19.4.14

Korea - Day 3

On the heels of Friday night I woke up pretty early because we were going to Gyeongju to go to an orphanage. In the morning my friends told me about the previous night. If you don't recall, I got super drunk and don't remember a lot. The morning was a bit difficult for me. I felt terrible. Terrible hangover headache. My friend made me drink a hangover drink. Though, it was revealed, it's supposed to be taken before you go out and get super drunk.

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Dondaegu terminal. We were going to catch the KTX (Korea Train eXpress) to Geyongju.

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On the platform and look at that guy staring at me. I took a photo because odeng. Craving odeng right now.

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That roll from Paris Baguette was so good. Paris Baguette is a bread shop and they have pre-packaged bread stuff like this. I think it's crab? Amazingly good. I was thinking at the time I should remember the taste so I can remake it but I'm not too great with recognising ingredients. Next time, Paris Baguette, next time.

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Arriving at Gyeongju! Look at the tree-covered hills!

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Second breakfast which I didn't finish. I felt super bad because it was a small restaurant and the owners could see. This was bibimguk (spicy cold noodles). It wasn't what I wanted to order because it was cold in the morning so I wanted something soupy.

We then headed to the bus terminal to catch a bus and then a taxi to Ulsan, to the orphanage. I didn't take any photos of the orphanage but it's called Ulsan Orphanage (95 per cent sure), if you want to look it up.

My friends have been volunteering there for a while. They go on Sundays and spend a couple of hours with the children. It's pretty tiring and the language barrier made it quite difficult. Apparently, some of them get dropped off there if their parents can't look after them for a while.

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Waffles! I want to say it's taro ice-cream in the middle.

Then back to Daegu for dinner.

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Chicken, you so good!

To Be Continued!

18.4.14

Korea - Day 2

Well, on this long weekend I finally feel a little productive. So let's continue with the Korea posts! DAY 2!

When I last left you I had just gone to bed after a long first day. It was November and wasn't as cold as I thought it would be. I slept in my giraffe onesie that I brought with me. It was super warm. I was sweating in my sleep.

The friend that I was staying with had class that day and I was headed to Daegu with another friend. So we were up pretty early in the morning. Early being relative because generally if I don't have uni or work I sleep until it's embarrassingly late.

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It was a very lovely autumn morning and we were off to have breakfast at a place my friend recommended.

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We had breakfast at this place.

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Obviously you get side dishes at a Korean restaurant.

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So this was breakfast. A soup, rice dish. It was very good on a cold autumn morning. The name escapes me! And it was very healthy. I felt really good about myself after that breakfast.

Then my friend and I departed Seoul for Daegu. This involved taking the train to the bus terminal at Gangnam. The bus terminal is pretty massive and was a little confusing for a first-timer like me. You buy your tickets from a ticket window. There are different types of buses and there are lots of bus gates. We got on a pretty nice bus. Nice seats. Then we were on our way to Daegu. It's about maybe 2 hours by bus.

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Trees from the bus. I also, in the search for more photos of the bus ride, realised that I didn't take many photos of the bus. I mostly slept.

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A photo from the rest stop that we took about halfway through the bus ride.

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Once we got to the bus terminal we still had to catch a train to my friend's apartment. Then we were headed to Downtown Daegu for some Saturday night fun!

So Daegu, according to Wiki, is the 4th largest city in South Korea and is about 198 kilometres from Seoul. It's much closer to Busan, which is on the other side side of the country.

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So this is where we going to meet up with some other friends.

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Look at all those shops!

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And this photo only exists because I was told this place was awesome but I never got to eat there.

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So we had dinner here which was a buffet that also had a sushi train. Which is awesome. Unlimited sushi for a set price. The best.

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Also, for a little bit of extra won (the currency in Korea not the English word won) you can have unlimited Cass beer on tap. Self-serve. That would not work in Australia. There would be so much mess.

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Then we went to an Irish bar for more drinks. There was a live band playing and lots of what I'm going assume are also English teachers.

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I got to try a long island iced tea in a bag. I was told that Korea doesn't have something like an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) so generally cocktails are stronger than they would be here in Australia. This was my ruin.

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The above is a self-serve bar. You go to the fridge, pick your beer, drink your beer then pay later. I do not recall the paying of my beer. I don't recall a lot.

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A map of the world, and beers?

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We then left the self-serve place to go home. Self-serve place right is next to the cocktail in a bag place. I vaguely remember up to this point. I got to meet some of my friend's friends who are also teaching English in Korea. Apparently, I don't recall, that I kept telling one of them that koalas have chlamydia. I further don't recall that we caught a taxi back to my friend's apartment. Or getting into the apartment and I vaguely remember changing into my PJs. Yep. Good times.

To  Be Continued!

10.2.14

Korea - Day 1

When I last left you I had just arrived at Incheon Airport at around 3:30 in the afternoon. Getting out of customs was pretty smooth. As soon as I got out I went to the toilet to put on stockings under my jeans because I thought it would be super cold. It wasn't as cold as I thought. I had too many layers.

Anyhoo, the first thing I did was go to the Olleh kiosk to rent a portable WiFi device (http://roaming.kt.com/renewal/eng/wibro/rental.asp). If you do ever go to Korea, having this WiFi device is very useful. You can reserve one online. I didn't and I worried that they were going to run out but they didn't. You grab a number from the machine and wait 'til your number is called. They speak English, which makes the process of renting easy. They photocopy your passport and your credit card and you sign a form. They charge your card when you return it at the airport. FYI, you return it to the same place you picked it up at arrivals not, as I thought, at the Olleh kiosk at the departure terminal. Wasted so much time in line.

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Then I headed to the bus terminal to go to my friend's house. I had researched buses beforehand and it cost KRW 12,000 which is around $12 AUD. It was a pretty nice bus and it took a little less than an hour to reach Seohyun Station, which is where my friend lives.

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I got off the bus and I was trying to get to AK Plaza to meet my friend and there was a footbridge. With stairs. And I'm weak and I was struggling to carry my luggage up the stairs. When I was half way up the stairs, some lovely old man carried it up the rest of the way for me. He was saying some things in Korean which I did not understand. When we reached the top of the stairs he gave me my bag and walked briskly away. I hope I remembered to say thank you.

I KakaoTalked my friend and told him I arrived earlier than expected and tried to figure out a meeting place. I had no idea where a good place to meet would be so I ended up on some sort of walkway above the road. This is the view from where I just decided to wait:

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After my friend met me somewhere near AK Plaza, we walked through the plaza itself. It was such a fancy shopping centre. Lots of high end brands like Prada. I showered and got dressed because we were headed out to Gangnam for food (FYI, did not hear Gangnam Style the whole time I was there XDDD) and meet a couple of other friends living in Korea right now.

Look at the super clean subway!

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So the first drink that I had when I arrived in Korea was Starbucks. Naturally. It was November so they were selling Christmas drinks which I did buy. A cold one because I was sweating so much. Too many layers.

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We then head to Mies Container in Gangnam for dinner. The first thing that my friends told me about this place is that there are only male staff and that they're supposed to be good looking. I only got to see the one waiter up close so I don't know if that is correct. My friends eat at Mies a lot so I'll have to trust them on this! Here's a CNN article about it.

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It's an industrial themed (I guess?) fusion restaurant. Lots of cheese and lots of potatoes and relatively cheap once the bill was split between 4 people. Very busy and noisy and had very low light but a really good vibe to it. I wasn't really hungry so I didn't eat a lot which I regret because I didn't get to check it out again during my time in Korea.

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Look at that pretty, artsy thing in Gangnam.

We then headed to E-Mart because my friend needed to buy extra bedding because we were all staying at his place that night.

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So E-mart is amazing. It has everything. Food, drink, alcohol, bedding, clothes AND it's open 'til midnight. MIDNIGHT, you guys. I know we have some K-Mart stores that are 24 hours but they don't have the huge range of products that E-mart does. Bedding bought we headed back to my friend's place, via taxi, and relaxed and warmed up a little.

My friend lives near AK Plaza, a huge shopping centre, and surrounding it are a myriad of other stores and restaurants. At around 2am, in the freezing cold, we headed out to Angel-in-us Coffee, a Korean brand cafe, for random late night drinks. Korean coffee, in general, I don't really like it. Not as good as Australian coffee.

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And then off to a convenience store and look at that cheap soju. That 1, 200 won is about 1 dollar something AUD. In Sydney that would be 12 or 15 bucks a bottle. Yeah. Unfair! I purchased a litre bottle of Cass beer (not pictured, surprisingly) and I was carded! I had no idea what they were saying (and after this experience I tried to learn the Korean words for I.D.) and my friend was like, "She wants you to show your ID". I showed her my passport and yay beer purchased. I want to say it cost maybe 5, 000 won. In any case, it was super cheap and it's the only reason I bought it.

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And odeng! At 2-ish in the morning in winter was awesome. So good. I wish we had carts open that late in Sydney. I'm planning on visiting Korea again in the summer and I wonder if odeng is only a winter thing. Hopefully not, because I wants to eat more!

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Then we headed back and after changing and washing my face I collapsed onto the newly bought bedding and slept!

To Be Continued!