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Notes from Seoul

Football, jelly fish and football

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SEK2006 Arriving in a country you've never visited is almost certain to provide some surprises. But Korea surprised me before I'd left Heathrow.

I arrived at the departure lounge half an hour before we were due to leave. I'd normally devote this time to filling my blood with enough nicotine to last the flight, but thought I should make an effort to be punctual.

But when I walked into the departure lounge it was empty. I backtracked to check I was in the right place before panicking slightly and running down the corridor towards the plane. I was one of the last people to board the plane and doors were locked long before our expected nine thirty departure time.

Which either makes Koreans very punctual or it means they really hated London.

I showed the stewardess my boarding card which earned me a bow of thanks. Doing my best to return this bow in the narrow corridor may have looked like a headbutt. But, pleased with my cultural sensitivity I took my seat.

The direct flight was painless and the welcoming dinner provided nothing more challenging than jellied duck eggs and cured jellyfish.

Our hosts were very attentive and there was always the football to talk about. Representatives of Poland and Germany had slightly different interpretations of their recent match, but otherwise all was peace and harmony.

Even when someone asked if Koreans really do eat dog meat. It's very nice in a goulash soup, apparently, and tastes like a well-marbled piece of steak.

More from Seoul as I sample the delicacy. ®

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