15 September 2008

I have arrived

Just arrived at my temporary quarters - a luxury apartment in Yongsan, next to the former US Army base, near downtown Seoul. It's 8AM on the 16th of September local time - 16 hours ahead of the Pacific Time that my blog timestamp continues to show.

Asiana Airlines pampered me well during the overnight flight, which used the very same Boeing 777 (HL7700) that had taken me to Beijing six years ago. Though I was disappointed to see that the complimentary newspapers included Chosun Ilbo, the reactionary mouthpiece with glowing praises of Sarah Palin, and Segye Ilbo, owned by the Unification Church.

Upon arrival, the bus ride into Seoul took me through the densely built-up island of Yeouido, passing by both the National Assembly building and the Full Gospel Church, the world's largest Christian church by congregation. Also notable were squatters protesting the poor treatment of temp workers by the current Lee Myung-bak government, as well as new middle-class apartments recently condemned by the City of Seoul and Samsung Construction, in order to allow Samsung to build luxury condos on the site (I found out via the residents' protest banners on the buildings).

I'll see how the next month-plus will unfold.