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Thank Goodness for My L Visa

19 Jul

Photo booths are all the rage in Seoul. We couldn't resist!

The beauty of living in Beijing on an L visa (a type of visa to visit friends and family) is that I am forced to exit every 60 days.  It might sound like a frustration but the truth is…it creates an amazing guilt free excuse to travel and experience all that Asia has to offer.  Our most recent get away was a long weekend to Seoul, Korea.  What a fantastic and modern city!

Lucky for us a recently opened Banyan Tree Resort was running an extremely discounted introductory rate.  The room itself was enough to make for a great escape, and the Banyan Tree never disappoints with their cabana clad pools.  And while it was hard to pull away from the sunshine, the city of Seoul has so much more to offer.

First – let’s talk fashion.  (I will get to the more intellectual details later!)  I loved it.  It is fresh, inventive, over the top, and saturated with accessories – just my cup of tea!  The innovation is not limited to the clothes; the retail displays and marketing methods in Myeongong (a great shopping street) create fabulous eye candy as well.  In fact, we were so inspired (okay – maybe that “we” should be an “I”) that Sex and the City 2 seemed like the only fitting follow-up.  So…off to the movies we went.  It was cute to see that Korean girls dress to impress for SATC just like American girls.  It was also cute to see Brett dish about which outfits he liked best.

Second – let’s talk food.  Gorilla in the Kitchen, a restaurant owned by a Korean celebrity, was our favorite meal. We selected the seven-course tasting menu, which offered a variety of traditional Korean dishes with a modern twist.  Every bite was better than the one before.

Please don't ask me to pronounce the name of this!

Third – let’s talk our favorite local attraction.  The Cheonggyecheon Stream, recently uncovered in 2003 after being buried under a highway for 30 years, is part of a vast urban renewal project in Seoul.  We strolled the banks for hours listening to local musicians and watching various street performers.  The greatest entertainment; however, was the light show.

Every few hours, a giant fountain emerges on one end of the stream and a light show projector beams through the spray creating a 3D show of crazy colors and holograms.  The finale…a hot pink Rockette-esque kick line.  Remarkable!

In front of the waterfall on one end of the stream

Finally – let’s talk hostess bar.  What we thought to be a cute underground hotspot turned out to be a true gentlemen’s club.  I confirmed this fact when I visited the lady’s room.  The men’s room, which I passed on my way, appeared to be a luxurious lounge. Honestly, I got excited.  I have a secret love for cool bathrooms with attendants.  Well…to say that my experience was different is an understatement.  First – I had to climb 3 flights of stairs in a dark and dingy stairwell.  Then – I traveled down a never-ending hallway, and when I finally made my way to the toilets, after stumbling through the janitor’s closet, I found a group of young girls in shirts posing as dresses counting their earnings from the night.  Despite feeling a bit out-of-place (mainly because my dress actually covered my bum) we enjoyed our drinks and had a great time people watching!

Example of one of the photo booths. They were everywhere!

We had a blast in Seoul.  I highly recommend it, and I hope that we return in the near future!



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4 Responses to “Thank Goodness for My L Visa”

  1. leashieloo July 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Sounds like you had a good time, I LOVE Seoul.

  2. mona July 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    loved the photo booth strip!!! almost missed it. and loved the article

  3. Karen lee Thompson July 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    Great article, thanks.
    I’ll have to add Seoul to my ‘to do’ list which just keeps getting longer!

  4. Lee Ann Boone July 20, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    Morgan,
    I love, love, love to live vicariously through your eyes of the world!

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