Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's Daejeon! The return (Day 1)

As part of the summer vacation, I'm back in Daejeon again for a couple of days. I went here last summer (see below) and stayed for a bit, but I vacillated between enjoying it and feeling like I should be somewhere else. It's different this time because I've got a plan and more of a drive to see new places. Having spent more time researching the city and its interesting places certainly helped, too. There's another reason as well: Wanting get this right, ie to travel and not get paralyzed with indecision. Last year was a missed opportunity. 

It's been less than a full day, but the fun's already begun. The two hour ride out of Seoul on the Mugunghwa train went well. I like trains because they're much more predictable than buses and they don't stop and start as much. The ride cost 10,300won. It provided some time to catch up on my reading.

I arrived at Daejeon Station and set off for the hotel. I'm at the Daelim Tourist Hotel in the downtown area. It's a quality establishment which, to my surprise, has breakfast service! I must have missed that part of the hotel description.

Here are some pictures from Day 1:


Bibimbap with raw Korean beef and plenty of gochujang red pepper paste. A heart meal that quenched my hunger. The vegetables tasted fresh and the kimchi had a good kick to it, but the abundant  pepper paste made the meal a little too spicy for my taste. It wasn't a huge problem though. [Korean name: 한우육회 비빔밥, 9000won)

Along Jungang-ro (중앙로)

The downtown market. That structure next to Mr. Pizza is a video screen that plays looping patterns. It makes the streets as bright as day. The shopping/restaurant area's maybe 5x5 blocks. It feels like a playground for young people.

Photo taken for the name and for the tagline. Soup as the name of a clothing store? Feminism's an interesting tagline for selling clothes, no?

The store's a modest two story affair of Synnara Record's Daejeon branch. I'm a record junkie. Buying music online (either ordering CDs or buying the digital versions) is fine, but nothing matches the experience of browsing the shelves in an actual store. While I had noting in particular to look for, I picked up Crying Nut's Flaming Nuts CD because I'd heard good things about them and because its cover art rocks. If only it were an LP:

[Album] Crying Nut - FLAMING NUTS
Edit: The first track sounds like Dropkick Murphys. Woohoo! [I'd originally heard it as one of Flogging Molly's angrier songs, but the vocals are too deep for them]

Should've done more research dept: Synnara Record has at least three branches in Seoul. Have I been to them? Nope. Will I? Yes.

The above picture's dedicated to Andrew in WI, aka the biggest AC/DC fan I've met. Now you can write AC/DC in Korean, bud.

The Jung Gyo, or "Middle Bridge"

I liked the unique shape and design of the bridge and the park that runs along the Daejeon Stream. (대전천)

A waterfall along the stream. I wish I'd spent more time here because it looked like a good place to relax, but the humidity and heat made the air too stifling to dawdle about.

Biking and walking paths along the stream. Despite the thick summer air, plenty of people were out biking and walking. It's nice to see that.

I'd arrived too late to see any museums or parks, so I retired to the hotel and planned Day 2 after spending the evening exploring the area around the hotel. It's now a day later. The full post about Day 2 will be up shortly. I covered plenty of ground today, so it'll be packed with pictures and stories from this overlooked Korean city. I'll be heading out tomorrow (Thursday), so maybe it'll go up before I get back on the train, maybe not. We'll see. The hotel room's big flat screen TV's screaming out "Play a movie on me!" right now...

On a final note: Traveling alone works best when you stay busy.


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