2.5 months in Seoul, South Korea
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Hongdae, Hyundai, and Ho Bar
On Friday my Korean teachers gave us no formal homework...aside from the pages of vocab to learn... and told us to rest and have a good time on our weekend :) So we did just that~
Right after class we went to Yongsan electronics market to get webcams, electronic dictionaries, cell phones, etc.

Webcam: $29 , bargained down from $32

Korean-American Electronic Dictionary (Sharp brand) - $135.. I think we got ripped off. We asked for a discount since we were buying four dictionaries and paying in cash so the guy told us that he would throw in a dictionary case and an extra battery for free. The dictionary case turned out to be already included in the box, and the extra battery we later found in being sold in the subway for $1 for a pack of 10. Hmm... not being able to speak perfect Korean = gullible "waygookins" (foreigners)

Cell phone! $30 + $20 Phone card. We bought prepaid phones; the used phones go from $30 to around $200. It's cute how the cell phones are on display in Korea, they're on little stands with Christmas lights looped around them =)

After Yongsan, we went to a place called "Rotary" for dinner, located on the Sinchon Rotary (the Korean name for roundabout). It has the cheapest Korean food ever! Rotary's always packed with college students, and except for the rice, entrees, and banchan (side dishes), is self-serve. Basically, you get yourself water from the water machine, napkins from a bag on the wall, and chopsticks and spoons from boxes on the tables.

The entrees are similar to those at traditional Korean restaurants in America which range from $9 to $20. Except here they are from $2 to $4!

The Hongdae district, adjacent to Sinchon where I am staying, is the center of nightlife for Korean college students.

If you walk around after 8 pm, every square foot of building will be covered in neon signs advertising "Hoff" (Korean bar), "Soju", "Norehbang" (Korean karaoke rooms), Sports bars, and also random signs that we saw like "Happy Hippopotamus", "Sexy Banana" (?!),


and "Ho Bar III". We now have a mission to find Ho Bar's I and II before we leave..

We ended up going to a Japanese bar called "Aska".

Aska advertised fruit soju, which we got in the watermelon flavor.

Basically they crush up watermelon pieces and add it to a bottle of soju... good! We toasted by saying, "건배" (gun-beh) which is Korean for "Cheers!"

The best thing to eat after drinking is samgyupsal, fatty pieces of pork meat, since the fat absorbs lots of alcohol =) I accidentally broke 2 shot glasses..

Apparently the Korean subway system closes at midnight, so we had an interesting walk back to Sinchon. Since Friday is a big drinking night for Koreans, we passed random drunken couples and even a large male who had passed out on the sidewalk..

Saturday we went to see the horror movie "Omen" at a movie theater located on the 10th floor of Hyundai Department Store.

Ahhh.. it reminded me why I only watch one horror movie per year.. We were practically the only ones in the theater for the "Omen"; I wonder if my low tolerance for horror movies is a Korean thing?

Hyundai Department Store has a pet section! That's like Macy's selling small animals next to the Shoe section.. Since everything is smaller here, they have dwarf bunnies and dwarf hamsters which were right next to geckos, chameleons, and baby hedgehogs! They also had something which I wasn't sure anyone would want as a pet:

WHAT IS IT?!! I asked the department store worker and he said that they were rhinoceros beetle larvae. They grow up into something like this:

Slightly less repulsive..

Almost every time we go out, it's blatantly obvious that we're Americans =p The way we're gawking at things that native Koreans find perfectly normal (Ho Bar III? The bathroom courtesy bell?), taking photos everywhere from movie theaters to the subway, speaking loudly in English, and not knowing how to eat and cook foods like samgyupsaal and shabushabu..
At first, when asked about ourselves, we launched into long, painful explanations about how we were from America, but knew some Korean because one/both of our parents was Korean, we were here for a few months to study the language, etc, etc. But eventually we found the perfect explanation....


Simply say "gyopo" whenever you get a strange look or inquiry, and the Korean will nod knowingly "ahhhhh". Gyopo = foreign-born Korean
Incidentally, since Mark and Foster don't look Korean (1/2 Korean), they get stranger reactions from Koreans than Kaila or I.. the other night a little boy started laughing, saying, "Where did you pick up the Korean language?" He also called them a name which we never really figured out the meaning of..."bokdo saram"? If anyone finds out what this means, please let me know =p


posted by Jane @ 5:14 AM  
  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger Kaila said…

    foster looks like a robot !!! :0)

  • At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    awww you can't see the suggestive paiting on the walls of the Cock's Club entrance

  • At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    that was me(Mark)

  • At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    put more i love this blog

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger xcissexy said…

    i dont know who you are, but i came across your blog when i was looking for a picture of mina, the world cup girl...anyway i visited korea and i found ho bar II...unfortunately i dont know where it is...i was on a bus from incheon and i looked out my window and there was ho bar II!!! my mom said we were near the childrens park though...did you ever find ho bar I and II?

  • At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey. This blog is amazing . ALot of things have changed and you have inspired me to write one about Korea as well. Sinchon is not the same and I go to Yonsei Uni. so I have seen a lot change. I have been too lazy to write a blog but I will start soon. Thanks for the motivation.

    Please add me on facebook . Patrick Blacktrick( Name on facebook) or drop me an email at pndevz@yonsei.ac.kr

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Name: Jane
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