Monday, May 27, 2013

Buddha's birthday in Seoul

After the tea festival on Friday afternoon, we got back to the Hadong bus terminal to get seats for a bus to Seoul. The man at the window said they were sold out for both the 5pm and 7pm buses. So we ended up having to take a bus back to Jinju and then get a bus to Seoul from there. While we waited at the Hadong terminal, there was a really creepy guy who kept following people around.  We also saw the 5pm bus with a ton of empty seats, but it might have stopped at another city to pick people up. Then when we got back to Jinju, we had kimbap at the place across the street and got on another bus. When we got to Seoul it was pretty late already - around 11ish - and we headed straight for the subway and then to our hotel that Dallas had pre-booked. The place was called we2 hotel and it was pretty nice. They had a popcorn maker and coffee machine in the lobby and a gold tub in the room. I hopped in the tub and Dallas watched TV. Then he got hungry so we walked to a CU and got yogurt and bananas.
Gold tub. Yes, I took a bath. Yes, it was awesome.
We went to sleep but got woken up fairly early because of construction before 8am, which we just think it wrong on principle. We got up around 10ish and got ready and left the hotel on our way to lunch. Dallas planned the weekend and wanted to take me to a couple of places, so he chose hotels based on where we planned to go for the day. We stayed in the Jamsil area that night. We went to the subway and put our bags in a locker, then walked around a lake and got called a married couple by the little kid who gave us crackers to throw to some fish.
Walking in the park on the way to get noodles

Then we went to a famous (at least to Koreans) restaurant for lunch. It's a jjajang place, which is hand-made noodles with black bean sauce with potatoes and peas and beef usually. We split a bowl of that and kimchi mandu, which were really spicy. It was very good. I also called my sister during lunch to wish her a happy early birthday because I wasn't sure I'd be able to talk to her later.
Jjajang and mandu
Mixing the noodles

After lunch we went to a coffee shop and got take-out coffees. Then we got in a cab and went to Olympic stadium. I had been before, but I ended up on the other side last time - this side was more of a park and had random sculptures all around it. When we first walked in, we saw the rings and a row of tiki statutes. Then we saw the flame and Dallas was impressed that it always burned, but I told him they all do.
Olympic stadium
The flame

Then we saw these golf cart/bicycle hybrid things and Dallas wanted to rent one. I didn't have a problem with that and I'm actually really glad we did, because we were able to ride around the whole park this way and we probably wouldn't have seen nearly as much of it if we had walked.
Bike/golf cart hybrid. I'm glad we did this instead of walking - it was much more fun.
Dallas driving our golf cart bike. I had a wheel, but it didn't work, so I just got to pedal. He let me steer once.
Driving through the flags of the participating countries
Flags and fountains from the other side of the lake
Another lake and part of the jazz festival. There were 3 stages - 2 outdoor and 1 indoor.
We rode all over for an hour and a half. The best times were when we'd find a bump and get speed to jump it. We also raced a Korean family once, although they didn't really know it. Whenever we passed a good or interesting sculpture, we'd park and take pictures, then hop back in and drive off.
Tiki head
Monument to the games with a list of who one which events.
Huge weeping willow
Nose pick!
Molesting the statue
Sideways in the statue
Thumbs up!
This one was back in the middle of the park through a pile of weeds.
Right before we turned it in, we met our friend Eve and her boyfriend Elliot who had tickets to the jazz festival at the park. We'd heard some of the music riding around, but neither of us were that into it and the tickets were expensive. So we met them for about 30 minutes and chatted before the concert started. Then Dallas and I got our stuff and headed to Hongdae to find our guest house for Saturday night.

Our second place was a guest house called blue 2. The directions we followed got us turned around and we passed the place at first and walked in a huge circle. Then we finally saw the sign that looked like a blue ghost from Pac-man. We walked in and the lady was nice but told us they had overbooked and would we mind going to the motel, M Motel, next door. We didn't and actually ended up with a upgrade because this place was super cute and had private bathrooms. We dropped our stuff off and sat around for a few minutes, then walked back to the guest house to borrow umbrellas because it had started to rain a little bit. Then we took the subway to the downtown area of Hongdae and went shopping for awhile. Of course I didn't buy anything, but Dallas didn't really find anything he liked either, which was surprising.

Then we went to dinner at a Vietnamese place and got pho. It was pretty good, but the best part was the peanut sauce we had with the spring rolls. After dinner, we had planned to go home and change before possibly meeting other people at bars. We opted not to do either of those things and decided to just stay the two of us. We walked around for awhile to let dinner digest and it started to rain harder. Then we went to a cocktail in a bag place and each got 2 because they are cheaper than drinks at a bar. We walked around drinking those and ended up going into a couple of stores. Dallas really liked one store, but they didn't have clothes that fit his shoulders. He ended up buying both of us some ridiculous sunglasses that have velvet on them. Mine are red and cheetah print, his are green and orange. Then we went to bar called t12, which is really nice and lit by candles. We stayed there for about an hour and talked a lot.
Candle light bar
At that point we decided we were ready to go dancing. Most of the dance clubs charge a cover, but gay bars don't, so we ended up going to a club called Queen. On the way there, I called my sister again to wish her a happy birthday for real this time. We had a really good time at the club - I met an army guy, an old Australian and his lesbian friend who is a make-up artist and put red lipstick on me, and a Korean who befriended me for the night. We also got free shots. We danced for a long time and I forgot how much fun that was.
In the alley. Dallas likes to take "candids"so he clicks the camera button a bunch of times. There were about a dozen pictures similar to this one, but at least one of us looks weird in all the others.
My new bff, who is wearing fashion glasses (aka just frames, no lenses).
We left around 3am, got water and Gatorade, and took a cab back to our motel. While we were at a stoplight, another guy got in the front seat of our cab. His name was Ryan and he was from Manchester. He was really drunk and rambling, so I don't really know much more about him. We had to walk up a hill to our motel, but it had stopped raining by then so it was ok. When I took off my shoes, I noticed that the combination of rain and dancing had made my feet turn green from my shoes, so I washed them off in the sick, then immediately fell asleep. We woke up around 9:30-10 the next morning because we wanted to get the free breakfast at the guest house. It turns out that meant cereal or toast. So we each had a peanut butter and jelly toast sandwich. Then I washed our dishes since Dallas made the sandwiches and we left to go to the next area.

We took the subway to Samcheondong, which is an older area in Seoul. The area had old traditional houses that people still live in. It's very popular and lots of people were walking around. The area was pretty cool, but it's all these steep hills, so I don't think I'd actually like to live there.

After walking around for awhile, we went to a traditional tea house. It was really cute and had a garden in the middle. Dallas got mulberry milk and tea and I just had plum tea. The man showed us proper technique for making the tea and then left us to it. We stayed there for about an hour, drinking tea and talking.
Tea house and garden
Me in the doorway of the tea house
Mixing mulberry milk
Plum tea
After tea we were kind of hungry, so we walked around a shopping area and found an Italian placed called Flora. It was really cute, but kinda pricey. We decided to split a Caesar salad and lasagna. They came out with flower petals on them and Dallas asked the waitress if it was ok to eat them, even though I told him they were because otherwise they'd have a lot of dead customers. Both things were really good - I missed real Parmesan! Then they brought us free dessert, which was like custard with fruit on it in little shot glasses.
Lasagna and Caesar salad at flora
After that, we walked around for another little while and got coffee and juice and went to the bathroom. Then we decided we were ready to get back home. We got to the bus station at like 3, but the next available bus wasn't until 7pm. At that point Dallas called Jayden, who did some research for us, directed us to another bus station and pee-bought our tickets for a 4pm bus. We got to the other station and found our way to get the tickets and our bus with 10 minutes to spare! It was an adventure! We had the last 2 seats on the bus in the center in the back. During part of the trip, the man next to me used my hip as an armrest, but it was a little chilly and he was warm, so I was kind of ok with it.
Bus ride home with new sunglasses
After we got off the bus, we went to a restaurant next to the station for dinner. Dallas had bibimbap and I had noodle soup. I had been there before with Corinne, so I knew I liked it. Then we grabbed a city bus back to my apartment, said goodbye and I fell asleep. It was a really good weekend. We didn't argue at all, had a lot of fun together, talked a ton, saw places we'd never seen before and had a bit of adventure. I will let him plan again if he wants to.

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