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!

8.11.14

Korea - Day 6

So my aim is to get these posts from this 2013 trip done before it's the 1 year anniversary of this trip. Fingers crossed!

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Day 6 of my trip begins early in the morning. Early for me, anyway. The friend I was staying with is an English language teacher and she had to get up early to walk to work. I decided instead of going straight to Seoul, as I had planned, I would walk with my friend to her school and hang around for a bit. I was quite excited to see where she works because I only ever hear, and not see, about their jobs.

Her school was only a short walk from her apartment. We walked through autumn-leaved trees among a whole bunch of students of all ages. Elementary, high school and university students.

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This is my friend's school in Daegu. I love their playground. The athletic track is awesome. Every primary school should have one.

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Roaming the hallways.

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I love these tiles. Love it.

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We made a visit to the school nurse's room. My friend was in charge of organising gift bags for the children in a local orphanage. So we spent part of the morning handing out the empty gift bags for the teachers to fill up with gifts.

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Oh hey, me, in my friend's classroom.

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LOVE beyond words. That's my fave out of these.

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This is their school lunch and I sat awkwardly with the school principal and other teachers. They attempted to make conversation. I think this was their version of hayashi rice (which is sort of a beef stew type dish). Apparently, I was lucky to have lunch there on this day rather than the day before as the day before's lunch was not as good.

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My friend's colleague kindly drove me all the way to Dondaegu Station to catch the KTX back to Seoul. Not many pictures because I was so tired at this point and like, pretty over taking photos.

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After I arrived back to where  I was staying in Seohyun. I did laundry, ate cup noodles, drank beer (that giant beer I bought on Day 1) and watched some YouTube on my phone because laundry takes a long time. Then I decided to head out in zero degree weather (not wearing enough layers at all) to Dongdaemun because I knew it would be open until late.

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This whatever is made out of plastic bottles which I thought was pretty cool.

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The actual gate at Dongdaemun. I didn't know (I know, ignorant) that Dongdaemun was the whole area. The markets. Everything. So I was walking around, in zero degree weather, looking for a sign that would point me to Dongdaemun. I realised it later. But then my enthusiasm had dropped as the temperature did.

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Food tents. Like in the KDramas, you guys.

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The upside of my freezing fail tour of Dongdaemun was stumbling across (well, it's not hard to miss) Cheonggyecheon River. I've seen photos of it in daytime, which were taken in summer and it looks like it'd be a lot of fun when it's warmer. I loved stepping across the stones to get to the other side. I love bodies of water so this was nice.

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Back to Seohyun. I didn't want to go back to the place I was staying yet. It was close to midnight but Angel-in-us Coffee was open 24 hours. I grabbed a not-so-great cup of coffee while warming up and trying to plan for the next day.

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Then my friend messaged me and we went for chicken.

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And we didn't finish the chicken between the two of us so yay. Leftovers. It was about 1:30am and yeah, freezing. So back to the apartment for warmth and sleep!

To Be Continued!

(Only maybe 6 more days to go! I will get this done. I will!)

2.8.14

Korea - Day 5

Long time, no blog! Soon it'll be a year since this trip and I won't even have posted everything! My motivation comes in waves. XD

You may or may not recall that Day 4 in Korea, I travelled to Busan. On Day 5, we start in Busan again. I woke up at a reasonably early time because I was going visit a pretty famous temple in Busan. I had to check out of the hostel which meant I had my Sportsgirl duffle bag (if you're Australian or been to Australia you know what bag I'm talking about), which held my clothes and other essentials that didn't fit into my backpack with me, being all large and heavy.

First stop was Paris Baguette for breakfast. Paris Baguette is similar I guess to Breadtop, basically. Except they also have, well at this one at least, coffee and other drinks and a place to sit to eat.

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That chef's hat. Fancy.

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My breakfast and my favourite item on their menu. I was using my 50mm f/1.8mm lens, hence all the blur.

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And a cafe latte. I think I've mentioned this before, but Korea doesn't do coffee well, in my opinion.

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I then made my way to the train station and I love that they have lockers there. I shoved my Sportsgirl bag in there, and attempted to remember where this set of lockers was. I was headed to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사), a temple that overlooks the ocean.

To get to Yongkung Temple I had to go back to Haeundae and catch a bus from there. You can use your T-Money on the bus to the temple. For some reason, I was a little unsure whether you could. I read that sometimes some areas of Korea don't accept T-Money and they have their own version of it. In my time in Korea I could the same T-Money on all transport. I got on this bus and I got a seat but then these older ladies got on the bus and with my rudimentary Korean I gave them my seat and told them to sit down. Someone soon vacated the seen and this older lady and I were trying to outdo each other with politeness, I guess. I was headed for the seat and then I saw the older lady and I was like "No, you sit down" and she was all like "No, you sit down" and this continued until she had to gently push me into the seat. I think she was being super nice because I was a tourist. And when I got off the bus and started walking the wrong way towards the temple and she nicely told me (I assumed, I couldn't understand and she pointed as well) that it was the other way.

It's a little bit of an uphill walk from the bus stop to the temple. I was basically following other people who I assumed were headed in the same direction.

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Stone statues line the path on your way into the temple.

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I don't know what these are but I like them.

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I like this photo but I'm a little upset that I didn't take the photo straight on.

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I love all that intricate detail in the painting.

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Look at that ocean. I love the ocean. I can barely swim but I love the ocean.

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Look how cute that bench is!

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This was my last day in Busan and I felt like I hadn't explore as much as I should. I think, if I ever travel to Korea again I would spend a longer time there. Apparently, summer in Busan is a lot of fun. Anyway, the last thing I decided to see while in Busan was Busan Tower. Because I love towers too.

To get to the tower you have to either walk up the stairs or take the narrow escalator. At this point, my feet were killing me. Still in pain from the previous day so the less walking, the better.

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And the tower!

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Surrounding the tour, anywhere there was space, were all these love locks and placards. It made everything look so pretty. So much colour!

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Inside there were these awesome tiles with messages on them. I assume messages are in the same vein of the love locks and placards

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And the view from the tower. The city looks like Lego and miniature!

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Then back to the station to head back to Daegu. And remember those lockers? I barely did. I did laps of the station looking at the numbers of almost every set of lockers before I could find mine. Took the KTX back to Daegu and was a little late to meet my friends in Daegu because I got off the wrong exit! Yay for Google Maps on phone.

Then it was dinner time and we had samgyetang, ginseng chicken soup. Perfect for a cold night.

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And then giant tubs of ice-cream because we could.

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I was staying the night at my friend's apartment in Daegu. Right near her apartment is a E-Mart, which is just an everything shopping centre.

They had a wide selection of beer.

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And soju, for roughing $2 or less a bottle. What in the even.

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And then giant, plastic bottles of soju, for like 4 bucks.

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Then back to my friend's apartment where she took me to the roof of her building. So dark and so late, we were a little freaked out.

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To Be Continued!