20 October 2008

Two things

It's 5:30 PM in Seoul, on Monday, October 20th. I didn't go out at all today - I am thinking of my temporary return to Los Angeles.

DiAnne Grieser reports on her blog, Silenced Majority Portal, that Obama is enjoying a huge lead worldwide, as the world is paying lots of attention to the US presidential race, and the results will have huge ramifications for the entire world. It is interesting to note the Polish tendency to give glowing reviews of the Republicans, and to be less enthusiastic about Obama, than the rest of the world, due to all the special perks the Poles have enjoyed for supporting and following the Republican agenda. Here in South Korea, the vast majority of people also support Obama, but the ones that matter - the government and the Moonies, who have enough power to really mess up US elections - support McCain.

In the meantime, one part of me is already thinking ahead - to life back in Seoul, AFTER my temporary return to Los Angeles is over. I'm currently weighing options for my road trip. I am currently leaning toward getting a weekly rental of a midsize car, which should cost me a tad over half a million won, but the depreciation of the won will still mean that I will be able to keep the rental cost reasonable when converted into US dollars. I will most likely rent from Kumho, a franchisee of Hertz, which also offers 10% discount for United frequent fliers as well as miles (I must book through a special United-Hertz portal, however). And having a car for a week will enable me to visit not only major sights in and aroung Gyeongju and on the way there, but also extend my trip to elsewhere in the country, visit my grandparents' graves, and/or even report to my meditation in the car. It's a good thing South Korea is compact enough to allow me to drive just about anywhere in half a day at most (assuming light traffic, that is). I also considered buying a GPS navigation system, but due to the difficulty of installing one in a rental car, decided against it; it also doesn't help that I cannot get North American maps for the South Korean GPS units, and therefore won't be able to take them to the US. I will use Internet-based mapping services, such as congnamul.com, to get reasonable routings, then buy a good paper atlas and mark it up. I hope it will be a bit less hectic than my UK road trip of 1998.

Tomorrow, I may visit the posh Rodeo Drive district in Apgujeong-dong, south of the river. Even if I don't get there, I will surely head over to COEX Mall to catch a movie - How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, starring the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Gillian Anderson - as well as buy a Mariah Carey CD to be released tomorrow. That should be my final plan in Seoul before preparing to temporarily return home.