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I thought some Haifers might be interested in my pictures from Seoul. My employer sent me there for a couple weeks.

The view from the plane flying in was a stark contrast to Houston or any other city I've been to. There are hundreds of high rise apartment buildings all around the city. Many of them in large blocks of identical buildings. It reminded me a bit of Soviet housing blocks.

We landed at Incheon airport. They've built a new highway from the airport to the city that is flanked by electric trains. The road is very modern and well maintained. The first thing you notice driving down this highway is the amazing amount of construction. There are dozens of 30+ story buildings going up all around. Multiple large suspension bridges are under construction in the area. The area around the airport highway seemed a little like suburbs but the suburbs here are full of high rise apartments.

If you want to live in a walkable city Seoul is the place. A friend that lives there showed me around the city. Areas with night clubs looked like the french quarter during Mardi Gras times 10. It would be a great city to live in if you're in your 20s. There's always something to do.

7-11s and Dunkin Donuts were everywhere. These people take their coffee seriously. There are huge coffee shops everywhere. I went to one at 10:00pm on a Sunday and it was packed with 20 to 30 year olds drinking coffee and having waffles.











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I was in Seoul last year. It wasn't my cup of tea. The transit system is great, but the place seems soulless to me. There seems to be very little authentic Korean culture left. Everyone seems to be trying to copy Japan or America, or more recently -- China.

You brought up walkability -- I disagree, not because of the quality of transit or because of the density, but because of the topography. Most of the place is super hilly.

My favorite area was Yoeido-dong. I won't call it a neighborhood because with the exception of the new Trump development and a couple of Xi buildings, it's almost all office towers. But at least it's flat.

Three of my favorite Asian buildings are in Seoul:

HP Korea House (reminds me of 1400 Smith)


Jongno Tower -- Lots of guide books will tell you that there's a public observatory at the top. This is not true. There is a restaurant, and you can't go up without reservations to dine.


Trenue -- I was there when this was almost done. I didn't get to see it finished.


There's a big Seoul section on HAIF's sister site, Asian Architecture Info. You can see the building list here: http://www.asianarchitecture.info/Architecture/8/246/KB2CKZ/Area.php

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I drove by Jongo tower several times. You really have tosee it at night to appreciate it. I didn’t get any photos of it at night but Idid video it with my iPad from a taxi.

The area I stayed in wasn't very hilly. We did drive through and visit a fewareas that were though. One of my co-workers that was out of shape had quite abit of trouble. It really made my entire stay difficult because I was alwayshaving to wait for them to catch up. Almost all the areas I visited wouldeasily be livable without a car though. I would have no problem living in thearea I stayed in with no car. Most of the people at the company I visited didnot own a car.

I would definitely classify it as a walkable city, the streets are always fullof people walking. I never felt the need for a car other than to get acrosstown for work. If I had stayed longer I would have used mass transit for that.

I found most of the Korean food to be awful. The company I visited is staffedmostly by people from the Middle East. They knew all the places to get goodfood like schawarmas, etc... I wound up eating that as often as I could.

It's not a city Iwould want to live in. Walkability is overrated in my opinion. I can easily walkto a lot of businesses where I live in Houston but I don’t.

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Does it still smell. I had friend that went there for the Olympics several years back, and she stated that it smelled like sewer where ever they went.

Yes, it does. But it's not the city, as in buildings and infrastructure, that smells. It's the people and their kitchens and restaurants. The local foods are incredibly smelly, and ritualistic oral hygiene hasn't caught on in a big way there yet. There's nothing worse than a morning rush subway stuffed full of mouth-breathing Koreans.

Outsiders sometimes call it "The Flavour."

That said, I tried as many of the local foods from the street markets as I could. Many of them deep-fried. Most unidentifiable, and on a stick.

Here's a picture of some of the street food. Left side is snails. Right side is silkworm larvae.


There's a saying in China about Hong Kongers eating "anything that turns its back to the sky." For people in Seoul, that's just the start. Yes, in Korea dogs are raised on farms for food like cows. But I never saw it served anywhere. But in China, where it's supposedly illegal, I have seen it. Go figure.

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