When Sayo said she knew just the cafe to take us to, I was unable to form any opinion whatsoever about what it might look like, so was up for anything.
Japan did not get off to an auspicious start.
Our first task, upon exiting the terminal, was to buy ourselves SIM cards. I had pre-ordered them in Seoul, meaning it was just a matter of finding the pick-up location, because I knew it would be the single most important thing to do, if we were going to find our way around. We had a friend in Osaka, so it seemed less urgent, and I guess there may have been some overconfidence at play as well.
We threw Andrew’s natural-wonder plan out the window for the morning of Day 2 at Jeju, heading instead for coffee and bowling at G-Dragon’s joint (see The Great Coffee Tour: Untitled 2017). Upon our return, however, we tried to make up for it with a walk down to the beach on one of the trails that leads from the back of the pension.
Mary and I met a contender for ‘best holiday interaction’ award, in the taxi driver who drove us to Busan’s Gimhae Airport for our flight to Jeju Island. We were predisposed to like him when he stopped dead in the middle of the street to pick us up, completely ignoring the traffic behind him, but it was his self-taught English that really sealed the deal.
(As David Attenborough) “80% of the world’s black, puffer jackets are found here, on the urban streets of Seoul”. Yep, I reckon it had to be 8 in every 10, and another 1 in 10 was in a stark white puffer. This guy was part of the outrageous 1 in 10. I was terribly drawn to each and every one of them, which I think says as much about me as it does about them. The sad part is, I kind of wanted a black, puffer jacket.
We couldn’t help ourselves.
We caught a train to Busan.
(And if you haven’t yet seen it, you really should give Train to Busan, the movie, a whirl. Like a cross between Snowpiercer and World War Z, it pulled a well-deserved 96% on Rotten Tomatoes…and its Korean zombies make the ones on The Walking Dead look clumsy and sad.)
On our last day in Seoul, we decided to do a tour of the DMZ. After reading the requisite number of reviews, I thought I had a pretty clear idea of what it would be like – a busload of tourists (is that the collective noun?), a guide with a mic, and rapid-fire sightseeing checkpoints, all rounded out with a ginseng sales pitch on the way home.