Every time I visit Korea it is an amazing experience. This is from the first interaction at the arrival hall of the Gimpo airport where I landed this time. I love the pride people take in their jobs. Drivers of taxis and buses wear gloves and are very respectful, kind and helpful. When the driver of the luxury limousine bus bows to the passengers before he commences the journey, it makes you feel as if you are in good hands. That stated, even good drivers do not make up for the massive traffic snarls in this city of 12 million people. There is no such thing as a short car trip.
The hotel where meetings were held was the Hotel Lotte World in Jamsil which is a mini DisneyWorld lookalike. The complex is huge with department stores, hotel, amusement park and over the road work has started on the Lotte Tower that will be over 100 stories. After working with Lotte in Australia on the Salacia Waters project we know the horsepower in this organisation and visiting the scale of their projects here in Korea only reinforces this reputation.
In the hotel there are many small innovations that we are not familiar with in Australia. There is a complimentary mobile phone provided in the room for use while in the hotel (this makes up for our phones not working here). In the Korean BBQ restaurant they use wood coals to cook the delicious food. Over each table there is a stainless steel 100mm pipe that electronically lowers to extract any fumes. Each detail seems well thought out here and this design element although coming from a different culture really does show a commitment to the total customer experience. I would still rather see a bar in the hotel, but I guess I can learn to Karaoke instead once in awhile.
A visit to the Han River showed the extremely harsh conditions that our marinas experience here. The Capri marina frames are frozen solid into the river and the polyethylene floats have endured this for a number of seasons now. Floating products will endure freezing in still water. It will not work if the structure is in the wrong place where an entire ice floe can break free and shift under windy conditions. The power of thousands of tons of ice moving, forms ice mountains that make beautiful sculpture and also it destroys marinas!