I guess I can't sleep in Asia. Weird. Monday morning I woke up at about 5:30 and could not get back to sleep. After my complementary breakfast courtesy of Asiana I went for a walk. I stumbled on Dongdaemun Market, and as it was still pretty early in the morning, folks were sawing and drilling to make their displays and deliveries were arriving on trucks and motorbikes. It smells like leather and fish and perfume. Everyone smiled at me and I think a lot of folks were happy to practice their English with me. I had lots of "Hi, how are you, have a good day" and actually no "come buy stuff from my shop."
Dongdaemun Market. The Internet says it's something like 10 acres. There are lots of real stores and also vendors set up on the streets. You can buy clothing, sunglasses, fresh fish, handbags, and...
Korean Ginseng in pretty bottles at the market.
I also walked by the Bank of Korea musem, which is a very pretty building which is closed on Mondays. An underpass map had a palace listed on it, and I couldn't find the thing and was getting thirsty so I went back to my hotel to look it up online and I learned that all the palaces in Seoul are closed on Mondays too! What timing I have.
This is a fountain near the museum. It was covered in flowing water when I saw it from across the street, but after crossing through the underpass it was off when I reached the other side.
I got very very tired all of a sudden around noon, but could not take a nap. I tried sleeping at the airport after arriving there at 5, and may have dozed some. The 5 and a half hour flight to Bangkok seemed more cramped than the one to Seoul, but I think I may have slept for a few minutes.
I knew I was going to be completely exhausted on arrival in Bangkok. I had a very clear series of tasks for myself: Pee. Go through immigration. Get baggage. Go through customs. Find ATM machine (my card worked, what a relief.) Buy bottle of water. Find taxi. I managed to complete these tasks and was very satisfied as I got in the cab that I would be sleeping soon.
It was about 1 am when we got on the road, so the highways were pretty empty. This was a very scary cab ride! The driver straddled the line between the lanes a lot of the way (I saw other cabs doing this too.) No signal or anything, just drive on the line for a bit until you make a decision. I reminded me of Toad's Turnpike on Mario Cart. Anyway, we arrived at Khao San Road. Taxis don't go down the road, so I got all my luggage out and trekked into the backpacker ghetto.
It was bustling at 1:30 or whatever. There was a circle of people around a guy who was breakdancing in the middle of the road. He wasn't on cardboard or anything, just spinning on the pavement. I heard a hoard of people singing along to U2 and it was so heartening, but I needed to get to sleep so I didn't investigate.
I found my hotel (can you call it that at $19 a night?) and checked in. It is a stark contrast to the fancy hotel I stayed at in Seoul. It's tiny. The walls are dirty and gray, and there is a frightening reddish area above one side of the bed on the otherwise purple headboard. The bathroom is the shower, so toilet paper has to live in the bed area or it will get soaked. But this room has three very important things: a bed (well really a mattress and boxspring on the floor, but close enough,) air conditioning and wifi. I'm set!
I can't sleep though. I took some benadryl last night in the hope that it would make me drowsy but still woke up at every little noise the air conditioner made. I woke up for good a little after 7.
I don't have high expectations for myself today, but if I can make it to the 7-11 down the street I would like to get some Tylenol pm or something.