Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1 Year Later

It seems a little hard to believe, but while I was hanging out in the Jakarta airport Sunday the one year anniversary of my moving to Korea slipped by. I do have some pictures and stories about Indonesia that I plan to post, but I figured some sort of 1-year post was in order.

Sadly, I don't feel I have any profound thoughts to offer the clamoring public. I occasionally get asked why I came to Korea and I've never really come up w/ a good answer. That isn't at all to imply I regret coming here, just that I never really had a set plan in which spending time in Korea was a necessary prerequisite. Things just kind of worked out and here I am.

When I first set foot in Korea, in transit from Japan to Russia, my very first impression was seeing a Dunking Donuts in the airport covered in hangul and thinking I was pretty much hitting the reset button on my foreign country experience and effectively destroying any progress I'd made towards figuring out what I'd been doing in Japan. Shortly thereafter, I had my first taste of Korean food and concluded it wasn't just resetting but handicapping myself as well.

In the year since, I feel I've done a fair job of exploring Korea. I still haven't been to Busan or the DMZ, but I've covered a lot of the random stuff scattered between.

I can't speak Korean as well as I'd like (foreign languages are hard), but I can have a rudimentary conversation with someone willing to deal w/ my limited vocab and warped intonations.

I don't have a huge circle of friends, but there are a few people here I'd go out of my way to see again (which is about as well as I've done at any other stop along the way).

Work is still weird, but there are the occasional rewards and I haven't lost the motivation to keep trying.

All in all, I can't complain (though sometimes I still do). And I have to admit that it was comforting to hear the meaningless chatter of Korean upon landing in Seoul. And dozing on the bus, I woke up and recognized the buildings as we drove past. And I was happy to home (or as home as anywhere outside of Nevada has ever been).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alive in Yogyakarta

I'm at an internet cafe in Yogyakarta. This city has an amazing rat's nest of small alley-ways crammed w/ hostels and hotels and internet cafes. I'm thoroughly fascinated by small alley-ways. They are all pretty nice and clean around here. Definitely a touristy-zone. Actually, all of Indonesia thus far (we're about 24 hours in) has been very friendly. Pretty decent English all around. People are typically friendly and the vendors aren't usually overly pushy.

I'll have more extensive write ups later, but for now I'm holing up in Yogyakarta until Monday when I fly to Denpasar. It's on to Komodo Wednesday, then back to Denpasar Saturday for a night and back to Seoul via Jakarta next Sunday.

I can't quite wrap my mind around the price of things here. According to the Lonely Planet (which I will stop consulting b/c of this) I'm getting ripped off left and right. Except that everything is still ridiculously cheap. I keep thinking in terms of Korean won (about a factor of 10 higher) so I think 7500 seems a bit steep for a drink, then I remember that's like a dollar. Slightly less. It doesn't really make sense.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indonesia or Bust

In less than 24 hours I will be in Indonesia. I have very little idea how this will go. I fly to Jakarta tomoro. On Tuesday, I need to be in Bali to meet a couple of friends so we can fly to Labuanbajo and head to Komodo Island on Wednesday. Saturday, back to Bali. Sunday I need to be in Jakarta to fly back to Korea.

I know next to nothing about Indonesia. I have not even packed yet. Only good things will come of this.

Doubtful that I will have posts for the next week, but come the end of the month, I might be back to my old school travel-blogging ways (+ dragons). So, stay tuned. Or I might get eaten.