Out and About in Seoul, South Korea

by Mike on March 23, 2014

GETTING CONNECTED IN KOREA

The first few days in Seoul were spent walking in to the countless number of wireless stores to purchase a SIM card for my unlocked iPhone 3GS.

I was a bit annoyed at the amount of time I spent doing this and the fact that buying one would from one of the major cell carriers in Korea would take about 3 days to activate and ready for use.  I ultimately didn’t buy a SIM card because of the 3-day waiting period.

One of the cellular carriers, I think it was SK telecom gave me directions to purchase an “EG SIM” card from one of the premium travel centers.

So the next day after doing some research, I took a short metro ride to Seoul Station – where the nearest premium travel center was located – and purchased a SIM card.

The sale lady explained the different options and I ended up spending $30 USD and getting a SIM with 500 MB of data and voice/SMS msg, which is more than adequate for my time in Korea.

EG or Evergreen SIM Card

EG SIM Card.

Once I received my cell number in Korea, I texted it off to the friends so that I can be connected to them.

Wi-fi is abundant in Korea in general, but there are times when you can’t simply connect to a free wi-fi hotspot, thus making it difficult to meet up with people.  The value of having a way to communicate adds a huge level of convenience.

MY PLACE IN KOREA AND ASIAN STYLE BATHROOMS

For those unaware some Asian style bathrooms don’t have a bath tub nor a separate shower. Instead there’s a shower type faucet that you shower with letting the water drain into the floor.  As one can imagine everything in the bathroom gets wet so you kind of have to plan your day around it by showering and letting the entire bathroom floor dry during the day or night while you’re out or sleeping.

AirBnB Seoul

My AirBnB place in Seoul

Additionally, the AirBnB place was not very close to a subway stop so I have to walk about 10-15 minutes just to walk to the nearest metro station.  This was probably the biggest gripe I had about the place otherwise it was fine.

CROSSFIT OPEN WOD 14.4

At the beginning March of every year, Crossfit holds its annual Open WOD for everyone to compete in for a chance to partake in the regional competition.

I paid the $20 registration fee and participated this year, mostly to hold myself accountable to get judged for each of the 5 WODs announced weekly.

Since I’m on the road, I made an effort this week to drop in at a CF affiliate to submit a validated score.

I hopped on over to Crossfit Gangnam.  Yes, that’s the same district in Seoul where the popular K-pop song Gangnam Style comes from.

Anyway I was told to show up around 9:30pm on Friday.  Normally in the States, no one works out that late espeically on a Friday day night.

But apparently the Crossfit Gangnam was hopping and lively with folks just finishing their WOD.

After they were finishing up, the coaches were arranging the rowers for folks to do the 14.4 open WOD.

I lined up to go first with one other CF Gangnam member.  At the set of 3, 2, 1, I was off, but the other member had malfunction with the computer on his rower and his start was delayed another minute while I kept going.

The 60-calorie row wasn’t bad or taxing.  The 50 toes to bar took a bit longer because I stopped after getting 12 unbroken reps.  My mistake was jumping off the bar from the 12 unbroken reps because after that I had a hard time getting the kipping rhythm going again. So I ended up finishing by stringing together doubles and triples.

open wod 14.4

Rowing

open wod 14.4

Toes to Bar

The wall balls were a bit taxing.  I was “no repped” a few times because the ball rolled up instead of hitting the 10-ft mark on the stop.

IMG_0794

Wall Ball

The 135-lbs cleans were the limiting factor for me. I was stringing together singles until time expired where I managed to get 25 reps in. The other athletes were cheering me on yelling “grab it” in Korean.  It’s a lot easier than it sounds.  That bar to me weighed more than 135-lbs.

For me, that that’s pretty good since I don’t have a lot of upper body strength.  I think if I were to repeat this again, I would try to reduce the time I spent on the toes to bars so that I can get a few more reps on the cleans.

open wod 14.4

135-lbs cleans

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