Sue : You're seriously going?
Paul : Yes. Booked the tickets already.
Sue : I can hardly believe it.
Paul : Honestly neither can I.
Sue : Thought you'd never head to that corner of the world.
Paul : Why don't you pack your bags, come along and see what's there?
Sue : Umm.... no.
Even a brief yet highly detailed itinerary of the coming expedition failed to ignite her waning enthusiasm. Faced with such unstinting disdain, I still found it hard to blame Sue - since just five years ago if you'd told me I'd be thinking of going, I'd probably have laughed it off calling you an inane lackwit. Hell, just two years ago, I'd still be making fun of it.
Paul : So we're agreed? I'll go book some tickets.
Calvin : Waitaminute, did you say Seoul?!
No, I'm not gritting my teeth grimly preparing for a Médecins Sans Frontières mission to some God-forsaken war-torn country. Though the place I'm going is technically still at war with its cantankerous neighbour - since I hear a peace treaty has never been signed - which places my next destination within decidedly dangerous range of a nuclear trigger-happy megalomaniac to the north.
Thought only the profoundly delusional, highly fanatical Kdrama devotees would head that way after being irresistibly swept off by the mighty hallyu wave. After all when you think of South Korea, don't you have this dismally generic image of skyscrapers, shrines and super-skinny samsoons? Apart from enviously quick broadband, what do they actually have to rave about in Seoul?
Which is why it has never been in my Blue List of places to go. Ever.
But somewhere between a weekend rerun of Sungkyunkwan Scandal, replays of the infectious Girl's Generation Hoot and a steaming bowl of kimchi ramyun, I found myself with an irresistible urge to find that out for myself. Since I was looking for a short vacation break that's relatively undemanding, I figured Seoul would be the perfect ticket.
And yes, ever since someone mentioned that Seoul is the perfect shopping destination, my mother has been raring to go.
Mother : Someone did say Seoul is the place to go.
Paul : Good God. What will we do there?
Mother : Well they do have malls that open 24 hours.
Paul : Is April soon enough for you?
Yes, I can't resist malls. And retail therapy that lasts the whole 24 hours is practically like the freaking mother ship calling me home.
According to the gourmands who have visited and returned with glowing reviews, Seoul also has lotsa pork dishes. Reason enough for Charming Calvin to be convinced.
And yes, I'll find out whether it's true that they actually ship unflatteringly overweight outcasts to the hidden depths of North Korea for extreme crash course diets. Or have the unfortunates summarily executed depending on what you hear. After all Koreans can't all be ridiculously thin, genetically gifted, ethereally handsome fellows, can they?
Wonder if they'll allow me to bring one home as a souvenir.