Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An Empty Chair

She sits beside an empty chair outside the Japanese consulate in Busan, South Korea.  A sad, lonely figure.

Until the statue was installed last year, Korean women took turns to sit on a chair for a day beside an empty chair.

It's a dignified scene. There's fresh flowers, and three engraved panels. One panel lists thousands of the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese before and during World War II as so-called comfort women. There's a mail box where people can leave messages.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

70 Hours on Airline Seats

Aviation Safety Lounge, Seoul ICN.
A thirty-something neighbor once announced he would love to visit Europe, but he would have to wait until he could afford to travel that distance in Business. He appeared to be in good health, so I can only assume he wasn't particularly interested in the wider world.

I would willingly travel that distance holding on to a subway-style strap if that was the only option.

But it's not the only option. When I knew my bum would be on airline seats for about 70 hours during my recent trip around the Northern Hemisphere, I made plans to maximize my comfort for the minimum price.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How I Got to Five Korean National Parks by Mass Transit

In April 2017 I visited five of South Korea's twenty-two national parks. In this post I document how I got to each park by rail and bus.

I had not planned to spend much time in South Korea, but thanks to the authorities in Shanghai, China, I found myself with an extra week in South Korea. This was an opportunity to explore some national parks.

I spent a good part of some evenings figuring out how to navigate the next day. Some people like crossword puzzles or sudoko, I like figuring out how to get around like a local who does not own a car. On all my solo visits to Asia I have relied 100% on public transport, my feet, and the occasional unsolicited car ride; I have never taken a cab.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Walking the Dales Way

Last week, two friends and I explored parts of the Dales Way over three days. The long distance footpath starts in Ilkley, Yorkshire, progresses through the Yorkshire Dales National Park, then finishes in Bowness-on-Windermere in England's Lake District.

We chose start and end points served by rail: Ilkley at the start and Ribblehead at the finish. We stayed in inns and a bed and breakfast (a private home). What we had was on our backs.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Fully Baked Truth

Today, in Montmartre, Paris, I stared at the Moulin Rouge, explored the elaborate cemetery, and walked past a boulangerie (bake shop) where a sign quoted a simple truth from Benjamin Franklin.