Korean Food & Suwon
Trip Start Mar 30, 2011
50Trip End Jun 16, 2011
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Saturday night about 20 of us met up at the sister hostel for Kimchi, the Hongdae hostel. There we drank for about an hour before heading out at 11:30 P.M. Our group consisted of Americans, Swedish, Malaysians, Spanish, and English, and probably some other countries as well.
We ended up in the Hongdae district and went to a club called Papa Gorilla. Admission was free to foreigners so that was a plus. The club was packed and hot and not really to my liking. We found lockers inside the clubs that people put their jackets and purses in, so that was something I did like about the club
We ended up staying here drinking and talking until 5:30 AM, time really flies in Korea and you can drink 24/7 even on the streets. We came home and manage to crash at the hostel.
Sunday April 03, 2011
I awoke at 10:00 AM and was thirsty and hungry. I ended up getting some water from downstairs in the hostel but for some reason I didn't eat. I had facebooked Jennifer, the native Korean who I had met on the plane when I flew into Seoul and she agreed to show me around the city at 2:00 PM. I had four hours to get to the Korean War Museum and back. I somehow manage to go the entire tour all the way until about 2 before I even eat anything. I think my stomach is getting smaller, and while I was hungry I was surprisingly pleasant. I didn’t yell at anyone, but of course I was alone.
An odd note about the subway. They have promo videos on the TV's of what to do if a fire from a molotov cocktail or a gas bomb goes off. They have bloody people in them and are pretty graphic to be blasting on the subway. I found this amusing yet concerned that such things are openly broadcasted.
Also, Korean Internet rocks, it is the fastest int he world. Everyone on the subways has iPhone 4g, iPod, etc... I mean EVERYONE.
Back to the the War Museum was pretty informative and very well done. I knew I would not be able to see it all so I stayed on just the right wing. I explored the yard and saw all the planes and tanks. The first floor inside the Museum focused on ancient Korean history. My favorite thing was the Turtle Ship replica, followed by the 8 foot long sword. The blade was 6 feet (see the picture).
The second floor was devoted to the Korean War. The exhibit I saw focused on the Inchon landing by MacArthur. I watched a video about it and laughed at the music for the video. The music was your classic John Wayne cowboy music, the kind where he is ridding off into the sun. I thought to myself, this must seem like the only American music they can put this video too, and they viewed the Americans as the crazy cowboys riding in to save the day. I found it quite funny.
The top floor was focused on Modern and Future warfare. This had a cool suit of Body Armor that looked like a Spartan (See picture) and a gun called the Corner Shot
I manage to make it back to the hostel with about an hour to spare. I ate some very spicy Ramen noodles from the market, I didn’t really like them. 1200 won wasted.
Jennifer showed up promptly on time. We headed out to Isaedong. This district is where the traditional Korean food and trinkets are. We were joined by one of her friends once we arrived at Isaedong. In short, this place was awesome, exactly what I was looking for. Jennifer was a great guide and translator.
First off, Korean Pop Music. I have heard the same song four times now in random places, this time I was along the street with Jennifer. She did not know who it was since she just got back from LA. Also, while we were in Isaedong, We stumble across a poster of Girls Generation a, not 3, not 4, but 9 member girl pop band. All I can say is Korea has it right, girl bands are way better than boy bands, especially when there are 9. Apparently they are very famous in China, Korea, and Japan.
I ate a lot of different things, some which I don’t remember; maybe I can get Jennifer to tell me what they were. I ate very good dumplings, a fish cake wrapped around a hot dog (or its equivalent) that tasted like a corndog from the State Fair of Texas. I ate a sweet pancake like thing with warm cinnamon gooey honey in it. This taste like peanut brittle only soft, very good
I asked Jenifer if she had ever eaten dog, and she said no. This is funny because no sooner than we were talking about this we turned the corner and found a “No eat dog Campaign!” This was hilarious. (See pictures).
WE then wandered though an area with some traditional Korean Houses before arriving at the Blue House. This is where the Korean President stays, and the guard here is very strict about where you take pictures. You are only allowed to take pictures of the main gate. Jennifer and her friend had never been there before so they were exited as well.
We decided to journey back to the subway and had to the Banpo Bridge to see the light show. Along the way we talked about Korean life. Apparently the kids go to High School from 7 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Friday. It is very stressful; Jennifer said she would prefer to move to America. She also told me about the Korean Fashion since which I can still not get over. Koreans are very trendy, they are very nice and classy people. It is just amazing to see these girls walking all over the city, tourist attractions etc… in stiletto heels.
WE made it to the bridge after dark, according to Lonely Planet it only has the show on the weekends. We waited for about 45 minutes
Jennifer and I went to the Metro and parted ways. I thanked her and bid farewell. Overall I had a very enjoyable day and a great time with Jennifer.
Sunday night everyone in our dorm room was tired. It was only 11 PM but everyone crashed and I finally slept for a decent 8 hours. Apparently 6 AM put a damper on everybody’s energy.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Christian and I (the Swede) decided the night before that we would go check out Suwon Fortress and get out of Seoul a little bit. After a chicken sandwich for breakfast we jumped on the subway at 9ish
There are skyscrapers even an hour out of the city. Apartments are everywhere. Jennifer had told me about 15 million people live in the city area, I can see that now.
We arrived in Suwon, which is also a central train terminal. The tourism booth man told us that it was about a 40 minute walk. We looked at the map and said it couldn’t be that far.
Just like Vegas again, just because you can see it doesn’t mean it is close. We arrived at the perimeter wall and were both surprised that the city of Suwon was actually very developed within the walls. We headed over to Hwaseong palace. Again the architecture is just amazing. The details that are place on the roofs is simply astounding.
Also, the weather here was a lot warmer, with both got hot and finally I had a day were I did not wear a jacket
We played a game were the object is to throw an arrow into a ring that is flat with the ground; neither of us made it once. After that we hiked up to the lookout tower. Along the way we saw a rock pyramid like they have in New Mexico. The ones were people stack rocks on it as they go, I forget what they are called. (See Picture) I told Christian what they were and we each added our stone as contribution.
We also met a group of Koreans and a man who talked VERY loud. He was so excited to see us and asked us about ourselves. The ladies with him said we looked like movie stars, they said the sunglasses did it.
After reaching the top winded we admired the view. From up here there were apartments and skyscrapers beyond what the movie and pictures show. The smog obscures them on my camera (see pictures). We took a well deserved rest in the tower with our shoes off.
After that we decided to go eat. We found a traditional restraint where you sit on the floor. We both wanted to do that so we choose to eat here. This time we ordered the Wild Pig BBQ. Basically this was a giant plate of bacon and about 20 sides. We both loved it, I especially liked this oily salt sauce that you can dip food into. The Kimchi (marinated cabbage in a hot sauce) I tried again and still did not like. I have tried it three times; unfortunately I cannot get on the Kimchi band wagon. The total cost for two, 10,700 won.
We took the long journey long home and arrived around 5PM. Tonight we plan on hitting up Hongdae again, and tomorrow I am training off to Busan for beaches and Cherry Blossoms. Hopefully it will be warmer!
Quote of the Blog
“It’s a no eat dog campaign!”
Food Disliked: Kimchi and vegetable rice thing
Number of wrong subway exits taken: 1
Energy Level: High
Friend made: Jennifer and Christian