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Asia

To date I have traveled to South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

Breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market | SuitcaseandHeels.com

A Tsukiji Fish Market Adventure

Tokyo is a city of big. Big buildings, big crowds and, big markets. The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Market, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind, anywhere. As such, it’s become quite the tourist attraction, especially the tuna auctions and I knew when I was planning my 60 hours in Tokyo that it would be a must-visit.

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Gyeongbokgung Palace | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Sunday Snap: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung (also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace) is one of Seoul, South Korea’s five grand palaces. The history of this palace sounds a bit like Monty Python’s Swamp Castle. It was first built in 1395 but burned down and laid abandoned for almost three hundred years. It was rebuilt in 1867 and then burned down again in the early 20th century by the Empire of Japan. About 40% of the original buildings have been rebuilt again. Let’s hope fire stays away this time. The paint job alone must take forever to do.

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Shibuya Crossing | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Sunday Snap: Shibuya Crossing

You may have seen this crazy set of crosswalks in in Tokyo during Lost in Translation or the Fast and the Furious. Shibuya Crossing is known for being a perpetually busy intersection with crowds continually amassing and letting loose like ocean waves. Crowds gather on the sidewalks and when the lights change cars stop in all directions. Watching the masses surge forward makes you feel like your own patch of sidewalk is being invaded, except that these armies wield smartphones instead of swords. The best spot to watch the madness is from the 2nd floor Starbucks outside Shibuya Station. I recommend getting down into the middle of it yourself and crossing at least once though. You can pretend to be Scarlett Johansson, I won’t tell.

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Meiji Shrine Wedding | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Sunday Snap: Meiji Shrine Wedding

While visiting the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan I was lucky enough to stumble upon the solemn procession of a traditional Shinto wedding. During the ceremony, the couple shares three cups of sacred rice wine (taking turns drinking). A priest recites Shinto liturgy, and a shrine maiden performs a sacred dance. They then conclude with another solemn procession.

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Love Land | SuitcaseandHeels.com

Love Land: Come with a Sense of Humour

Happy Valentine’s Day! And do I have a post for you…but first…you may want to hold off on reading this post until you’re somewhere not so public lest you shock your co-worker or that little old lady on the bus. Love Land on Jeju Island is South Korea’s first sexual theme park featuring over 140 sculptures that take a lighthearted look at sex. Come with a sense of humour and you won’t be disappointed.

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Korean food - banchan

Foodie Friday: Jeju Black Pork

I must admit that I hadn’t done my research before I found myself at a black pork restaurant in the Jungmun Resort area of Jeju, South Korea. I didn’t really know what to expect. Was the pork charred? Was it coated in dark spices? It’s actually meat from a breed of black skinned pigs native to Jeju. Don’t let their colourful past turn you off, black pork is delicious!

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Seoul

In Seoul with No Clothes

“We can only check your bag through to Istanbul,” the check-in agent in Dubrovnik told me. “But my final destination is Seoul,” I replied. “I can only check it to Istanbul,” she repeated. This is not going to end well. That conversation rang in my head as I stood forlornly at the luggage carousel at the airport in Incheon, South Korea watching everyone else on my flight flit off with their bags. Lost luggage. Foreign country. Just what I needed.

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Mel in Seoul | SuitcaseandHeels.com

2012: A Year in Travel

2012 was another year full of travel. I visited five new countries and even circumnavigated the globe like a boss. I pushed my limits and had some incredible experiences. I worked on learning some new languages and tried lots of great new foods. I can’t wait to see what 2013 will have in store for me.

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I drank the fish water | SuitcaseandHeels.com

I Drank the Fish Water

Korean food surprised me in a few ways. I didn’t expect it to be so flavourful, so varied, so healthy, so communal or so spicy. I also wasn’t prepared for how many plates would end up covering the table by meal’s end or how small the bill would be. I even liked the kimchi…eventually.

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Korean Street Food

Photo of the Week: Korean Street Food

Korean street food can be a great way to have a quick, cheap meal. But it can also be quite an adventure. There are delicious, recognizable food like gimbap, dumplings and fried potatoes. And then you have this mystery I snapped on the streets of Busan… it may be tasty but I have no idea what it is. I’m willing to bet that it’s seafood but can anyone accurately identify it for me?

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Seonim Bridge | Suitcase and Heels

Photo of the Week: Seonim Bridge

Seonim Bridge is an arch bridge over the Cheonjeyeon Waterfall on Jeju Island, South Korea. This was our third and final waterfall of the day and what a way to end it, standing 250 feet over the river on this gorgeous bridge, looking out at the ocean in the distance. What made this bridge really stand out, other than the height were the 14 nymphs (7 each side), each playing a musical instrument. The nymphs symbolize the Korean legend of the descent of seven beautiful nymphs from heaven at night.

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