South Korea/China 2007
Seoul, South Korea for Leif and Eun-young's wedding, then Nanjing, China for Bej (er, John) and Weixian (Christine)'s wedding, then wrapping things up with three and a half days in Shanghai.
Day 1 - Arrival in Seoul, South Korea, the flight over, and a tour of the city including Insa-dong, Deoksugung Palace, National Assembly.
Day 2 - National Museum of Korea, N Seoul Tower, and the river through downtown Seoul.
Day 3 - War Memorial of Korea, then Leif and Eun-young's wedding.
Day 4 - 3rd Tunnel Tour of the DMZ, Myeong-dong, night cruise of the Han River, Dongdaemun.
Day 5 - Namsangol Hanok Folk Village, genuine Korean BBQ, Jongmy Ancestral Shrine, Daehangno Street, Yonsei University.
Day 6 - ICN-PVG, then the lovely bus to Nanjing.
Day 7 - dim sum, temples and palaces, the City Wall, National Palace, and a German-Chinese cooperation festival.
Day 8 - dim sum, Dr. Sun Yat-sen and ancient Ming dynasty mausoleum/burial area, most-ghetto-looking-restaurant ever for dinner.
Day 9 - Nanjing's version of xiaolongbao for breakfast (mmmm), Nanjing Museum, Confucian temple, bridge across the Yangtze river, Hunan Lu (Hunan Street).
Day 10 - John and Weixian's wedding.
Day 11 - back to Shanghai: Jade Budda Temple, random smoky bar on Tongren Lu (Tongren Street).
Day 12 - Pudong including Oriential Pearl Tower, Century Park, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Jin Mao Tower, The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, The Bund, Central Henan Lu (Henan Road)'s shopping area.
Day 13 - Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, People's Square, Xin Tian Di.
Day 14 - Yu Garden and the most popular xiaolongbao place around, the tiny old City Wall fragment, The Bund, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Shanghai Library.
Return - PVG-ICN-LAX. Plus lunch after landing.
South Korea is nice, easy to get around in, and the language barrier isn't too infuriating, even for a dumb American whose Korean ends at galbi, bi-bim-bap, and soon tofu. Seoul is also throughly modern while still preserving much of its historical elements, which made appreciating Korean culture that much easier, and the DMZ being just 50km (30 miles) away further reinforces the history and current political climate of the Korean peninsula.
If Guangzhou is a mix of old and new in China, showing the efforts of new construction displacing the old, Nanjing feels older, with more historical significance. It's also a much smaller-- albeit very modern-- city center, with the surrounding area dating much more frequently back to the 1950s, 60s,a nd 70s. Shanghai feels very new, the result of massive cleanup and new construction; unlike Seoul, much of the history is lost or buried rather than preserved and easily accessible.