2.5 months in Seoul, South Korea
Monday, July 30, 2007
SEOUL IN A WEEK: the whirlwind tour - part 2 of 3
Read SEOUL IN A WEEK: Part 1 of 3

Monday, July 23

We started off the second morning in Seoul somewhat American-ly. Starbucks red bean frappuccino-- a mix of Korea and America blended with some cream and ice~

Then we went to Namsan tower, highest point in Korea:

We decided to take a cable car up, and walk the stairs on our way down.
There was some kind of robot exhibition going on:
My favorite, a lion made of shredded car tires:

A somewhat foggy view of Seoul, but still cool~ On one of the observatories, the windows are labeled so that you can see which direction famous points in Seoul are.
We went to n Grill for tea and cake. N Grill is the restaurant at the very top of Namsan, reservation only and very expensivee.. The entire restaurant rotates so that you can see all of Seoul, 360 degrees, while eating your meal.
Stopping at an observatory on our way back down the numerous stairs, we got some people to take another photo for us :)

I think I would have melted if I tried to climb all these stairs UP to Namsan tower in the stifling humidity..

A fountain on the way down:

From the base of Namsan, we rode a bus that took us through City Hall and to Myeongdong, the bustling shopping district in Seoul.
Starving, we stopped for lunch at a Korean-Japanese restaurant:

I ordered ddukbokki, rice cake in this addictive spicy sauce.. it's also found at every street food stand in Seoul, fortunately. Here I dip dumplings, fishcakes, noodles, anything in the wonderfulll sauce.

Stir-fried udon, japanese noodle, topped with bonito flakes (dried fish) that wave around enticingly as the dish sizzles..

The best yogurt place in Myeongdong,
walls covered from ceiling to floor in Post-Its left by tourists all around the world:

They have soft ice cream YOGURT flavored--it's tangy and slightly sour and amazing. We ordered it twisted with mango ice cream.

We had time to come back to Sinchon for a quick shower, and then we headed out to Hongdae. Went to a bar called Asoka, very close to the Hongdae subway station, for watermelon and yogurt soju cocktails. The watermelon cocktail has real watermelon mixed into it, and the yogurt cocktail is... simply amazing.

First time that we've all been to a bar together, since Korean drinking age is 2 years less than in America, and all three of us are 20! Guys, you couldn't have visited at a better time ;)

In Korean bars, it's often expected that drinkers will order anjou, or drinking snacks. We got roasted fish and peanuts, with a spicy sauce and a buttery sauce:

It was really nice to just sit and sip.. talk and reminisce about middle school and high school, growing up and how we've changed so much and at the same time not at all. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I'd be in Korea, being able to speak Korean, and be confident doing all the things that I'm able to do now in Seoul, I wouldn't have believed them. And I wouldn't have even imagined that my two friends from Burlington would be in Seoul with me. Anyway, I'm happy and thankful with the way that things turned out, but like Marian pointed out, it's not just luck- we helped make our own fates happen. I'm proud of all three of us for working so hard to get to where we are now...

After the bar, we headed to norehbang, Korean karaoke room. Initially my friends were somewhat hesitant to go, and I later found out that they'd expected an American-style karaoke bar, with strangers listening to each other sing. Norehbang is very different-- you can reserve your own individual room for 10,000 to 20,000 won per hour, and your room is equipped with a large screen, two microphones and mike covers, a large floppy book full of songs, and tambourines for beating in time to the music. And yes, they have a full selection of American songs!!
Yes, it's Abba's Dancing Queen...

Tuesday, June 24
An animal filled day..

We went to breakfast at Dr. Fish Cafe in Sinchon.

The premise of the cafe may be a little too much for the squeamish. After you order your food and drinks, you take a nice relaxing foot bath.. Then you put your feet in a big pool at the center of the cafe..

And THEN you let little fish eat the dead skin off of your feet!
The fish come from China and were originally used to treat psoriasis.

It's a very strange sensation, having fish nibble on your feet... but somehow really refreshing! Afterwards we took another foot bath, this time with lavender oil, dried off our feet, and headed to the Seoul Grand Park Zoo!

Less than $3 to get in, but with an amazinngg array of animals and facilities,

Giraffes, my favorite:
Crossing a stream to visit the Insectarium:

We were lucky enough to be passing the kangaroo enclosure right before kangaroo feeding time! The kangaroo keepers let us in early so that we got to be alone in the enclosure feeding the kangaroos for half an hour!

Maddy and a dolphin water fountain:

And dinner... Korean fried chicken at Kyochon Chicken~!

Korean fried chicken is a completely different dish than KFC- it's freshly fried as soon as you order it, and flavored either with soy sauce and garlic or spicy sauce. It's also fried twice and more thinly so that it is crispier and lighter~~ and served with mild vinegary pickled radish that complements it perfectly!

We had our chicken with Korean Red Rock beer~

After dinner it suddenly began to rain hard, and we only had one umbrella between the three of us, so we went for shelter in a Board Game Cafe:

At board game cafes, you buy a drink and can choose from a catalogue of different games. We chose Clue, a game we hadn't played in years--the waitress had to dig up the English language instructions for us.
It was really nice to get out of the rain and sip our green tea lattes (Maddy got a honey tea latte) and hypothesize about who killed Mr. Boddy. Kinda made me miss being a kid.

Part 3... Biking on an island, a traditional Korean music performance, and Korean clubbing!

posted by Jane @ 7:57 AM  
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Name: Jane
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