Lanterns and Love hotels

This past weekend, I went to Seoul to visit a Korean friend who was soon to be married.  In typical Carrie-style, I left everything until the very last possible minute.  Not a good plan in a nation of 50 million-ish people!

And so, I went to Seoul via Busan.  If you look at a map of Korea, you’ll find that Busan is actually south of Ulsan.  Sigh. Needless to say, next time I go to Seoul, I will book ahead.

I arrived in Seoul and checked in to my hotel.  I had decided to stay in a love hotel on the recommendation of a teacher at my school. When I expressed a bit of reservation about staying alone she said:

“No problem! Long, long ago… many love.  Now… not expensive hotel!”

So I’ll be staying alone in a place where there was once a lot of love, but not any more.  Now it’s just cheap. Fabulous.

The hotel advertised the rooms it had with large pictures on the outside of the building,

and in the lobby was a picture of every room in the hotel with the room number lit up if it was free.  This hotel very clearly rented rooms by the hour.

I almost decided to stay somewhere else but the price was right, and a Japanese mother and daughter checked in ahead of me.  I’m not sure why that reassured me but it did, and I decided to stay.

The hallway was decidedly sketchy and looked right out of a CSI murder scene.  The room however was great.  It was small and had clearly been decorated in the 80’s (the decor was all teal and peach) but it was clean and comfortable.

They even provided a robe!  At least I think it was a robe, I didn’t unroll it.  The material was too slinky.  Ugh.

I think my favourite part of the hotel was the “this toilet is clean” sign.

Inadvertently appropriate! 😀

The TV was bigger than me and had been left on a porn channel.  Apparently the love was not so long ago …

The remote control operated the room lights rather than the TV and I discovered that I could choose from variety of rather lurid lighting options as I frantically tried to turn the porn off. Did I want to try to change the channel bathed in pink, blue-green or orange light?

Finally I gave up and used the buttons on the TV itself.  As I flipped through the channels one by one, I wondered about Asian porn (my room came with Korean, Japanese and Chinese options.) All the bits were fuzzed out.  What was the point?

Eventually I found some non-porn channels.  It appeared that I had 17 porn channels, 3 Buddhist channels, 4 English evangelical Christian channels, the shopping network and the Discovery channel.  I decided to go out.

Lucky for me, there was a lantern festival in Seoul that night.

It was the place to be!  Can you see the people lined up along the rails waiting to get down to where the lanterns were?  Amazing.

When I came back to my room, I discovered that the coloured lighting that had been so humorous hours before now wouldn’t turn off.  And so I spent the night bathed in a weird blue-green glow.  Definitely not the most flattering light (I’m not sure what the decorators were thinking – I looked like a washed-up mermaid) but much more restful than pink or orange.


About Carrie K

Teacher, writer, traveller. Slightly neurotic. Overly talkative. Loving life. You can also follow me on Twitter: kimchigirl72
This entry was posted in Busan, Education, Korea, Seoul, Travel, Ulsan, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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