One thing really puzzled me on my flight back home last week. On every passenger aircraft, they have the same plaque above the sink: “As a courtesy to the next passenger, may we suggest that you use your paper towel to wipe the sink.”
I’ve been remiss in writing the final chapters of my travelogue since getting back last Thursday. I’ve been eating and sleeping a lot; it seems that I have a lot of energy to recover. The story continues...
I visited Gyeongbokdong and Insadong on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily, but we escaped into a tea house and tried a selection of obscure brews touting dubious health benefits. I had a particularly interesting and bitter tea that was actually rather delicious once you became accustomed to the bitterness.
I took plenty of photos in Korea, too; here is an edited selection:
My five days in Seoul were very enjoyable. In fact, I spent so much time enjoying myself that I didn’t have any time to write about it. So here it is, delayed and a bit at a time.
I haven’t written much since arriving in Seoul, but don’t worry—I’m still alive and doing well.
In order to get from Shanghai to Busan, I had to get up extremely early. The flight was at 9 am, and in order to spend the requisite two hours in abject boredom at the airport (sadistic bastards that the airlines are) I had to take a taxi at 7 am. To get to the airport at that time in the morning, my only option was a taxi, which meant that I had to leave the hotel at 6.
It’s the last evening of my China trip, and I’m sitting in my hotel room with a few cans of beer and a pack of boiled chicken’s feet with chili. I actually developed a taste for them in Birmingham of all places, and the only non-obscene expression that I can say in Cantonese is “fong zao yart long”—“one plate of chickens’ feet”. These ones are not bad at all for a vacuum-packed snack from the convenience store. Remember: chickens’ feet are a delicacy. Basically, that boils down to: a chicken gives you a whole body’s worth of meet, but only two small feet. Ergo, the feet are rarer and more valuable. Cynically, you might argue that, by the same token, that the chicken’s beak is even more of adelicacy. However, the feet actually are tasty, in spite of the fiddly tiny bones.
I achieved a minor ambition today: I ate dog. It is surprisingly tasty, actually. The flavour is full, but not overpowering. I don’t know why Fido doesn’t turn up on the dinner table back home. Well, I do... some people get upset by the idea of eating dog. I’m not one of them, as you can tell!
Along with about half of Beijing, I had an agreeable wander around Tiananmen Square and its environs this afternoon. It really is big and imposing—yeah, I know: it’s meant to be that way!
I am now in Beijing, taking a break in the hotel lobby before I can check in at midday for a much-needed shower and change of clothes.
I made it safely to Shanghai. The flight wasn’t as bad as the reputation would suggest, although the food was decidedly mediocre (mystery meat noodles).
It’s the last day of my very busy trip to Japan. So busy, in fact that I had a spreadsheet just to organise myself. I travelled Osaka–Tokyo–Osaka–Fukuoka–Osaka–Tokyo–northern Shiga–Osaka. I took the Shinkansen six times in total. I probably spent as much as 24 hours on various trains during these two weeks. I saw a lot of friends, and it was really very enjoyable.