Seoul, South Korea, Asia
I didn’t get a great night’s sleep at the hostel last night even though I had a single room. I had a pretty busy day though, so I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight. I went to meet SeAhn at 11:30am at the Gyeongbok Palace and while I was waiting, which was only for a few minutes, I had nine Korean people come and ask to take a picture with me, and three students ask me to answer survey questions. They were all very friendly and I was in good mood, so I obliged. I have no idea what they do with these pictures though. While outside the palace I got to see the changing of the guards. It’s not nearly as formal as when they do it at Buckingham Palace, but it was still cool to see. This palace was massive! It was similar to Changdeok that I went to yesterday, but just much bigger. We were there for a couple of hours visiting the different buildings, the folk museum and just walking around the grounds. It looks beautiful right now because all the leaves are changing color.
We walked from the palace to an area of the city called Insadong for lunch. I tried a kind of Korean chicken called Bulgogi. It was really nice, served like a chicken fajita on a sizzling skillet with vegetables. The Korean chopsticks are damn near impossible to use. They are flat, instead of round like all the other chopsticks I’ve ever used. I don’t understand the point of that, but I managed to get most of the food in my mouth. We walked around for a while after eating and Insadong is a very artsy area. There were loads of little shops selling hand-made crafts and jewelry, so it had a cool vibe.
Side note: One thing I’ve noticed about girls in Korea, besides them being the most attractive Asian women, is their attire. They have no problem wearing very tight and VERY short skirts, but they never show any cleavage at all. This is the first place I’ve noticed a trend like that through the whole city.
Anyway, we stopped in a little cafe in Insadong and had some ice cream, and strangely enough, it had red beans and peanut powder on it. They really like having red bean paste on sweet things, like donuts and ice cream, and it was not too bad. I’d mistakenly had a donut with red beans in it up in Dongducheon, and ended up eating it anyway, so I knew what I was getting into this time. We also had an iced quince tea, and that was awesome! Korea really knows what’s going on.
After having our little treat, we hopped on the subway and went down to the Han river. It is a really wide river that runs through the center of Seoul, but I never actually went to the other side of the river. We took a one hour cruise at 7:30pm and got to see a few of the famous bridges and some pretty cool buildings from the boat. We got really lucky with the weather and it was comfortable enough to sit outside on the deck to see the city pass by.
When we got back on land we hopped on the subway and headed over to a part of town called Itaewon. This is a part of the city right next to another American Army base in Yongsan. It was a hopping place with loads of bars and restaurants. We went for dinner at an incredible Italian restaurant and split a pizza and lasagna. It was awesome! We stayed at the restaurant for a couple hours before finally saying goodbye. It was awesome spending the last couple of days in the city with SeAhn. I just hope I can repay her for the meals some day in Edinburgh or Boston!