caused more expulsions every time.
Six hours later, I was lifted onto a baggage trolley by Hugo, wheeled out to a waiting taxi and driven slowly into the town centre to our Airbnb, holding everything in just until we arrived.
Four days later, I came out into the sunlit streets of Hongdae.
I managed to walk about 100m squared around this coolest of Seoul districts, eating saltine crackers as we passed hundreds of hip restaurants. I managed to see my friend Julia, who was the only reason I had wanted to come to Seoul in the first place. We spent one Friday together sitting in a café drinking tea, eating more crackers and trying to catch up on life.
And then, before I’d even had a chance to learn how to say “thank you” properly, we were off again. Back to the airport where poor Hugo had spent so many hours waiting for me. On the road again, bound for Japan. I’ll have to come back and see Seoul another time.
PS, if ever you fly Mongolian Airlines, don’t choose chicken for lunch.