Friday, October 23, 2009

South Korea - Day 2

On Sunday morning, we started the day by getting a cup of coffee at ‘Angel-in-us’ a coffee house chain right by our hotel. The coffee was pretty good and the café was very cute.

At 10am, we met up with Susie again, and walked to the royal palace from the Joseon dynasty. It was very beautiful, with mountains on one side and the city sky-scrapers on the other. The complex is very big, with lots of different buildings and rooms. I think I took about a million pictures.
After seeing the castle, we headed to Dakdo Bluefin Tuna for a sushi lunch. The first dish that came out was very cold sashimi laid over rocks to keep it cold. It was a different style than I’d ever had before. We also had a dish to hold two dipping spices – one with sesame oil and salt and the other for soy sauce and wasabi. We were served a rice-porridge type dish and something like miso soup. They also brought out some tuna sushi more similar to the style I’m used to, which tasted very good. In our never-ending lunch, they then brought out a bowl of spicy rice, vegetable, and seafood along with a spicy seafood soup. There were sharing places of another type of cooked fish and a kind of sashimi salad. And there was kimchi. We weren’t able to finish everything, but it was a great meal. (And at the end, we found out it was less than $10 per person!)

After lunch, we walked back to the hotel, to get our bags, and decided to head to Daejeon so we would have time to settle in a get the lay of the land before the conference started on Monday. We had a bit of trouble finding our hotel, but did manage eventually. Technically it was a motel, not a hotel - with 3000 conference participants coming to Daejeon they basically booked conference participants in every available room. Ours was... interesting. One entire wall was covered in blue glitter and there were no closets. On the other hand, we had a nice flat screen TV, computer, fast internet, and surround sound.

Daejeon is known as a science and technology capital and has a famous hotspring spa, but otherwise it’s not a big tourist city. It was a bit difficult to find a café, so we ended up getting coffee (which wasn’t very good) at one of the hotels, only to find that it was almost $7 a cup!

From the hotel, we caught a shuttle bus to the Daejeon Convention Center where the conference was being held. They were having a young professionals reception, so Jeff and I thought we’d check it out. We ran into a few space policy people we knew from DC, which was nice. The reception had Korean drinks and food, which let us try some things and saved us from needing to find dinner. By the time the event ended at 8pm, Jeff and I were exhausted again, and were asleep shortly after getting home at 9pm.

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