Asian Observations

This post is long overdue because I could not produce a daily entry for each day that we were in Asia. So the following isn’t a pictorial diary, but is a list of my subjective and bias observations about Seoul and Hong Kong. If you take offense, please leave.

Asian airlines seem to produce better service than any American based airline. This may have to do more with the diverse cultures of respect compared to independence and rebellion, which may lie in their flight attendants. We flew Korean Air, Asiana Air, and Cathay Air, and all of the flight attendants were female and Asian. No male and none of any other ethnicity. When we flew back with Delta, the diversity came back into play with different races, genders, and age groups most likely because of America’s equality labor laws. The standard of service was inferior perhaps because of older flight attendants feeling privileged and demanding a type of respect from their customers, or perhaps simply because of America’s rude culture.

In Seoul, when the clock hits 11:30am everyone stops working and goes out to lunch.

When exiting a taxi in South Korea, you’re only allowed to exit on the right side. If you try to exit from the left side, the driver will yell at you and get very upset.

The subway in Seoul is very nice. Clean, comfortable, cellular reception, air-conditioned, individual hand-rings…great. We saw many people talking or watching tv on their cell. The negatives are that each subway platform is extremely far from their above ground entrance/exits. One has to walk another two to four blocks underground before getting to the platform. And what was even more tiring was that each platform was at least three to four levels down. Once entering a subway, the first level is mainly for turnstiles and underground shops. The second level is for transferring from one line to another, and transferring at any stop took forever. Lines are not above or below one another, but more like two or three blocks away from one another. And then one has to take a plethora of stairs and escalators to get further down into the earth to reach a desired subway line. Again, the Seoul subway is very nice…but its a vast network of underground walking passageways and stairs.

Some Korean restaurants keep their utensils in a drawer to the side of each table, so instead of asking for chopsticks the waiter or waitress will simply pull out a drawer for you to take at your convenience.

Seoul has a ton of beauty shops, especially ones with girls standing out in front mumbling into a microphone trying to lure women in with free samples.

Both Seoul and Hong Kong have the smelliest sewers. Seriously, the stench would just hit you in the nose and your head would get knocked back. It’s as if each city keeps fart factories down there.

I feel terrible for children raised in Korea…they have no toys! We went to the National Museum of South Korea on a Saturday and there were many families with children there. As I walked through the museum, not one child had a toy or stuffed animal. None! There were no babies holding onto Elmo, or any children with a doll or action figure…nothing! And out of the seven days we spent in Seoul, the above photo is the only legit toy store that we ran across, and this particular store had a 2,000 won entrance fee! I didn’t even bother. But Seoul has no toysrus or any toy store chain. Now, this is probably better for the kids, and they most likely were hiding all their toys from me anyway, but man…no good!

If you want to take over Asia, do it through 7-Eleven. They’re everywhere in South Korea and Hong Kong, and probably everywhere else in Asia.

Most Korean restaurants don’t leave napkins on the table, but have tissue boxes and all of the same texture too. Perhaps they’re government regulated or something. In Hong Kong, there are no napkins given at all in restaurants because of the past SARS epidemic so you have to carry tissues and napkins on your person at all times.

Food is good everywhere one goes…if one knows where to go. Many people told us of the great things that our stomachs were going to encounter, and some restaurants did blow us away, but most were simply mediocre or rather had American equivalent counterparts that my taste buds had the luxury of already dining into. This isn’t really a knock on restaurants in South Korea and Hong Kong, but more of compliment to how Asian immigrants have blessed the States with authentic Asian cuisine.

All cities have pickpockets, not just Hong Kong, Seoul, or Italy, every city. It’s a fact of life.

If you go to Asia in the summer, you’ll need a fan. Everyone has a fan. Should have brought a portable electronic fan, but these hand fans that were given to us at the Coex Mall in Seoul were quite reliable. And no, by-black.com is not a porn site.

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