Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 23-24

After traveling to over 3 different  countries and visiting numerous palaces, temples and tech companies, Jan term was nearing its end. We spent our last full day in Asia in Seoul, South Korea where the temperature put Spokane to shame with a bone chilling -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless of wearing multiple layers of pants, socks and jackets, we still froze.

Our day consisted of a tour around the city of Seoul. Our first stop was to go see traditional Korean housing costing on average a whopping $1,000,000 US dollars. We were able to tour one of the old style homes in the middle of the street and noticed the beautiful architectural detail and the unique set up with multiple living spaces for members of the extended family. The center of the house resembles a garden usually and is one of the many cultural differences between houses here and in Asia.

Next we bused to the Emperor's Palace and appeared really similar to China's Forbidden City almost a combination of the Forbidden City with touches of the Summer Palace in China. Yet again the Palace was huge and really spread out and extended far back with multiple courtyard areas similar to the ones in China that contained a house in the center all used for differing purposes. We learned that the Emperor and the Queen weren't allowed to live together due to Confucius teachings and lived in separate houses. Interestingly, the Emperor was allowed to go inside the Queen's house however the Queen was never allowed inside his.

Next we walked further back and were able to get a glimpse of Korea's Blue House which is comparable to the US White House and is home to the Korean President. The house was heavily guarded with no tourist access but we were able to get a few pictures and got to enter the visitor center where we got to see gifts on display from multiple past presidents of different countries around the world. We really enjoyed taking pictures with the props they had set up and got a nice group photo of us all mid air!

After this we walked to the opposite side of the palace where the Korean folk museum was exhibited. After touring that for about 30 minutes we headed to the Korean market where we all split up to have lunch. When lunch was over we explored the market further where the vendors had a bunch of homemade goods and souvenirs. Next on the itinerary was visiting a Buddhist temple where we were able to witness a prayer ceremony. After this we had free time downtown to explore another market and the surrounding stores (which were nice a heated). We ended the day with free time and the opportunity to go to an authentic korean BBQ place for dinner while a few of us stayed back at the hotel and ordered some good ol' pizza.

For our very last day in Seoul, we had another 9 am start and ventured into the 0 degree weather (real feel -16 degrees) and visited the Seoul Tour! From there we headed towards the DMZ but our original tour was unfortunately closed due to tensions with North Korea. We still jumped at the opportunity to go to the South Korean side of the DMZ and could see across the ice to the North Korean side. Our last day ended with a delicious lunch and a bus ride to the airport where we awaited our long, 10 hour flight back to the states.

Overall we had an incredible time here in Asia although many of us are exhausted and ready to be home and are looking forward to hopefully coming back to visit one day!
And that's a wrap folks!!!
-Sydney and Katalina

January 22-24th

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 22

We were ready to go this morning at 9am, and had a full day planned.  We started off by going to the Korean National Museum, where we had a guided tour.  There were over 15,000 pieces in the museum, so she showed us the highlights, seen below.  
After this, we visited the Korean War Museum, where we also had a guided tour.  It was very interesting to hear the history of the war from the Korean perspective, as we have only been exposed to it from an American perspective.  There was a neat memorial for all of the soldiers who died in battle during the war.  Many planes, tanks, and artillery were there for us to see.  
After this, we went to Samsung, where we got to explore their D’light exhibit.  This focused on how we interact with technology and how it will shape our everyday lives in our future. 
We then met up with Dr. Lee, a Marketing professor at Whitworth, who brought a few Korean students for us to meet.  It was a great experience meeting these students, and learning about Korea directly from them. 

January 21

We woke up bright and early, and left our hostel at 7:00am.   We ended up at the airport very early, and couldn’t check in to our flight yet at the time we arrived.  Our flight was smooth, and we arrived at the Incheon-Seoul airport in Korea 6 hours later.  We successfully cleared customs, and many of us got a Korean dinner in the airport.  We had about an hour long bus ride until we finally arrived at our hotel (which has a hot tub and sauna!!!).  By the time we got to our hotel, it was almost 10pm, and we were ready for bed.    

January 20

Today was our second day in Singapore, and it was also a free day!  Many of us decided to take advantage of the weather and head to Sentosa, an island just south of Singapore that is still part of Singapore.  We had a great time, enjoying the 90 degree weather on the beach. 
Many of us also decided to check out Chinatown and Little India to buy some souvenirs.  That night, back at the Marina Bay Sands there was a cool light show that we decided to check out, and it even though it was raining, it was well worth it. 

To cap off our day, we visited a light-up tree garden at the Gardens by the Bay.  We had no knowledge of a light show for the trees, but timed it perfectly and were treated to another exciting light show.  A great way to cap off our short stay in Singapore, as we head to Seoul tomorrow morning. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 19th

 January 19th was our first day in Singapore. As such, our day was stacked with many interesting activities. For the first few activities we were all grouped together. When we got to the garden, everyone split up. As such, all the pictures from the garden (so far) on this are from Sam's trip through the garden. I got plenty of high decent quality pictures this time around, so picking just a few to show was very difficult.

The first place that we went to was Fusionworld. Fusion world is an experimental science based organization that works with both Singapore governmental associations and NGOs. This picture is our entire group in the fan room, where the fans sense movement.

Both of us standing in front of the fans.

This is the logo of fusionworld.

Before we went to Astar, where fusionworld is located, we ate breakfast in our hotel. The selection was not very large, but we ate what there was. This is the picture of the room.

An interesting piece of architecture: a ship with a pool on top of a 5star hotel complex.

The ceiling of a building that we went through, one with a 5star restaurant.

While some of us took pictures of the bay (people in back), a few of us decided to sit in the nice chairs wearing suave sunglasses and having Sam take their pictures.

Both of us in front of the merlion statue and the strange hotel.

Sam taking a picture of Sam taking a picture of Sam taking a picture of Sam...

We went to a garden in downtown Singapore after going around the bay. The next few pictures are all from the garden. This one is of some strange plant I saw.
Sam in the flower meadow garden.

A picture from the bottom of the cloud garden looking up.
A picture at the top of the garden of some stone sculpture up there.


Picture of the garden from the bottom.

Picture of some trees near the bottom of the garden.

Picture of me on one of the bridges surrounding the garden.

In front of the waterfall.

Working our way down the cloud garden. This one was taken at the second level.

The photo spot.

This final picture is of the towering metal trees exhibit in the garden. While we did not go up them, I got a picture of them and the walkway between them

January 18

Travel day!
January 18th was a travel day for all of us. It was our first plane flight since we came to China. We flew on Jetstar airlines and had a (hopefully) decent flight. Due to this reason, I didn't get too many good pictures from January 18th. I hope, however, that these pictures are good enough to shows what we all did in our travels.

I took a picture of our hotel before we left. The pictures in the lobby are actually pretty cool.
This is a picture of me holding my suitcase in our room back in Hong Kong. I was very happy that repacking didn't take too long. It meant that I did not have to get up as early.

We arrived in the airport and had about an hour after going through security and getting to our gate before our flight. Some of us got food and decided to eat it in the sitting area.

Picture of Kent Jones on one of the chairs in the airport waiting area.

Another picture with Kent in it.

Picture from our plane ride of the water below.

Slightly later picture of our flight when we were going in for a landing at the airport.

                                                          This slightly off-center picture is a slightly tired me at the airport in Singapore when we arrived.

When we arrived in Singapore, everyone was getting out of their seats and getting down luggage from above. Thankfully, my checked baggage came in well.
Picture of us waiting for the bus to our hotel in Singapore. Below that is a picture of the inside of our bus ride to our hotel.



Jason in the center of the room at the hotel.
All of us waiting in the lobby for the ability to go to our rooms and rest.