Jan and I spent 2 weeks in Korea spring, 2016. We attended a Rotary International Convention. The first week was in Busan, in southern Korea, an ocean front city. We enjoyed the Asian culture for sure. Some of the difference we noticed (and there were many!) include:
The ladies definitely enjoy displaying more femininity.
More air pollution.
Adventurous foods (for us anyhow!).
The Koreans are not in the habit of smiling and acknowledging. Even during an early morning power walk or in an elevator.
Everywhere we travel we look for differences. It’s easy to forget what makes home –
home. We love the wide open spaces of Canada, the blue skies, fresh air. The familiar, changing seasons. They wonder how we can tolerate the cold. How we put up with the distances.
More than anything the food was a fascinating experience. The markets were brimming with unrecognizable creatures and plants. Eels and octopus, fish of wildly different colors and appearances. Our first night was a stop over near Seoul. We stayed at a hotel by the airport. It was along water. We stopped at a beach restaurant. Not a word of English. We wanted a little meal. He pointed to the menu on the wall. We pointed to shrimp as it was the only food we recognized. What we received was a large heaping meal of assorted sea foods, including the first late that was wiggling and squirming. It was fresh raw octopus – we think! We didn’t want to be rude – but it was a long flight. We passed.
The Koreans avoid the sun. Pale is hip. Tans are definitely not. Gloves and umbrellas are common. Airline stewardesses were similar looking to each other, polite and pale (compared to North Americans). But a joy to speak with.
I quite like the Asian culture. It’s fun to be in a country so unlike ours. We absorbed a lot. We toured, we hiked. We ate a bit, we had very little wine. Everyone looks for something different when they travel. This was a new experience we are glad we had the opportunity to take.