Thursday 27 October 2011

Coming and going

"Life is a journey, not a destination" 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the past two years I've been on 19 aeroplane journeys. I find that number a bit mind-boggling. 

When I travel I tend to either arrive at the transport hub (airport, railway/bus station) incredibly early, and have hours to kill, or with about 2 minutes to make the flight/train/bus. I've literally sprinted through pudong airport in Shanghai, Beijing railway station, and Busan bus station to mention only three. When I manage to get somewhere early enough, I usually get something to drink (and money permitting eat too), sit and read my book or just watch people coming and going. Train stations are actually some of the most interesting places to sit and watch the world go by. 

Travelling by plane is always exciting for me, it has the air of being a serious journey. I mean, you have to take a plane to get there! I like the feeling of taking off and thinking thoughout the trip that I'm actually gliding though the air. I like to remember how amazing that feat still is. When I'm on any transport, I always try and sit next to the window. Drifting away, staring out of the window listening to music on my ipod is one of my favouirte things to do. When I'm not reading on my journey to work I'm gazing out of the bus window, regardless of how many times I've taken that journey I still like watching everything whizzing by. 

On my flight from Seoul to Tokyo earlier this year, I wasn't able to get a window seat. I was amazed by the guy next to me, amateur photographer extraordinaire, snapping away frame after frame of photos out of the plane window... a beautiful sunset I could understand, or a view of the destination city, but he was just photographing clouds... I still think the amount of photos he took was excessive, but on my way back from Taipei, I was guilty of snapping a few pics from the window, and looking at them now they give me a feeling of peace and calm. Outside of that window (if you ignore the noise from the engines of the plane) the sky is empty and quiet. After my noisy 5th grade classes today I'd give anything to be up there, gliding silently though the clouds...

This is Hayley pretending to read the financial times enroute from Seoul to Taipei.

We were in the middle aisle, so no window seat for us :-(

Favourite ever quote: 'Should have been baking a pie, instead of cookin' up trouble!' - Shaggy

I'd have got away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

If you go to Taipei, pick up a map from this kiosk. It was excellent and helped us thoughout our stay.
Taipei airport is colourful

Outside Taipei Main Train station

Hayley takes charge of the map

You can send post from Taipei airport...
My aeroplane dinner - that is REAL DIET COKE!

Doesn't it fill you with calm? no? Just me then...

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Seoul Dream Forest

I recently travelled way up north in Seoul to Visit Dream Forest, one of many parks in Seoul. This one has an Art centre within its grounds and I'd heard about a temporary exhibition of Cecil Beaton's photographs there so I went to check it out. The exhibition has finished now but it was quite good. It was only small but I'd been itching to wander around a gallery for a while, missing the exhibition of Kate Middleton's wedding dress in Buck House and generally the Tate Modern gallery in London so it was a great way to spend the afternoon. I also stayed a couple of hours in the park, reading my book, watching the families relaxing and enjoying the last of Seoul's warm weather for a while. Koreans engage in all sorts of activites in the park so while I was wandering I snapped a few of the things I saw them doing.

You shouldn't take photos in Art Exhibitions, but I wanted to snap a few of the subjects of this one, I managed to get some before being told not to. The girl in charge didn't make me delete the ones I'd taken so here they are.

The observatory looked interesting so I made my way up the check it out.

Lift come cable car...

The view of Dream Park

Seoul Tower in the Distance, and my house is even further south past the Tower

All I want for Christmas...

Korean park activities (this is either before or after their professional looking picnic):




Traditional Hannok housing.
Dog walking
Kite stuck in a tree
Cool bench

Take Local bus no. 5 from Mia Samgeori station (Light blue line 4), it takes about 5 minutes. Sit on the right side of the bus and keep an eye out of the window for the Park, the stops aren't announced in English.
No one takes any notice of which side to stay on. Oh Korea.