Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheonggyecheon 청계천

Hung out with KUBA buddies after school today! We took the bus (around 15-20 minutes) to Jongno and ate a spicy chicken dish (got to wear aprons again, this time with cute stars on them). There are a lot of restaurants and chain cafes around that area.

Then we visited cheonggyecheon. It's a pretty 5.8km stream where 120,000 tons of water is pumped daily. It was restored in 2005 as part of an urban renewal project and cost around $281millionUSD. Over the next 5 years, another $1.2billionUSD is going to be spent to redevelop the region near the stream both commercially and residentially.
You can cross the stream on stepping stones - how Korean!
They are celebrating a Buddhist's festival (hence the lanterns).Many more pictures to come soon. Must sleep.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Namdaemun Market 남대문 시장

Quick post before I zonk out:
Went to Namdaemun (Hoehyeon Station exit 6 or 7) to check out their famous market - the largest and longest-running retail market in Seoul. I heard that this place had just about everything and it's where retailers buy their items at wholesale prices. You can't really bargain here -- everything is so inexpensive anyway.
It kind of reminded me of Hong Kong's Women's market with all the stands that sold fake brand name items. It's quite big. They sell quite a bit of stuff - tourist-y items, electronics, clothes (though not exactly trendy... mainly for ajummas), accessories, and food! Lots and lots of foooooood.
Want a belt? You might want to try your luck at the belt store...
The hat store has a variety of cheap hats.
Catering towards young girls... so pink
Older Koreans love their Ginseng!Kimchi Chocolate! I will try it!
Polyester at its worst...
Boxers with the 10,000 bill (man won) on it...
Would you be my friend if I had big lips like this?
The more to kiss you with hehe
Next time, I think I'll just come to eat!
The cheapest food I have bought so far (for the quantity) - bao! 5 for 2,000won. There was a steady line-up of 5-6 customers so we decided to try it. Too bad it didn't taste anything like Chinese bao ='( The ones on the left had kimchi in them.Desserts made out of rice - very interesting tasting (I tried the powdered ones in the middle). There's red bean inside and it has a salty and sweet taste to it. 3 for 500won.
They have those tented outside booths where you sit on red plastic stools and eat street food and drink soju 'til you're drunk like in all the dramas!! We ate too many other street food to try this one... but next time for sure! It sure looked good.
Is this sanitary? Exposed chickens for sale... or you can use your money to buy a fake LV wallet.. it's right next door anyway and you probably won't get sick from it.
Vegetables you can kimchi!
What in the world is THIS?! Some sort of seafood?!
By the way, this is what is left of the significant historical symbol from the 14th century, the Great South Gate: Namdaemun. I'm sure you've heard that it was burned down just last year (an act of arson), but if you haven't, check out this site for a quick recap + some pictures of what it looked like before!
On the left side, there's a window and you can see that they're in the process of rebuilding it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recreating Moses' Miracle

OK so I didn't actually witness this, but I thought it was the neatest thing. Last weekend, some of the Singaporeans went to Jindo Island (about 6 hours away from Seoul) to participate in the Jindo Sea-Parting Festival. The sea literally parts (due to a difference in tide) and creates a 2.8km long road that's 40-60m wide. Thousands of people from all over Korea come to Jindo once a year to walk through the sea from the main island to a nearby island. Apparently you can find people digging for abalone, too.

Credits to Sheena
Oh no they got stuck!
But no worries, the boat will save them =)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kangnam-gu 강남구

Our day actually started in Apgujeong (love this district).
Bich, me, and the Boys Over Flowers cast in the subway.
Another neat way to advertise - these T-shirts were hung all over this street.Drank chocolate lattes @ De Chocolate on Rodeo. It's a 2-floor, cozy, minimalist chic cafe where a lot of stylish people and celebrities happen to hang out.
I bought a neat skirt from this little boutique on Rodeo. In the other stores, I actually saw a lot of the exact same things I bought at Dongdaemun except in Apgujeong, they raised the prices by approximately 15,000-20,000won because they can. Those who regularly shop in Apgujeong don't usually step foot in Dongdaemun's wholesale malls.Then we taxi-ed to the Kangnam district to buy some CDs at Kyobo bookstore. It was my first time in Kangnam. It's considered one of the most affluent districts in Seoul.
Kangnam is known for their bar+club+restaurant+cafe+noraebang district. This little area we happened to be drawn to because of the bright fluorescent lights that really made it look like it was still daylight at 2AM wasn't more than 4 blocks by 3 blocks and the roads looked like alleys. Everything on the main streets consisted of banks, business buildings, or chain cosmetics and clothing stores.We also received this brochure 5 or 6 times by aggressive promoters while walking around the bar district. What was funny about it was that was advertising a bar called the Boys Over Flowers Bar (kkotboda namja bar)! I would never have thought of a bar to have spawned from the popularity of that drama! From the pictures, it looked like there were 5 decent-looking men working there who call themselves F4 (the 4 good looking and suave guys from the drama).
At 9PM we finally found a place to eat in the district after being followed by people trying to get us to try their restaurant. The front of the restaurant advertised a chicken, rice, and cheese dish you cook in a hot, black skillet for 5,000won/person. We both wore red aprons to keep our clothes clean and at the door, there was a bottle of febreeze you could help yourself to to spray your clothes before you left! haha
A cute name for a cafe. It caught my eye because everything surrounding it (people, establishments) were loud and fast-paced.
After dinner we ended up checking it out, hoping for a quiet place to chat. Once you walk down that hallway, you're brought to this dark area mainly lit by oil candles. The servers were dressed so casually, I thought they were customers helping themselves -- they were quite pleasant either way.
There were some great personalized details that made this cafe charming like help-yourself chalk to draw on the cement walls, random figurines and CDs layed out everywhere, wine bottles, and signs related to "slowness". They played mainly alternative rock and soft rock. Upstairs was like a loft. They had mini wooden boxes on the floor and a bunch of oil candles, which gave it a very intimate vibe.The bathroom was also only lit by candles. Nice message~I was quite taken by this cafe ;)
Lovely, relaxing day spent out despite the rain =)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quiet Week

I'm back! Midterms are over (for most... I heard a professor didn't even show up for my friend's Investments course so it was rescheduled to next Tuesday!). I like studying, I very much dislike exams.

Whenever I pass this vending machine, there are always at least 4 people in line - even more during exam season! Why?? It sells coffee!
I'm sure we have this back at home but it's definitely not as popular (or as cheap) as it is here. They have many different kinds, all for 100won per cup (10 cents CDN). My classmates always pick the one with cream and sugar in it.
It actually tastes really really good. Only thing, is that you need more than 4 of these cups for the caffeine to kick in.The school ajumma-gardeners planted a ton of beautiful and vibrant flowers all over campus! I took this when I left the LG-Posco business building after my last midterm. Now all we need to do is wait for the grass to grow!
Anyway, now it's time for some fun and relaxation. How do you de-stress? Two words: Retail Therapy. I went on a shopping spree yesterday @ Migliore + hello aPm in Dongdaemun: 7 hours of shopping, a couple hundred.5 poorer, and a happy closet with 12 more items!
A cute ad for hello aPm!
So many cute/chic shoes (at the Underground Shopping Mall)... but they never have my size!
We sat outside to rest our feet for 5 minutes and I observed the steady stream of females leaving this tarot cafe!
I ate at the food court at hello aPm (9th floor) for the first time. They deliver the food to your table and take it away when you're done! Love the service. And I love bulgogi soup! Soups always come bubbling hot in these bowls.The weather forecast for this weekend = rain rain rain! Definitely does not make me want to go outside. I was supposed to go to a baseball game today but it was postponed to Sunday because of the rain. I just want to spend a whole day in a jimjilbang and relax!