July 2, 2011
Arriving in Seoul, South Korea
As many of you know from reading my Tweets, I recently was on a two-week journey to Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Dubai, Nice, and Cannes. The first stop on my circumnavigation of the globe, which, by the way, was a business trip, began in Seoul, South Korea. Charles Koppelman, our Chairman, joined me for the Asian portion of the junket, which took us to many business meetings. After landing at Seoul Incheon International Airport, we drove about forty minutes to downtown Seoul, crossing the beautiful Youngjong Bridge, one of more than two-dozen bridges connecting the different parts of Seoul. I discovered that unlike other growing Asian cities, such as Peking, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore, to name a few, Seoul does not have a soaring a skyline – not yet, anyway.
1 Here I am with Charles at the Seoul Incheon International Airport after our long flight on Korean Air.
2 This is the Youngjong Bridge, the longest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world and was built by Samsung corporation.
3 The Banghwa Bridge, also spanning Korea's Han River, is a balanced arch truss type bridge and is painted the same color as the golden gate bridge in San Francisco.
4 The Seoul Parliament building stands gloriously in the distance with its giant green dome.
5 The Wonhyo Bridge connects the districts of Yongsan-gu and Yeongdeungpo-gu.
6 After checking into our hotel, The Grand Hyatt, we were feted at a dinner at this traditional Korean restaurant where a banquet of many courses was served.
7 Hyundai Card executives were our hosts for this lovely evening at Samcheonggak, a cultural center.
8 Samcheonggak is a beautiful building of wood, paper, and glass construction - typical of Korean architecture.
9 We were seated for dinner in a private room of the restaurant.
10 My place card
11 The table flowers were very pretty - all hot house grown.
12 Makgeolli is a classic Korean aperitif made from a mixture of wheat and rice, which gives it a milky, off-white color, and sweetness.
13 The makgeolli was served in a pottery bowl and scooped into cups with a wooden ladle.
14 Delicate rice flour pancakes were served to roll around various fillings of julienned and pickled vegetables.
15 It took quite a while to roll these crepe-like appetizers, which were served with a delicate sauce.
16 The filling of the pancakes
17 All the filling was done with a spoon and a set of chopsticks, the main utensils of the Korean table.
18 I didn't find out what tinted the batter this bright yellow, but it was delicious!
19 A service of the pancakes
20 There was also a large, fresh, sweet scallop sliced and served with peppers, radish, and a savory sauce.
21 And beef braised and served in a hot iron dish with garlic cloves. Did you think they were small potatoes? I did!
22 This is a Korean hotpot - a small silver utensil filled with broth, shellfish, and vegetables. A heating element (Sterno) placed in the center under the chimney, heats the soup.
23 There was also a delicate fish, spiced and grilled.
24 This is pork and mushrooms served in a tasty broth.
25 Flavorful kimchi and various pickles are traditional accompaniments.
26 A rich plum wine was served later in the meal.
27 For dessert, a type of mochi was served with a sweet rice broth.
28 Here I am for a portrait with one of our hosts, Su-jin Kim, President of Food and Culture Korea.