Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mr. Kim on Tour

So I found my comatose self in the lobby of my hotel awaiting a tour guide to find me. My company had arranged for me to take this tour, so skipping out was not an option. The tour guide walked up to me with her head cocked looking at me quizzically. She asked me if I was waiting for the tour. I nodded slowly.

“Hmmm, I’m looking for a Mr. Kim.”

Again with the Mr. Kim! Damn them! I explained to her that I was Mr. Tran Kim.

“But you are not Korean….or a Mister!” I laughed and dragged myself into the minivan.

I found myself with some Japanese people and proceeded to listen to the tour in English…and Japanese. The weather had decidedly turned even colder than the normal 25 degrees. This was my only chance to see Seoul, so I be damned if I let no sleep and some raw meat nausea get me down.
I walked around the Imperial Palace and listened to the tour guide babble on about the different temples and houses. The different stairs for the guards, royals, and peons. I stared intently on the large amount of lipstick on her teeth. She was a nice lady and I did see a lot of things that day. I poked about the history museum and listened to the tour guide talk about the Emperor chasing out the evil Japanese conquerors from Korea. I looked over at the Japanese people and wondered if they were getting that same version. I found myself at a buddhist temple and some sort of urban waterfall. That afternoon I started to feel the death toll of no sleep, raw meat poisoning, and the respiratory infection I STILL had. So not only was I feeling sick, I was getting cranky as well. We passed by the South Gate and I was able to catch the guards standing around. I'm not quite sure what the South Gate represents or why there were guards standing there because my A.D.D. kicked in. I suppose I could look it up...but I'm not gonna.

I managed to go out to dinner with my friend Julia to the Seoul Tower later that evening. We made our way up in a cable car, ate a nice meal, and enjoyed a nice (very cold) view of the city. By the time I made it back to the hotel, I immediately passed out watching Korean MTV.

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