Friday, October 10, 2014

Lotte World observations

1. We arrived around 10:15am. There were no bag checks or security lines. The students got together and the teachers doled out tickets. I got one that said "guide pass." We passed through the turnstiles and wenot our separate ways. That is, I followed the teachers and the students went every which way. Our instructions were simple: Be ready to go at 3:40pm. I marveled at the amount of freedom given to middle schoolers.

2. Lotte World is indoors and outdoors, and while it bills itself as an amusement park, it also has plenty in common with shopping malls. I was surprised to see cosmetics stores and chain coffee shops here and there.

3. I think my past trips to Six Flags Great America have spoiled me. That park had more than five roller coasters; coasters that were much bigger, taller, and longer than the coaster I rode at Lotte World. Not that the Lotte World coaster didn't have its thrills--it was just too short.

4. Lotte World has a Folk Museum inside and a pretty good restaurant sits next door to it. I joined the teachers for lunch at that restaurant and enjoyed the bossam (steamed pork) and bibimbap. Both dishes are excellent by themselves, but the combination of the two made it one of the best meals I've had here.

5. Students and young people everywhere. One coteacher explained that October's usually a time for school trips, which explained why the place was packed on an ordinary Wednesday.

6. The Folk Museum: I got tired of the noise and rush of events in the afternoon, so I went there and spent an hour enjoying the exhibits from Korea's past three kingdoms of Gogureo, Baekje, and Silla. I honestly hadn't expected much from a museum that was attached to an amusement park, but I was wrong. The museum's worth visiting for anyone interested in Korean history, especially in seeing scenes from its past monarchies or its many temples and palaces.

*Lotte World is located next to Jamsil station on Line 2 of Seoul's subway system. It is less than 20 minutes from the Dongseoul Bus Terminal.

**Seokchon Lake is nearby as well.

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