Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seoul - Summary Of Day 4

Traditional architecture at Namsangol Hanok Village.

  • Just like the previous two days, I woke up rather late again although I planned to go out early this morning. Freshen up myself and got ready to explore the city by myself today. Felt pretty confident that everything will go smoothly as I have done my homework the previous night; the only worry will be when I am ordering my food. Realised that I had forgotten to bring along my phone for me to refer to the time while walking halfway. Met with a group of young Thai girls while waiting for the subway.
  • Paid extra attention to every train exchange at the subway stations to make sure I don't go the wrong way. However, I somehow made a mix-up when I just followed the crowd blindly up the staircase when I didn't need to do that when I was transferring to another line halfway through my journey.
  • First destination on my plan was the Namsangol Hanok Village. Exited the subway station and saw the entrance to the Korean House; hence I decided to make a stop here first before heading to the Namsangol Village. Saw a huge number of people inside the area and soon noticed that they were waiting for a wedding ceremony to commence.
  • Thought of exploring the place more first but the more I walked, I soon realised that I was already in the Namsangol Village. Korea House is actually one section inside the village. Totally forgotten about the earlier wedding ceremony as I continued walking in the village; saw the ceremony had ended when I returned afterwards.
  • Used all sort of languages when I was asking for the visitors there to help me take my pictures, which included Japanese and English when I saw they're Koreans, and Mandarin for the Chinese while Cantonese when I heard them talking in that language. But most of the time, sign language is the best lol.
  • Got to play the Korean traditional games; one of them was spinning the top. Unlike us, they use a rope to hit the spinning top to avoid it from stop spinning. Took a break there by grabbing some local snack which resembles red bean mochi, but they coated this one with coconut. It was not bad. Took a photo with the old lady but she was so shy when we took picture together.
  • Stopped by at Myeongdong as it was along the way to N Seoul Tower. Saw a signboard which points to the Myeongdong Cathedral 200 metres away. Decided to made a stop there first. It was one of those rare time when I entered into the main hall of the cathedral and they were doing some memorial service. It was conducted in Korean.
  • It wasn't long after that that I realised that my camera battery was getting weaker. So I decided to change my itinerary for the day by postponing the trip up to N Seoul Tower; will be doing that on another night. Thought of going to the War Memorial of Korea, but in the end, it was also cancelled due to my battery problems.
  • Continued walking at Myeongdong area and grabbed a few light stuff to fill my stomach there; among others were a strawberry flavoured waffle, Korean version of gyoza which looks more like a pao to me and also a piece of cream puff. The pao was the best, in fact they prepared a few bottles of sauce for us to spray onto the pao.
  • Earlier, I went into one of the restaurants at Myeongdong area to have my lunch. Too bad the young waitress there couldn't speak English nor Japanese. I felt so bad as she tried so hard to explain the menu in English and Japanese, that she looked like she was gonna cry while shaking her body like a small kid who was gonna pee. She asked me to hold on as she called someone on the phone. I didn't know what she told that person; the only word I could catch was "oppa". Luckily, it wasn't "oppai" (boobs in Japanese) lol. I didn't have my lunch there in the end.
  • Saw a signboard pointing to the Central Post Office; just nice as I wanted to send something there. Tried my luck even though it's a Sunday and ended up at Korean Stamps World, a mini museum inside the post office which was closed. Asked the guy on the counter if he could do me a favour by sending it for me the next day. Bought the required amount of stamps and he told me my stuff will be sent the next day.
  • The next destination I detoured was supposed to be Seoul Station as I wanted to grab a few shots there but I saw the Bank of Korea Museum hafway. Since the admission is free, I went inside a while to look around the museum. By the time I was done at the museum, I realised that it was already almost six and my stomach was growling already.
  • Namdaemun Market was the next stop and here was when a person who doesn't shop like me gave in and went on a shopping spree because I just couldn't control myself. Imagine if Michelle is with me; surely we will have to walk all the way back home that night because I am very certain she will go crazy at this place.
  • Here is also the time when I realised that my bargaining skills is not that bad. I only remember about bargaining after I bought a yellow Simpson T-shirt at the first shop. From then onwards, I managed to get a set of jacket and long pants 10,000 won (RM 26) cheaper. Tell me, that ain't bad, eh?
  • Most of the time when I talked to the stall people, I would just use sign language. When they can speak Japanese with me, I'm happy; but when they talk only in Korean, I usually just smiled and said "kamsahamnida", then walked away lol. This is what will happen when you travel to a country that you don't speak the language. Damn sad can.
  • Decided to have a dinner at the hawker stalls at Namdaemum Market for an experience. It was rather a lesson than an experience as I realised I didn't have enough money to pay after my meal. Not enough money as in won because I had insufficient amount of won; the rest in my wallet at that time was only yen. I told the aunty I will be back a few moments later after I exchange my money nearby and luckily she just nodded with a smile.
  • It was already dark and I decided to call it a day. Tried to ask an uncle for directions to the nearest subway station to save time, but he waved me away immediately he saw my map was written in English. Saw another guy and he asked me if I'm a Japanese. I just said yes and he gave me the direction instantly. I'm still asking myself, which part of myself has any resemblance to a Japanese?
  • Came back by eight and managed to Skype with baby although we thought we won't be able to do so tonight, based on my initial plan. Checked my mails and made this update. Will be drawing up the plan for tomorrow after this. Signing off here.


zek said...

i'm in korea!
today was my 3rd day here.
am staying at somewhere near dongdaemun area.
i'm with my kosen fren.
will be here till friday.
u really dame alone?

zek said...


Anonymous said...

oppa means abang la calvin. musti die mengadu kt abg die la tu..hahaha

calvin said...

@ zek:
yes, this is a solo trip =D
i'd love to meet up with you, but the problem is we couldn't contact each other by mobile phone. anyway, are you traveling only around seoul and not going out of the city?

calvin said...

@ ulya:
i thought oppa means papa xD
i'm not sure, but i talked to her oppa on the phone for a while actually.

zek said...

we first went to busan and pohang for 2 days b4 coming to seoul.
seems like till fiday we'll be going around seoul only.
i'll probably be free on wednesday only coz a fren of mine here already have plan for us on other day.but i am thinking of going to Lotte World that day.
btw, how long will u be here?

mg said...

shopping!!! btw lotte world issit like the confectionery brand!!?? omg. i love lotte pepero!! it's like rocky stick!!! ^3^

calvin said...

@ zek:
i will be here till sunday's evening. i plan to spend all my ten days in seoul only 'coz busan is a bit too far away. however, my friend and i will be going to suwon on saturday. since you already got a plan, then i guess we meet on some other time =)

by the way, i'm staying over at my friends' place just a couple minutes' walk from anam station.

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
nope, lotte world is a theme park lol. no relation at all, okay? xD

Kae Vin said...

lol. you should ask someone to write down all the instructions, request, question on a paper and show it to them when u wanna say something :P

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
yea, that is what my friend did for me for the direction from the airport to his place on day one. that actually saved me a lot lol.

never mind, it will be more exciting like this. how often will you get to experience this kind of things, right? xD