All posts tagged: Travel

1989. Universal freedom of travel

[Image description: A Korean female clerk at The Korean National Airlines (1946-1962; later dissolved and incorporated into Korean Air) is seen checking in passengers in 1957.] 1989: South Koreans are granted universal freedom of travel, without having to provide any reason to the government. Prior to this, every person leaving the country had to be assessed individually. Until 1980, no civilian passports were issued. When the first passports were issued in 1989, up until 1992, all applicants had to pay for an  “Anti-Communist Training” including learning about cases of South Koreans defecting to the North, as well “security information” for a full day, and be issued a certificate for completing the programme, before they could receive their passport. A video clip by the government states the following: 관계부처와 관광공사 그리고 여행사 자체에서의 교육은 물론 여행자 자신이 여행상식과 정보, 각국의 문화, 관습 등을 보다 철저히 배우는 노력이 있어야 하겠습니다. 관광은 서로 다른 문화 간의 대화이며 흥분과 환상의 세계를 제공하는 것입니다. 그러나 국제관광은 자칫 나라의 위신과 국민 전체의 명예를 손상 시킬 수도 있기 때문에 우리는 해외여행에 앞서 …

Seoulsearching Day 3: Not In Seoul

(Pictures by Emily Singh) Militarymen out on a holiday. South Korean men between the ages of 18 and 35 must undergo a compulsory military service of between 2 and 3 years. They’re paid dismal wages, with one report estimating they’re paid less than a thousand won (0.80 euros) per hour. One of the first things I do when in South Korea is visiting my grandmother, who lives in Chuncheon. It’s an hour’s train ride away from Eastern Seoul, or an hour and twenty minutes with the subway. I prefer the train since it’s a double decker, and that just seems cooler. The price difference is quite big though – about 3,000 KRW for the subway and 6,000 KRW for the train. Sometimes I take the bus and end up passing places like this that I forget exist in Seoul. Or this. Somewhere in Yongsan. My aunt, who is a florist, has recently started looking after abandoned kittens she found near her shop. My grandmother, who is hyper-modern, hyper-capitalist, hyper-Catholic and also superstitious, obviously hates the …

A Night in Shanghai

  A Samsonite full of stroopwafels and chocolate Amsterdam – Frisian Islands -Denmark – Southern Sweden – Baltics – Russia – Mongolia – Beijing – Xian – Shanghai. In other words: Avoiding Ukraine. Good morning Shanghai! People ask me what the difference is between Korean, Chinese and Japanese food. You gotta try them to know. Spices, I say. The Chinese use the biggest variety of spices of the three. My poor Chinese skills telling me this is “Cold tea”, containing “water, white sugar, and black tea” A bento from FamilyMart. Smart that there’s two layers of packaging: one box for the rice, one for the sides. Korean bento makers should do this too. Sweet sausage: Chinese cooking sure is adventurous. “Tomato water”. Revolutionary. And confusing. Seriously. Who does this? Goodbye Shanghai. See you soon!

2014-2015 in retrospective: 2. The Good

  The highlight of 2014-2015 was meeting my Alaskan friend Jamie and my (very) German (but really, Prussian) boyfriend. So now Alaska is in my future travel plans – who would have thought – an Alaskan in Lyon? I travelled with a friend from Korea to Nice, Amsterdam and Berlin for Halloween. I visited a Portugese penpal in Geneva and I had my first raclette. A Finnish penpal showed me around Berlin and we took a photo together at the Dom. A third penpal, an American PhD student at King’s College let me crash at her central London apartment and even paid for my breakfast the day I was leaving and my bank cards stopped working. Meeting Koreans was not what I’d originally planned, but a friend from high school was on exchange at Kiel, in the North of Germany. We went to Bonn and went crazy over Haribos. We also underestimated the height of the Cologne Cathedral and decided to climb up all the way to the top on a whim (“It doesn’t look so tall compared …

Week 1 in the Netherlands – Flying with Hello Kitty

A few days ago I traveled from Incheon to Taipei to Paris to Amsterdam to Wormeveer. It was a long trip involving 16 hours of flight time, 4 hours of train time, and about 6 hours of waiting in between. Anyway, the highlight of the journey was the Hello Kitty jet from Incheon to Taipei aboard Eva Air. I don’t have photos of them all, but the jet itself, the aprons of the flight attendants, the cutlery, the napkins, the playing cards, the pens, and everything was themed. I can imaging how popular they must be on their inter-Asian flights (my friend who is a huge fan was ecstatic and demanded I photograph everything I could!). Le Hello Kitty Jet! The signboards, registration screens and tickets were all themed as well (the man at the counter was slightly embarrassed when I asked ‘Am I taking the HK ket all the way to France?’) Yay! Kitty on screen! Kitty in Eva Air uniform! I didn’t take a picture, but the ‘sick bag’ was themed too Kitty …