Tue: Feb 24th – Shopping and Cats The day started off with Jessy and I exploring Seoul without our guide. It’s sort of like a scavenger hunt at first using the train lines, but now I’d say we got the system down. We took a trip to go shopping in Dongdaemun to buy fabrics Jessy can use for her Candy Lagoon business. This is on the Green Line to the History and Cultural Park. I recommend checking this area out as it was very interesting with a lot of art and unique architecture. We went inside the main building outside of the station and learned it was a museum (This explains why it was so curvacious and spaceship looking)! At the top floor there was a very interesting gallery of chairs and benches. One in particular really caught my eye as it was so colorful and completely made of paper! Going out some doors, we were now on a rooftop park which gracefully curved down to the main street level. Here we came across some fun sculptures including a very groovy party bus! Lexy was currently in class but met up with us later in the evening were we explored the night streets of Meyongdong. This area was super lit up! There was a high energy and we didn’t really shop much in stores mainly due to being distracted outdoors with all the entertainment and shopping booths.
And let’s talk about cats…. well, Lexy had always wanted to be a Kitty Girl when she was little. Today, the cat chose her. Handing its tail over, she followed closely behind smiling to passers by. Of course people were staring, it was entertaining – and worth it cause you get a buy 1 get 1 free drink at the Cat Cafe. And my goodness there was a lot of cats and a lot of catnip. It was just like fairy dust. The kitties were on cloud nine and ruling the roost. It was pretty cute. There was one tiny little Chihuahua dog that was literally a quarter the size of some of these cats. Definitely the underdog in this scene. If you visit, I recommend using the slippers they provide that I some how missed. After walking around in my socks, I could feel they had accumulated some things I didn’t want to put in my shoes. The damp sticky feeling as I walked around was enough to make me decide to toss them upon exit.
Wed: Feb 25th – Hanok Village Today we took a fun trip to Euljiro: Hanok Village. It’s named after general Eulji Mundeok who saved Korea from the invading Sui Dynasty Chinese. This town is so peaceful today and there were many beautifully designed homes with intricate details. After wondering around this neighborhood, we found some stairs that led downhill into the town below. We crossed by a cute coffee and beer cafe and decided to go in to warm up and get a drink. The decor was lovely and a fun surprise was the pillows in a seating area. They are illustrated by a famous Korean artist, Youk Shim Won, who’s art was featured in the K-drama, Fated to Love You. I was encouraged as an artist to keep pushing forward with my own work. Afterwards we went to the Express Bus Terminal for a huge underground shopping center experience.
Thur: Feb 26th – Language and Social We returned to Dongdaemun to buy some fabrics and other materials. This time we had our translator, and she sure did a good job! I did feel like a proud sister – Proud of how far Lexy has come and grown in her language skills and her ability to haggle down those prices!
Later we met up with Lexy’s friend from swim club. What a great guy! We had a good time talking and learning about Korean culture. He introduced Jessy and I to the standard three rounds of Korean social life. You can mix and match whatever you do. But do at least three things. We began round one with a lovely traditional Korean dinner in which he offered to buy us Chicken Shit… saying it was really good. None of us had the courage (I later found out it is the chicken gizzard). Otherwise we had mokoli (traditional rice wine), side dishes, a main course and pajeon (Korean seafood and veggie pancake). Round two lead us to the norabang (Karaoke). For round three, Jessy treated us all to ice cream. And for round four he treated us to some drinks with more dinner. I tried duck for the first time which was surprisingly good. We were also served yoghurt which is suppose to prevent indigestion and drunkenness. It was a great evening and I’d say Korea has the social scene down.
Fri: Feb 27th – Too Close For Comfort Jessy and I had a sleep over at Lexy’s dorm due to staying out past 11:30 pm when the trains shut down and we become helplessly stranded. That was a funny night trying to sneak in without getting caught by security guards and not waking up her roommate. This was probably the most uncomfortable sleeping experience I’ve ever had in a bed. Sharing a twin sized bed between three 6′ girls… somehow I was stuck in the middle with no room but to stay on my side. While this was OK at first, my shoulder began to ache and I couldn’t even move to adjust myself. My only escape was to flip around with my head at the foot-end of the bed. My new neighbors kept kicking me in the arms and snuggling up too close to my face. Even so, somehow the little extra room was worth it.
Sat: Feb 28th – Nigh Out in Hongdae
We met up with one of Jessy’s friends who had been teaching in Busan, South Korea for the past year. He met us where we were staying in Hongdae. We had samgeyopsal (Korean BBQ) for the first time and of course our favorite, patbingsu. Afterwards we headed out to a Thursday Party Draft House to play some darts and meet other people. Who says you need to drink to have a good time? It’s not true! And thank goodness I had my wits about me. The only scare was when a bunch of our personal belongings had disappeared in a flash from a stash at our table. After a brief panic attack and talking with a gal at our table, she had mistakenly thought our items were her friend’s and delivered them. She quickly ran out the door and came back with everything returned. What a relief and thank you, Jesus. Having enough of that, we left. Lexy and I stayed out a bit later with the mission to experience a place where the Koreans go. I think we were successful in that we saw no other foreigners. The music and lighting was amazing… meaning it was K-pop. Everyone was very excepting and we got some good dancing exercise. In all it was a good experience and there was no hangover the next day.
Sun: March 1st – Needed Sleep Today was a recovery day spent mostly in and around the hostel doing laundry and catching up on sleep after the late night before.
Mon: March 2nd – On to Sokcho Leaving Seoul to head out on an adventure all around the coast South Korea. Until next time, Cheers!