Sunday, January 13, 2013



Wow is all I can say.  This is NOT the Korea that I knew and loved.  In some ways it is still the same place, but in others it is completely different.  The first thing that we noticed was how expensive everything has gotten.  On average I would say things are 5-10 TIMES as expensive as when we were he last .  A cheap meal has gone from 800 Won to about 7,000 Won.  Most meals are now 15,000 to 45,000 won for simple Bulkogi.

Another thing that is different is transportation.  The subway system is great, and widely expanded since we were here last.  Also the roadway system has greatly improved with nice wide lanes and lots of cars.  The cars here are also very different.  It used to be only Korean cars were available here, now it is everything under the sun.  BMW's, Mercedes, Fords and Chevrolets are as common as Hyundai's. You also see many exotics, Ferraris, Mazerati etc.


Yesterday we went to a bunch of the palaces and a local shrine.  The main palace that we went to was Gyeongbokgung Palace.  This is the major place here in Seoul, although there are many smaller palaces around the area.  At Deoksugung we were able to see the changing of the guard ceremony that was very cool in addition to the palace itself.  Today we went to a traditional Korean folk village and all of the homes there were built in the traditional Korean style with a courtyard surrounded by a wall and then the home inside.  Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.  Tomorrow we begin the journey home, wish us luck!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Our last day in India was spent in Delhi.  We did not really know what to expect, but it was so different than any other city we had been too.  We saw our first high rise apartment buildings, and the city was really quite clean and well kept.  It was very obvious that there was a tremendous amount of wealth in Delhi.  We had 3 destinations in Delhi that we wanted to visit, and we accomplished all of them.  The first was the Red Fort.  we only saw the outside of this fort, as the British had gutted the interior of all of the castles etc that used to be there.  We then saw the largest Mosque in India.  Following this we went to Humayans tomb.  This was built by Shah Jahans grandfather, and the Taj Mahal was fashioned after this building.  The grounds and the structures were just amazing!


Sorry it has been so long since I have posted, we have been running like crazy, and have had real poor luck with internet access.

We left Jaipur and headed toward Agra at 7:30 in the morning.  We were hoping to miss the bad traffic, and get there early enough that we could see everything on our list in 1 day.  This being the case, unimportant things like using the bathroom and eating were OFF the table!!!   

Fatehpur Sikri

This is a place I had never heard of before, but it is considered a world heritage site.  This place was the capital of India for about 10 years.  The Mughal emperor apparently had trouble having kids, and was told if he walked to this city and drank the water his wife would get pregnant.  Voila, it worked so he moved the capital to Fatehpur Sikri and built this palace.  Actually only lived in it for a year or two, then got bored and moved back to Agra.  Take a look at what he abandoned Only one tiny part of the city (where the large buildings are concentrated) has been until now, studied, visited and relatively well preserved. Fatehpur Sikri, constructed on a rocky plateau, south-east of an artificial lake, created for the occasion and today partially dried up, is bounded on three sides by a 6 km wall, fortified by towers and pierced by seven gates (the best preserved is the Gate of Agra, the second from the north). This spacious enclosure defines the limits of the new foundation rather than assuring its defence.  Also, included in this complex is one of the largest Mosques in India.  Curiously it is still a functioning mosque and in the entry gate honeybees have built some of the largest hives I have ever seen.  They have a full time sweeper just to keep the dying honeybees off the floor so people wont step on them.


This is the place that Cindy had most been looking forward to, the Taj Mahal.  Not sure what I can say about this edifice that has not already been said.  Just simply, it is a tomb to the Emperors favorite wife who died very young at 27 years old.  It was built across the river from his palace so he could sit and look at it every day.

The Palace

Before going to the Taj Mahal we went to the Agra Fort, which wax also the palace where Shah Jahan (the builder of the Taj Mahal lived).  A couple of tidbits on the Mughals of this time.  They came from a marriage of the Turks, and Mongols (think Ghengis Khan).  Many of them came from Afghanistan, and alot of their architects came from Persia.  Because of this you will see influences of many types of architectures.  Needless to say this was a great day if you have any interest in history and architecture.   Saw 3 world heritage sites today!