Briton gets first glimpse of Korea
‘I felt very welcome’
By John Redmond
Living in Seoul for a long time, every so often one meets a foreign tourist, usually a relative of a long term expat that gives a fresh perception of Korea and the Korean way of life.
John Roxburgh, an engineer from Ashford, Kent, in the United Kingdom, recently took time out to visit his brother, Peter, and get a first glimpse of life and culture in Korea.
Being a keen cyclist, this writer saw it as an opportunity to show Roxburgh the Han River bike track and gain a few insights into how tourists view it here.
Roxburgh noted that his first impression was that of cleanliness and helpful people.
“I couldn’t believe how clean Seoul is. I was also taken back by how polite people were. They keen to help, show me where the bus is,” he said.
“I felt very welcome,” Roxburgh added.
On being a tourist in Korea, visiting temples in Seoul, the expo in Yeosu and riding a bicycle in Seoul, he noted that while some things were well organized, getting around sometimes became a problem.
“The tourist destinations are very well signposted, and the expo at Yeosu was extremely well organized, however accommodation there was a problem. We slept eight to a room on the floor. I also got eaten alive by mosquitoes,” he lamented.
“On the plus side, transport here is excellent. The subway system in Seoul is one of the best I’ve been on. The buses were a bit of a problem as there is not enough English information,” he continued.
He was also touched by the sense of outdoor community.
“What does amaze me is all the people picnicking along this river,” he remarked.
When this writer informed him that it’s possible to have fried chicken and pizza delivered while picnicking here, Roxburgh was surprised.
“Back home there’s no way you would get a pizza delivered to anything but a residential address,” he stated.
This brought the conversation back to food and the Korean diet.
“I think the Korean people eat very healthy food and it’s also very cheap. I like that there’s a lot of communal eating. Food seems to be a very social event. I’ve tried two types of kimchi when we had barbequed pork. Loved the pork, not to big on the kimchi. ”
Roxburgh flew back to the United Kingdom where he rode in the 89-kilometer London to Brighton bike ride in just under four hours.