Thursday, August 09, 2012

Korea Diary Day 1

This is my first full day in Korea.  We arrived at dinner last night and even though we were exhausted we awoke at 5:30.  Our only plans today were to meet my good friend for supper.  Other than that we just let our feet carry us through this day.

Here's where we started:

I was dying to go to Kim Bab Jung Gook, a cheap Korean restaurant, not only to eat the food but to say 'hi' to my ajjuma (old lady) friends.  For breakfast we had a tuna kimbap (sushi roll) and some spicy pork.  This meal cost $6 in total.  This is the country where you eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The thing that makes Korea so special to me are the people connected to the places connected to the memories.  If I went in any old Kim Bab Jung Gook restaurant I wouldn't get the same feeling as if I went into the one near my old neighbourhood.  This little ajjuma remembered Sung Hyun and me.  She was so happy to see me.  And her first questions was "do you have a baby?"  All the old ladies are the same!  She told us about how her business of 13 years is rapidly declining as a result of fast food chains popping up in the neighbourhood.  So sad :(

I took this picture for Annie.  Remember this study corner, my friend?

We walked to the end of the street and then decided we needed a cold drink FAST.  Apparently I forgot how f-in' hot this country is.  Mel, you would recognize this corner.  That Kim Bab restaurant is on the corner next to Woori bank.

We went for a walk through my old stoppin' grounds.  The first stop was one of my first apartments I had in Korea.  It's hard to believe that was over 7 years ago.

Here's my old apartment.  This should certainly be familiar to you too Mel!

Then we walked to Yeoungdeongpo Park.

And over the rock massager thingies.  Damn, these hurt my feet.  I can't understand how the Koreans can casually walk on these.

Next we went to Sung Hyun's old shop.  We must have walked for close to an hour at that point.  And I probably lost 13 pounds.

First he popped in to say 'hi' to some of the neighbouring shops.  And we got to drink this "Look at me!  I'm on a Diet drink".  Oh Korea, how I've missed your funny slogans.

Sung Hyun got to work.

This is where he used to work.  Space is so tight in Korea that they have no place to store the metal so they place it on the ground and work on top of it.  No safety codes here, my friends!

I sat around and practiced my Korean writing.  It's been two years since I did this!  

We treated my sweet neice to lunch because that's how things go in Korea -- if you're older you pay.  We had spicy deokbokgi and non spicy deokbokgi.  It was yummy!  Can you believe my niece is 25 years old?  She looks soooo young! 

Sung Hyun was exhausted from the walk so we took the bus home.

He had a nap and I blogged about my Korean MIL.  The funny story behind that long pillow is that Sung Hyun calls this his girlfriend.  I won't let him buy one in Canada because it takes up too much space in bed and he'll stop cuddling me!  When we were flying to Korea he said "oh yeah, at mom's house I get to sleep with my girlfriend".  He couldn't be happier.

Around 5 we set out on the subway to Hongdae, which I where I was meeting my friend for supper.  Even the air conditioned subway was HOT!  It wasn't very busy but the first words, when Sung Hyun stepped into the subway, were "wow, so busy here.  Let's go back to Canada"

So many interesting sights in Korea.  The streets are packed with eye candy (and I'm not talking about the Kboys, okay maybe just a little)

Time to escape the heat in a coffee shop

with some patbingsu.  This is milk, ice, red bean paste, nuts and doeok (rice cake -- those 2 balls on top).  It was refreshing but cost us more than our breakfast!

While I was there I hijacked mom's phone.  Can't wait till she sees this. 

Then we walked around the back alley.  I heard Sung Hyun say "I'm going to play baseball".  Sooooo random.  Things in Korea are just so random.  Never in my city in Canada would we walk around downtown and just randomly 'play baseball'. 

A dollar for 15 pitches.

Another picture for Annie.  Remember buying beer in this convenience store?  It's located across from your favourite park.

Aloe drink

Dinner and drinks with my friend at 7:30.  You might recognize Doyoung from this video.  When I met him it was as if I had never left Korea.  Sooooo good to see him again!

We were treated to dinner which was cheesy chicken, sweet potatoe and rice cakes with a side of egg rice and kimchi.  Thanks Doyoung.  Jolene, you'd love the food here!!!

Observations Day One:

1.  Things in Korea are generally more expensive than when I lived here.  Hello inflation!
2.  I completely forgot that I had to put my toilet paper in the garbage can and not in the toilet.

3.  I'm very surprised with how much Korean I actually remember.  Of course my listening is much better than my speaking.


ashattack said...

I'm living vicariously through you! This post made me homesick. Keep blogging in detail. I want to hear about every minute. Also, Sung Hyun is adorable.

Aaron McKenzie said...

Wait a minute: the ajumma at 김밥천국 complains about fast food chains eating into her business (pardon the pun)? That's ballsy given that 김밥천국 is itself a Korean (sorta-fast food) chain that inspires no small amount of bellyaching by mom-and-pop 분식 joints when a franchise opens up in the neighborhood. As the saying goes, business people love free competition...against everyone but themselves.

Anyway, enjoy your stay in Korea!

Annie-Me said...

FART! I want to be there with you so badly :(. I'm glad you are having the time of your life it looks like anyway. Yes of course I remember our old haunts. I can't wait till I'm done this program and can save up some money to take a trip with you my dear friend :)

Luvs ya. Have fun with the family and as for the cross stitch stuff don't worry about it...but I'm still interested in the paper ;P

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures. Keep them coming. I can see you are really enjoying Korea and visiting your old haunts must bring back some very special memories. Too bad it's so hot there. It will take a while to get used to that. We love you and we already miss you a lot. Dad took your car into the shop for repairs and I checked your house yesterday and spoke with your neighbour to the south.
Keep smiling and enjoy the rest of your stay.

Momma Bear

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I seriously need to book a trip to Korea very soon! My man has been there before, but I haven't and I need to go!

*Krista* said...

Okay that's it! Next time you go to Korea, Sean and I are coming with you guys! AHHHH!!! It's driving me crazy (but in a good way!) to see all these pics! I can't wait to hear about it in person while we celebrate by drinking some soju and eating galbi (post-pregnancy of course!) lol! Keep having fun and blogging!!!! :)

Why am I here??? said...

Well you are having the time of your life traveling the world. That's certainly something to appreciate :)

Yes, good point Aaron.

Annie.....seriously we have to take on Korea togther. I can only imagine how much fun we'd have stomping through our old haunts together. Korea makes me miss you.

Mom, you spoke with the neighbour to the South? I can't believe that!

I think you'd go crazy over the food and shopping Jolene.

Krista, yes we will start with soju and then we can start planning our trip together. Seriously this place is AWESOME (but you already knew that!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Jen!! It's so neat to see the things that are the same and kinda sad to see the things that are different. I used to love Yeongdungpo park. We used to go there all the time to have picnics and play badminton with Ajushi's lol


Anonymous said...

I fogot to put my name in the last post but you can probably guess it was me, Mel!!