This is my fourth day in Korea and I finally got out of the hotel this afternoon. I took a cab to the Insadong, an ancient street in Seoul that has many outdoor shops selling a variety of things. I walked the Insadong last November when I was here as a tourist, so I had no qualms about hopping in a taxi alone and revisiting the glorified alley. It made for a most interesting afternoon.
I roamed up and down the Insadong and a few side alleys for a couple of hours and then caught a cab back to the base. My first cabbie had been mute as a stone, but, as luck would have it, this second cab driver spoke quite a bit of English (and Japanese and Spanish). He was sixty-seven and fixing to divorce the mother of his two grown sons. I'm not sure what the complete issue was, but it had something to do with religion. He was a "Methodist Christian" and the rest of his family practiced "the old religion of Korea." The cabbie thought it was hysterical that a mental health provider didn't have a wife, and he encouraged me several times to hit J.J. Mahoney's Lounge at the Hyatt Hotel and find a wife! Strangely though, he personally did not want a wife.
That makes two of us!
Photo's of this excursion are at http://okinawanodyssey.blogspot.com/2011/02/all-along-insadong.html.