Posts tagged ‘trip’

How to Travel Safely: What Your Hotel Wouldn’t Want You to Know

I thought that I travel safely for most of my pleasurable jaunts around the globe. That was until a close family friend of ours told me this information about what hotels are really like from the “inside.”I still remember our friendly conversation (of course, who wouldn’t when this just happened last week).

“You don’t want to know this.” That’s the first thing that was said to me when a friend of mine told me something rather unsettling.

I said “C’mon, you have to tell me. I hate secrets. You know that.”

“Yeah, but this will change your traveling life FOREVER.” That last sentence felt like I was in a comical suspense thriller clip, like a child wrapped up in a cozy blanket, getting ready to cover himself or scream out loud when the action or suspense arises.

And, if you know me, you could’ve imagined that piqued my interest even more.

When my friend finally told me the shocking news, I heaved a sigh and thought about my (initial) suspicions about hotels ever since I started my traveling life.

The news?

Well, let me ask you a question. How DIRTY do you think hotels are?

You would probably say no, hotels aren’t that dingy at all.

Well, most of the hotels are. Even those which are five-star hotels. It’s true.

And, if, like me, you probably missed the Internet information that has made many travelers quickly grabbing for their bottled waters in a tight grip to feel safer, here’s an official link which proves it.

Just key in the keywords “hotel videos” to see the list. The first one you should see is the video entitled Online Hazards in Hotels.

That’s not all.

That’s just the beginning of what I want to share with you.

What about pests that you think the pest control team in hotels usually take care of to ensure a good sleep to hotel patrons like you?

Well, these creepy crawlies are sometimes the first to go into your room before you do, and they make it as a sort of breeding haven for their own pest families.

And you thought you were safe, clean, and pest-free – having the time of your life living like a king or queen in those hotels.

(Please refer back to the link I suggested on seeing, and, this time, look for the video bearing the title, Hidden Hotel Room Dangers).

So much for the safety and cleanliness you wished you are being given in these vacation dwellings.

What should you do, then?

I have a few suggestions.

First, bring your own bottled water (if you can). Or, bring a dishwashing soap (with a particular germ-killing disinfectant) with you, and wash the things you are to use in these hotels before you even use them.

Second, check the hotel’s reputation and its take on health and safety for travelers like you. You may do a search on the health bureau about this.

Third, dust off your bed before you even lie down or sit on it.

Fourth, wear shoes, socks, or flipflops while walking on the carpeted floor of the hotels.

Fifth, don’t assume that everything is clean once you step in a room for the first time in a particular hotel. Double check your things and the things in your room, or clean them yourself.

I wonder… with all this information, shall you still stay and have a good night’s rest in these hotels? Or, will you rather opt to stay at a relative’s home instead?

For me, I’ll still want to stay in hotels. It’s a convenience since I travel a lot. But, I’ll just have to be more observant and particular when it comes to making me feel cleaner.

February 19, 2008 at 8:01 pm 2 comments

Seoul: Soul Food for Travelers You Will Miss

While designer boutiques and cafes spring up in Seoul, I will share with you my travel experience with some sections of Seoul. This capital of South Korea offers silk worm snack foods and street jazz.


The place. It was a clear spring evening, outside Tongdaenum stadium, west of Seoul. Hundreds of teenagers mill around waiting for the clock to strike 8 p.m. I wonder if it is not a soccer match or a pop concert they have come to see. Their excitable chatter would lead me to believe otherwise.


Oh I see! The big attraction lies across the road at the Migliore department store. 14th floors of thrifty glamour fashions and the latest arcade dance machines. Or maybe a guest pop group appearance awaits the crowd. Migliore’s night-owl business hours (8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily) have made it a beacon for Seoul’s restless and hip-to-the-groove youth. And at 8:06 p.m. the first transactions are rung though. Less than eight hours after Migliore closes its doors, another hive of shopping opportunity will abuzz on the other side of the city.


We inched our way up the base of the imposing Mount Namsan, Myong-dong district, a new face of Seoul. Here we saw sleek office complexes rise over bustling local markets, Eastern and Western fashions. Coffee is the beverage of choice.

korea-myong.jpgThe food. Commerce is certainly the force driving the capital these days. But I find it’s worth noting about our travel to Seoul is when dinner time approaches. All our wheeling and dealing, haggling and bartering, suddenly stops. We and the citizens of Seoul get down to the very serious business of eating and drinking.

I believe that there is a growing demand for traditional home-cooked food that has created an enormous range of dining possibilities for travelers and visitors to Seoul. I find it the most challenging part of dining out in Seoul is where to pull up a seat at hundreds of food stalls, restaurants and even street kitchens.


We sit down at one of these stalls and found out our fellow diners could be a mechanic chewing thoughtfully on a pig’s trotter. I saw a group of immaculately-dressed office ladies tucking into a fish head stew. I find the aromas of their dishes excite, and at the same time, completely confuse my senses. I’m still curious, odors fill the night air along the north side of Jongno Street back towards the Seoul’s city center. Oh! It’s peondaegi, or boiled silkworm larvae, wafting from dozens of street carts.

seoul.jpgOutside Danseonsa Theater, I spied elderly women spooning steaming critters into paper cups and selling them to passers-by for US$0.95 (1,000 won). I speared them with the toothpick provided and I swallow it as quickly as possible. It is at the back of T’apkol Park that I finally found an antidote for the powerful silkworm aftertaste. There are a handful of stores specializing in traditional medicine, called hanyak. Clusters in the alleys to the north, are easily recognizable by the bell jars of snake wine in their windows.

korea-snake-wine.jpgTogether with dried reptiles, exotic-smelling herbs and animal parts, snake meat soup called paem t’ang (don’t know if I spelled it correctly), and snake wine, called paem sul. At Cheung Jin Ok restaurant, opened in 1937, located in Jongno district my problem was solved. There is only one dish to choose from, hae jang or the coagulated cow’s blood broth served with extra spicy kimch’i.

kimchi.jpgDid you know? Kimchi is an absolute necessity in every Korean meal and can be made from one or more kinds of vegetables including Chinese cabbage, radish by seasoning and salting them with garlic, scallion ginger, chili and fish sauce.

January 23, 2008 at 4:01 am Leave a comment



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