Wednesday, December 23, 2009


My first stop in Seoul was a long-awaited, much-needed haircut (reservations made via Skype several weeks ago). I sent my bags to Grandma's house separately and went directly from the arrivals hall at Incheon International Airport to Seocho-gu.

On the way from the airport, I caught a glimpse of Songdo, a new, master-planned city being developed on reclaimed land along the Yellow Sea, 40 miles west of Seoul. At an estimated cost of over $40 billion, Songdo is the largest private development project in the world and will include features such as a Jack Nicklaus golf course, global academic complex, city-wide wireless systems, mile-long seawater canal, electric water taxis, and abundant parkland. Pretty awesome.

My family and I then headed to Namsan Valley, home to well-preserved residences and gardens of Joseon-era aristocrats in the heart of downtown Seoul. These traditional structures are surrounded today by skyscrapers and the observation tower on Namsan Mountain.