Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where the heck is India? I mean the Embassy

Ok, the rain finally stopped...and just in time for my vacation. Horary!!
I am very excited that it is very hot and sunny now – I think I was becoming deficient in Vitamin D.

I had to visit the Indian Embassy in Seoul today to apply for my tourist visa and ended up making a day of it.
I arrived in Hannam-dong (area) around 10:30am since the Embassy only takes applications between 9:30-12:30. The website stated that the embassy was about a 15 minute walk from the subway – well I guess 15 minutes would be correct if one was to find the place right away. In my case it took closer to 45 minutes.
After walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes I managed to flag down a man who worked at a flower shop. He patiently listened while I made a pathetic attempt at speaking Korean and then kindly pointed me in the right direction
Yongo-ru ashimmikka? “ odio?”...which translates into “do you understand English? ...where is India?”...guess I should have looked up the Korean word for Embassy...for future use it is “taesagwan”
– yes...he was laughing at me...but after I showed him my map he quickly understood I was in search of the Indian Embassy rather then the country, India.

Arriving at the embassy (profusely sweating at this time...did I mention it is really hot here?) I managed to get an application, borrow a pen, fill out my application and finally get in line for my interview behind no less then 25 other people. (Yes...still profusely sweating...but this time in front of 25 other people)
The interview was very quick...”Where do you live? How long did you say you will be in India for? How long have you taught English in Korea? It sure is hot today.”
Then I dropped off my passport and decided to try to discover a new area of the city.

I made my way to Yeouido Park, which is located along the Han River and is one of 12 riverside parks. The park is actually split into 2 sections. The first part is across the road from the river and is home to an ecology forest and pond, a grassy area (and another pond) and a traditional Korean forest (and of course...wait for it....another pond).
Each is very beautiful and offer a little bit of greenery in-between some high-rises.
There are tons of trees, plants and many insects....the least of which were the cicadas.
They were almost deafening in some spots. However, even despite the high-pitched shrieking of the cicadas, it was all very beautiful.
The second part of the park extends alongside the actual river. It is much smaller, and doesn’t really have many trees...mostly just grass...but is still quite lovely.
On my way to the river park I came across something quite strange. I like to refer to it as Speedo City.
Beside the riverside park there is actually a small water park that seems to only have 1 large pool surrounded by tarmac. No slides, no sand....just 1 pool and tarmac. It was VERY crowded and appears to be much more popular then the riverside park beside it (see photos below). I really can’t understand the appeal. I mean, it wasn’t like it was just for kids. In fact, there seemed to more adults then children. Most of who were just standing around in their Speedos and bikinis (surprising considering Koreans fear of the sun) talking to each other.
Anyways, I didn’t stay long – just walked past to get a photo and then made my way down to the river.
I spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the river, taking photos and enjoying the breeze. All in all it was a great Wednesday!
I was planning to go to a different park tomorrow but as it turns out, I may be moving this weekend after all... not definite but a big it means I have a lot of packing to do this week if I am going to be ready if/when Helen comes this weekend.
Might see how much I can get done tomorrow morning and then try to get to a park for the afternoon – don’t want to miss any of this great weather!!


At 8:36 p.m. , Blogger Blake said...


I would like to go to India sometime in the not so distant future.

I'm a bit curious about the visa procedure (as we're both Canucks).

How long does it take to get an Indian visa, and all that?

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in India!


At 8:47 p.m. , Blogger Colleen in Korea said...

Hey Blake,

Good to hear from you. yeah - How is Japan? are you still enjoying your job?

just a little over 2 weeks and I leave Korea...yeaah! As much as I have loved my job over the last year, I am very very ready to leave.

The visa process for India is pretty simple. You need 2 passport size photos, your passport and you can fill out an application at the nearest Indian Embassy. It costs 80,000won to apply...but might be a little different depending on where you apply.
It takes about 5 working days to process.

When are you thinking of going to India? I won't be there until the end of September since I will be in Thailand for the first month of my journey. I plan to stay in India for just over 2 months.

I am going to try my best to keep my blog updated every week or so while I am stay tuned.

~ Colleen

At 2:35 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi colleen, i stumbled on your blog looking for directions to the indian embassy in seoul, and what you wrote has been really helpful!

just thought i'd leave a note of thanks...



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