Incheon means “kind river”.
The city’s growth and development of its port is due to its natural advantages as a coastal city and is considered part of the capital Seoul. In 2003, it was designated as Korea’s first Free Economic Zone, offering companies such as Samsung and Kia to heavily invest in this destination, tax free.
Sylvia’s panoramic city bus tour started where the fog met the horizon and it rained all day. Her favourite stop was at the covered grand fishermen’s market, where some 1,000 individual fish vendors trade their goods with canneries, restaurants and the public at large.
Raw fish sashimi and fish intestines, splashed with sweet and sour sauce are sampled by tourists and locals. An interesting find was the underside of a stingray, which looked like a happy face, or Jabba The Hutt!
Another specialty is offered by making pancakes, sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar, served in a paper Dixie cup; this tasty treat cost 1,000 WON (1 US Dollar).
Next stop on the tour was Wolmi Garden Park. It was a photographer’s dream experience to capture cherry blossom arches in bloom, brilliantly coloured azaleas and traditional Shinto shrines and temples. It is best known for an ideal spot for family camping within the city and traditional wedding ceremonies there as well.
Midway through the tour, a long lineup at the women’s washroom, Sylvia was one of the last to use it. By the time she squatted above the Korean floor toilets, washed and dried her hands and left the washroom building, her tour and guide were gone! No one else was around. Quick thinking enabled her to go to the information desk, where an 88 year old frail volunteer Korean man, with a black rotary telephone, was unable to understand her request to contact the tour guide. Assessing the situation further, she realized the bus was no longer coming to the drop off spot, but picking up the tour participants at another area of the park. From an observatory platform, she saw where the buses were and was able to meet up with everyone. She had thoughts of having to meet up with everyone in China and finding her own way there.
The next featured stop was Chinatown. Many Chinese fled to Korea to avoid persecution by the Mao Tse Tung regime, if they were Christian. This Chinatown’s reputation is known for manufacturing cold noodle specialties and deep fried chicken with a sweet and sour taste, loved by children in particular, as it is very spicy and too much so for tourists to eat. It is called Gangjeong.
In the main dining room, we had Moroccan lamb shank, Australian sea bass and beef bourguignon for dinner. This was followed by culinary desserts. Tonight’s entertainment combined comedy, juggling and a splash of illusion presented by Steve Carte, who also is an actor and appeared in Batman Forever, Austin Powers 2 and the TV show Married With Children.
This port was Celebrity’s first time in Incheon and quite a successful one to all onboard guests.