Finding my Way to Gyeongju

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
Trip End Sep 02, 2010

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Flag of Korea Rep.  , North Gyeongsang,
Friday, August 13, 2010

I am blessed.  I have a computer with internet in my room here at the W Motel in Gyeongju, Korea.  I now am also able to type in the Roman alphabet - previously I could only get Korean letters.  I couldn't get into my email but I was able to access Travelpod.

It hasn't been a jam-packed day at all but I am allowing myself a little time to regroup after the 30 plus hours getting from Albany to Korea. 

Since my last night's hotel was near a beach in Incheon by the airport, I decided to see what the beach was like.  I could see a bit of sea from my hotel window.  At first I was disappointed that I did not have an ocean-view room but then I think I realized that this was as good as it got.  It was between 8 and 9 am and the streets and most of the shops and restaurants weren't open yet.  Once I got to the beach, there were kids playing in the water and vendors beginning to put up their umbrellas.  People had tents set up on the beach.  I couldn't really tell if they were camped out there or not.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a pristine beach but the kids were having fun.

Back at the hotel, I breakfasted on my remaining crackers and cheese and first semi-ripened tomato from my garden.  I arranged for the next shuttle back to the airport where I booked rooms for the last 2 days in Korea - one in downtown Seoul and one nearer the airport since it is an hour from Seoul.  I also got directions to Gyeongju which is in the eastern part of Korea and home of a World Heritage site.  I took a bus from the airport directly here but unfortunately the bus didn't leave until 1:40 which gave me a lot of time for reading at the airport.  It is sweltering here - maybe in the low 90's or high 80's but very, very humid.

I tried to stay awake to check out the scenery on the 5 hour drive.  I was amazed at the lushness of the vegetation and brilliant green of the rice fields.  There are lots of greenhouses-hoophouses along the way, cities with high-rise apartment blocks, and vines overgrowing the vegetation including some lovely evergreen trees.  We had one pit stop that had a miniature functional waterwheel decorating the ladies' room.

Once I got here to Gyeongju, I was rather laid low by the heat, humidity and language barrier.  I wanted to find the guidebook's recommendations but couldn't really follow the map.  My bags are too heavy to traipse around much.  After 2 tries I found this 6-story motel and even though it appeared to be in a not-great section, it really is not bad at all- especially with internet access.  I am afraid to try the netbook again.  I had a so-so dinner - soup, rice and kim chi but the kim chi was excellent.

Tomorrow I have to cover a lot of territory because there is lots to see here.

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