22.5.15

Korea - Day 8

I am determined... (Long time, no blog).

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I last left last year with Day 7 of my late 2013 Korea/Japan trip. We are up to day 8! Huzzah!

My friend is an English teacher in Korea so we were both up early. He had to go to work and I had to catch a bus back to Seoul.

First things first, catching the bus to the bus terminal.

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I actually had to stand because it was quite full of students on their way to school.

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Entry to the bus terminal. You have to go to a ticket counter to buy the ticket. I wanted to catch a later bus to Seoul so I had time to grab a coffee (it turned out to be terrible coffee and perhaps not worth the extra few minutes). This was difficult to convey with my limited Korean and the lady ended up showing me the screen and I pointed to which bus I wanted to take.

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The aforementioned coffee and my bus ticket. Buses like these, as compared to the normal, local buses, have assigned seating. I was seated next to a middle-aged Korean man who kept trying to talk to me, which I didn't want because I wanted to sleep. At the time I found it creepy (he put his email address into my phone) but I suppose he wanted to practise his English? Either way, when we alighted from the bus in Seoul I made sure to walk a different path to the exit than him at the bus terminal.

By the time I got to Seoul it was nearing lunch time. One of the things I had planned to do while in Korea was to try out a restaurant that a friend had recommended.

The restaurant was in Apgujeong which is a particular rich area of Seoul and also home to lots of K-Pop entertainment agencies.

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For lunch, on my lonesome, I ate at Hanilkwan. A pretty fancy Korean restaurant.

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As you walk in the lobby walls are full of autographs of famous Korean people. I don't know who a lot of them are. The middle, bottom one is SNSD's Jessica. (Or rather, I guess, Jessica formerly of SNSD?)

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First things first, side dishes. They couldn't all fit into the shot and I was the only tourist it seemed because no one else was taking photos.

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And these were my favourite. Some sort of pancake.

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And the main was my favourite of all the Korean meats, galbi.

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And this was my attempt at having it all.

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And this modest dessert to finish it off. I'm not sure what it was exactly.

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After a coffee break, getting my nails done and general wandering around I headed back to my friend's place.

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Passed by Tous Les Jours for a coffee and to just look at some pretty nice bread.

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In almost freezing weather (it got down to actual 0 degrees Celsius and I was not wearing enough clothes) I headed to Dongdaemun which is famous for its markets and its gate.

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The fried and battered chips on a stick was excellent and inventive. We need those.

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I met up with a couple of friends and we headed to Hongdae. A popular and trendy district in Seoul which we arrived at too late. Everyone was headed back down the tunnel to catch the last trains home. My friends and I had booked a room to stay overnight in neighbouring Myeongdong so we wouldn't have this problem.

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At the time (in 2013) the Egg Bread street food was pretty popular. Kept seeing it pop up on blogs and instagram and twitter. Fluffy and warm which was perfect for a cold night out.

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We ended up, for some reason, at an Irish pub. The staff were really lovely. We kept holding our phones to ceiling to Shazam songs and the staff would either turn it up louder or write the song on a piece of paper and hand it to us.

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Baby Guiness
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Long island iced tea and something else. One my friends vomited and the last few hours of the night are a bit sketchy to me.

Cocktails

We also ordered popcorn to soak it all up. Futile attempt.

Popcorn

We then caught a taxi back to our hotel and we just knocked out.

And this should be for Day 9 but I feel it's relevant. Cup ramen and coffee. Food of hangover champions.

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To Be Continued!

(Hopefully sooner rather than later!)

9.11.14

Korea - Day 7

It is with renewed enthusiasm that I start to put together this post! Day 7! Over halfway there!

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As you've probably gathered I have, or had in 2013, a few friends who taught English in Korea. One of them lives and teaches in Cheongju which is a couple of hours bus ride from Seoul. I think, from memory. It's not close.

I was planning just to make a day trip of it because it was a weekday and I didn't want him to have to put up with me when he had work the next day but he didn't he mind so overnight trip!

To get to Cheongju required catching the train to the bus terminal in Seoul then a bus from Seoul to Cheongju. It cost 8, 800 won which is about maybe 10 bucks for an over 100 kilometre trip.

But first, breakfast! Or lunch. It was midday when I got to the bus terminal.

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You can't by the photo but that is pretty awesome soup on a cold day.

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My ticket to ride.

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I arrived at Cheongju at 3:30pm. Caught a taxi to his school. I told the taxi driver in Korean where I wanted to go but he tried to talk to me and I had no idea what was going on. He got me there and helpfully pointed out where the school was.

The view of the school's playground from my friend's classroom.

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This is the rewards chart my friend made for his classes. Designed like didgeridoos.

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The school. Seriously, out of KDrama. (Well, I suppose obviously, this is what schools look like in Korea.)

Bokdae Elementary School

Before we went out for dinner, my friend had to take his cat to the vet. What a nice looking place.

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And of course there's a Starbucks.

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A sweet potato vendor.

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It took until Day 7 of the trip to have Korean BBQ in Korea. My other friends after a year and bit in Korea were sick of Korean food. But not this guy!

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Also, how good is it to have meat at Korean BBQ that is not frozen. So good.

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What I also liked about this BBQ place, which is apparently common in Korean, is they have complementary Febreze you can use so your clothes don't stink. That kind of thoughtfulness was awesome.

My friend then took me to a batting range in which I failed to hit any balls.

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Afterwards we went to this pretty cool cafe (I guess you would call it that?) where they had random snacks and hookah. I was later informed that shisa is apparently like having hundreds of cigarettes, which is a shame because I liked it. But I care about my lungs and health and so never again, which is a shame because it was nice.

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Dropped by a convenience store to pick up snacks and drinks. All that leftover, discounted Pocky after Pocky day (11 November). Pocky Day is sort of like Valentine's Day for whatever reason.

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Then dropped by an arcade to take sticker photos and do karaoke in a tiny little booth, which was awesome. We so should have these. One person karaoke wouldn't feel so bad in a room like this.

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Then walked back to friend's place while drinking beer. Oh, if we could only drink in the streets here.

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One thing that surprised me that despite Cheongju being a relatively small town there was so much to do. Sydney, get your shizz together. There is nothing to do in my area at night. Like, nothing. Not even vending machines if I was peckish at some random time of night.

To Be Continued!