Archive for July, 2011

Further to my post on jjimjilbangs and their convenience for travellers I thought I would include some more information on a little publicized but very useful place.

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Incheon Airport Jjimjilbang: 

On returning tired and slightly smelly from a cramped flight back from Hanoi the jjimjilbang in Incheon airport was a welcome rest. I managed to have a decent wash, sleep for a few hours and change my clothes.

This place is not very well signed but it’s in the basement of the semi circular terminal building. Due to its airport location it has some quirks and is slightly different from other jjimjilbangs.

It’s super modern and super chic and is very relaxing; it feels like a top class hotel.

There is no huge sleeping room, the small room next to the lockers would accommodate about 6 people. There are several smaller individual sleeping rooms for which you pay a supplement. There are also comfortable chairs in the unisex area which I fell asleep on almost immediately.

The wet shower and hot tub area has shower ‘booths’ instead of a large communal washing area. There are about 4 hot tubs and a couple of saunas. The showers are really modern and have frosted glass on either side, this means it feels less like a prison like so many normal jjimjilbangs.

The muted hotel atmosphere means you don’t get the crass noisy aspects of many other places. It is a little more expensive at(13,000 won + but the location is worth it. If you have a flight at a strange time or if you don’t have time to get a hotel near Incheon then it’s an ideal place to rest and recharge.

If you have lived in Korea or are on vacation and you want a jjimjilbang experience without the weird lack of privacy ( and nudity) then this is a good place. You are given a level of privacy which is not usually available, including the private sleeping rooms, and there is a good level of comfort and relaxation. I actually think all airports should have jjimjilbangs like this one; it’s a great compromise between splashing out for accommodation for a few hours and sleeping on uncomfortable airport chairs.

You can leave large luggage in the foyer, I’m not sure if you pay extra for this service because I never used it. I hope it isn’t discovered by everyone because it seems like a secret being in the bowels of the huge terminal with almost no signage.

http://www.airport.kr/airport/facility/efalicityInfo.iia?carId=39&facilityId=374

As liberal democracy sweeps (most of) the globe it still leaves a few areas in the darkness of despotism and personality cults. This book is about those darker corners of our political World that exist outside our democratic grid. Funny and tragic, this is a must read for anyone interested in eccentric dictators and global politics. It is especially relevant as we begin to reflect on the recent changes in North Africa and the Middle East. The political systems of the West have taken a long time to germinate, and they are still far from perfect; this book helps to illustrate the fine balance between a need for regime change and a need to let other nations develop organically. You realise that if Liberal Democracy really is all is cracked up to be then it may take a very, very long time to develop in some places. The central theme for me is: ‘How does supreme power affect the psychology, actions, and tastes of men in power?’ There is a perverse pleasure in seeing how completely insane people like Karimov, Gudaffi and others are (or were). Maybe the World would be a much better place if there were less of these colourful characters and more anonymous grey-suited bureaucratic types.
The format of the book is concise and direct, you can read it in one go, or just dip into a chapter whenever the need takes you. Some of the information is obviously out of date, but I strongly recommend getting a copy of this book.