Every time Andrew and I go to a tropical destination we go snorkeling. Except for that time in Hawaii where we went to snorkel but the rain dumped on us so we didn’t get in the water and instead went to brunch and that is not technically a snorkel, it’s more of just a snorkel-brunch or a snunch.

Every time we go snorkeling I think, “I want to SCUBA (which is actually okay to just be scuba these days as we have adopted the acronym as a word, so I will no longer scream at you as I write the word – also, bonus Words With Friends trivia) dive”. But then the follow-up thoughts are along the lines of, “Andrew doesn’t dive and if we go to a dive place he wouldn’t dive with me and I like my boyfriend and want to keep him so no sense looking for a new one just based off of one water sport … probably … so I’ll just keep snorkeling”

The weirdest part of all of that is that Andrew loves the water. When planning trips they are usually water adjacent destinations. He loves hearing the water. He loves showering in it (there are sometimes 5 showers in his day). He even likes to drink it – in fact it’s the most common drinking fluid for him as a contrast to red wine for me. But, if you ask him to swim in it or put his face in it, or god forbid be completely immersed, his polite response would be, “FUCK NO BITCHES I AM OUTTA HERE”- with the exception of snorkeling, but even that takes a bit of warming up to the head-in-water bit, to include several measured tests of the life jacket’s actual flotation capabilities.

Then it dawned on me. Andrew is an introvert. I don’t need to plan on doing things that he can do too. I just do my thing and he’ll do his and we’ll meet up at the end of the day and talk about how fun it was to see an octopus in its natural habitat or how many life vests were gone through before the perfect floating dynamic was acheived.

So I signed up for open water scuba certification with Adventure Sports**** in Portland.

Leading up to last weekend, I spent the week doing an e-Learning module that went over the basics of scuba. Then last weekend was spent mixing class time reviewing the material, getting fitted with gear for the water and 8 hours of time in a high school gym pool. Mostly the practice was what to do in case of emergency so that you don’t die. In fact instead of calling it scuba certification they should call it “How not to die in the water when panic alarms go off in your head because you are not a fish and why are you swimming so deep anyway, can’t you leave aquatic life to itself? I mean you chose to evolve out of the water* a gajillion years ago, maybe just leave it”. I think that has a nice ring to it.

At the end of last week I called all my already certified scuba friends and told them we were going to start making diving dates. Then I called all my non-scuba friends that should do scuba and told them how much they would love scuba and that they should take it. Then I called Andrew and told him how much he would hate being under water and being scared to death by all the “don’t die” activities that we learned.

Then I spent the week looking at scuba gear porn**.

Mind you, I did not purchase any gear, which is terribly unlike me. Just ask all of my tennis gear and bouldering gear and roller derby gear stashed away in the downstairs “Hadas once tried this sport and liked it for a minute” room in our house. I did buy goggles though. But this was so that I could have corrective lenses and actually see the octopus I would be hunting.

This weekend I drove up to Hoodsport, Washington, home of highway 101. I checked into Sunrise Motel around 8 pm on Friday night and got myself settled in. I had some work to catch up on so I linked into the wifi and immediately found out that the wifi was sketchy. As was the T-Mobile reception. I hadn’t thought to bring a book with me – because, 2016 and wifi. After about an hour of being squirrely and getting some non-Internet work done, I settled onto the bed and tried to turn on the TV. The remote didn’t work. I got up and turned the TV on, at the TV, like an animal. I tested out the remote control – volume worked, nothing else did. Well, whatever, I don’t care what’s on, it’s just noise. And that’s when I watched The Big Bang Theory for the first time in my life.

My thoughts on this show are as follows:

  • It’s fairly funny – which was somewhat surprising actually
  • It’s super-misogynistic, to an uncomfortable level at times. I actually, out loud, said, “gross” multiple times, I guess I Grossed Out Loud – GOL.
  • I am not sure if it is autism empowering or cruel…
  • Five episodes in a row is about 3 episodes too many – I wish I didn’t have to turn the TV off like an animal.

I awoke the next morning and got to our pre-designated meeting-hotel-room location at 8AM on the dot. I was the last one there. We went over rules and an overview of what we were going to do to not die in the water that day. Then we did a tour of the hotel and started prepping and donning our gear.

I want to tell about every dive, but mostly I think it’s a thing you have to experience to really get. The water visibility was shitty (at best 7ft at worst 3ft) and that made things pretty scary at times. I did two dives the first day and two dives the second day. I saw sea anemone and baby wolf eels and tires and a sea whip and crab and shrimp and starfish and some pipe looking equipment and sunfish – which look like too-many-armed starfish only lazier. Mostly, though, I learned that I could be under water for an extended amount of time, feeling somewhat panicky at times, and not die. I can remain calm enough in stressful situations to not die. And I can have very limited visibility, lose my instructor for a minute, do hand signals, share breathing apparatuses, take my mask off and put it back on and clear it all underwater, hunt for octopus with no luck, ascend and descend, and not die.

In the end, I passed all the certification stuff. I also learned that if you can dive in the Pacific Northwest, you can pretty much dive anywhere.

Now I am going to go eat all of the food and sleep all of the sleeps because diving is exhausting.

Then, on our next vacation near water, I will take a trip into it and Andrew will swim above me, and we will likely both not die***.

*probably not true

**what I mean by this is just looking at and ogling scuba gear. I don’t know if there is actual scuba gear porn. But, I would not Google it if I were you. Unless you were into that sort of thing… then Google away.

***past performance is no guarantee of future results.

****I highly recommend this company. They were really nice and patient and thorough. Go to them for all of your scuba diving needs. They will keep you alive (and entertained while they do so).

Subway – Eat Continuously!


The good news, is I think I am fully acclimated to the time change now. The bad news is, we head back to Portland on Sunday. Woke up at 6:30. We both have a mild cold but nothing we can’t vacation through.

Normally, and for the past 4 years, I have been gluten free.No,  I am not celiac. Yes, I have read the research about how people aren’t really sensitive to gluten unless they have celiac. But, I can tell you that my stomach doesn’t like it, and neither does my psoriasis and arthritis, nor my depression. But, being gluten free in a foreign country is pretty limiting – especially one that uses soy sauce in cooking. So, while in Korea I have just hung up my gluten free hat and crossed my fingers. And, for the past week I have had no noticeable issues. It turns out I have no sensitivity to Korean gluten!

After a slight argument about whether I should chance it, we rode the subway for about 35 minutes to an American breakfast house and I ordered a stack of poison pancakes. For the whole subway ride home I felt like I was going to die: with bad nausea, a sudden crashing headache and the spins. As it turns out, I am sensitive to Korean gluten when it’s in English.

We came home and napped it off.

I really like the apartment we are in, save for two things. The bed is slightly more firm than the floor (it seems like this is a running theme in Korea). I am not really sure why they go through the motions of having mattresses at all – it feels like false advertising.

The other issue with this apartment is the toilet, it’s not firmly mounted. I feel like I am in training to ride a bull in a bar that thinks peanut shells is floor decor. On the up side, I am getting a core workout even without going to CrossFit.

While Andrew has been sick, whenever I ask how he’s feeling he says “blugh.” Today however he upgraded that to “mlech.” So we went back to Myeong-dong for more foods on sticks and to buy cute socks.

Then this happened:



Andrew really wanted this Shiba Inu’s attention, but the dog was a little snappy at him.

It’s a dog cafe. Like a cat cafe. Only with a lot more peeing on the floor.


This little long haired dachshund came up to me and just curled onto my lap and took a nap – until my legs fell asleep and I had to kick him off.


This is actual-Andrew petting an actual-dog. Like real petting too, not just the usual tentative finger prod Andrew usually calls dog-petting.

We hung out for a while then went to shop and eat some more.


It probably seems like mostly what we are doing on this vacation is eating. That’s correct. But, I am pretty sure that I have not put on an ounce of weight and that is mostly because of the subway system. It’s the largest system (and most used) in the world. But it’s not just go downstairs and catch a train, it’s more go down several flights of stairs and walk for a quarter mile or three and then hop on a train and then walk back up those same amount of flights of stairs and also walk a quarter mile here and there to catch connections. Navigating the elaborate makeup of Seoul transit has helped me keep my girlish figure even as I stuff myself full of  “actual expenditure type of steak.”

So, we ate some more. And then this happened:

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “You guys went back to the cat cafe?” and you’d be wrong. Because this is a totally different cat cafe from the other one we went to. And now you’re probably thinking, “How many cat cafes can you go to?” And the answer is, “All of them.”

Korea’s Cold

Andrew’s sniffle got worse. Now I have one too. But we had a train to catch at noon and, of course, I was up with the birds (6:15 – it’s a small victory over 5:30).

I made some eggs for us because it was too early for the hostel community breakfast and we went for a walk along the water. As built up as this city is, there is some amazing architecture. Then there is also Trump World towers. They were pretty pedantic despite their illustrious name, undoubtedly emblematic.

We walked about 4 miles and returned during American breakfast time. I am really glad I’d made us our own version of breakfast and really regret failing to take a picture of the hot dogs, french fries and sliced up muffins the hostel was serving up.

As we checked out the attendant asked us where we were headed. I said “Seoul” and he looked at me as though he’d never heard of the place. Now I have been attempting to learn Hangul and the letters basically spell out S-schwa-uh-l/r (or SUH-ool). So I tried again with this pronunciation instead of the Americanized “soul” and got the facial equivalent of the blue screen of death. At this point I think he was just fucking with me so I just shrugged and smiled and handed him back the key.

The return trip to the KTX train station took us twice as long because we were both exhausted from our colds. Once at the train station we had about 40 minutes to kill and grabbed some soup and sushi to share. Andrew loved the sushi, so I am going to refrain from telling him that there was a bit of crab meat in it – if he doesn’t know in advance that it’s “ookie”, he really enjoys seafood. We napped a lot on the train and I worked a little more on my Hangul. My name in Korean (by my spelling- 하다수) means “enjoy a long life.” Thanks, Korean, I will – if I get over this cold.

Our new apartment is in a quieter part of town than the first one was. It is also right off the airport line of the subway. The airport line is deep underground. We had to take 4 escalators and 2 flights of stairs and check in with Beelzebub to get on the train. Climbing back out was also exhausting. I feel like we did as much walking down and up as we would have done just walking directly from Seoul (SUH-ool) Station.

Most of the rest of the day we spent juggling some games of Words With Friends, napping, checking in with each other about our colds, and Facebooking. Being sick in a foreign country is pretty much the same as being sick at home in that way. But it feels different. I think part of it is the pressure I am putting on myself to do things touristy and partially it’s that I don’t have my own sofa. Or kitchen. Or cats.

It’s possible I’m Korea sick and homesick.



7:30! I slept in. I mean, I woke up at 4:45 first, but then I forced myself back to sleep – so it counts.

The only plan we had for the day was to get to Busan. Our train didn’t leave until noon so we had some time to kill. I avoided another incident by not helping Andrew pack his clothes, and even got to tell him, “I told you so!” later when he got a text from the AirBnB host about the single sock he left behind.

Seoul is about 200 miles away from Busan and with five stops it was only going to take two hours on the KTX. Andrew was jazzed about riding the high speed rail to Busan. Because, boy. I had never been on a high speed train and wasn’t really sure what to expect. After the trip, I felt a little let down by all the hype. Because, girl.

I don’t know what I was really expecting, maybe some g-force or the scenery to feel like it was whipping by so fast the window was a Gerhard Richter. But, no, it was just a train ride. Though it is amazing it only took two hours. It would be neat if the west coast had this. Then I could be in Seattle in an hour and LA in 6. Putting it in that context, I see why it’s exciting.

We got to Busan and both of us felt pretty run down. The directions to our AirBnB were vague and felt more like a scavenger hunt than directions. Walk towards the ocean, when it’s in view find the restaurant that’s been closed for two years and turn left, go to the area that is known as (but not marked) “playland” make a pentagram with the point facing the mistiest location of the boardwalk…

I eventually put the address in Google Maps and found the place. The reason for all the cloak and dagger is because better directions would have been – follow the grossest fish smell in town and find the blue hostel located in the center of the smell. If you can’t find the smell, listen for a jackhammer in concrete sound (that’ll be right below the room you are in – but don’t worry you won’t see it because your view of the ocean right beyond the jackhammer is completely blocked by an awning.). If the jackhammering has stopped by the time you get here look for the rickety fair rides right next door where there’s a swing boat and intermittent sounds of shrieking that will only get louder as the night gets drunker.

Andrew and I have decided that this trip, although fun, is not really our cup of vacation. We like beach towns and feeling lazy and relaxed. I like big cities for about a day or two for the experience, but then I like remote, outdoorsy, naturey lounginess with intermittent alcoholic beverages that I ply on my tee-totaling boyfriend. This is one of the reasons we decided to go to Busan, to get a relaxed beach experience.

Unfortunately, we should have done more research. Busan is the second most populous city in Korea and there is not a square inch of it that they didn’t find “the perfect spot” to develop with skyscrapers with flashing lights. It felt busy, and crowded, and dirty.

Andrew and I checked into our room. It was dinky. No drawers. The sheets felt like what brillo pads are recycled into. I now understand the homophone of hostel. We looked at each other and sighed, “this blows.” And it really did. We decided food was in order before making any decisions about what to do.

Busan seems to cater a bit more to Americans than Seoul. We found a hamburger and a chicken salad and decided to make the best of it for the rest of our day.

And by making the best of it, I mean going to Karaoke.


Andrew Rickrolled me with Never Gonna Give You Up. And now I have Rickrolled you because you have the song in your head from reading the caption.

We paid 5000₩ for a half an hour that kept having more time added to it for some reason so it ended up being about 45 minutes.


Of course we duetted.

This was super fun, and we will do it again before we leave Korea.

After Karaoke we wandered around a bit and walked along the waterside. Busan is so overbuilt. It’s like Atlantic City, but without the charm.

IMG_0867IMG_0865IMG_0869The entire city is covered in neon.

We got back to the room and Andrew was feeling run down. We did some internet searching and found a lovely AirBnB to change to.

Back in Seoul.

No, Seoul wasn’t going to be our tropical paradise locale either, but we were familiar with it, and it felt cleaner, and quieter than Busan. We would take the KTX back the next day. But first, another buffing for me on the sheets of sandpaper while listening to the lovely white noise of drunk people shrieking on a swing.


When it Rains it Pours

5:15AM is a bullshit time to wake up on a vacation day. And to top it off it’s raining. No. Not raining. Pouring.

Being from Portland, I am pretty sanctimonious when it comes to handling some precipitation. So, when eventually it was daylight and I looked outside and saw people carrying umbrellas I at first guffawed and smirked, at the same time – such is my self-satisfaction. But then I went down to the convenience store in our building to grab my morning cold brew, looked outside and saw that there was real rain. Not the Portland constant drizzle I am used to, but real – like taking a shower without a water conservation regulator – rain.

I scurried back upstairs and started whining. I had definitely woken up on the wrong side of the bed and the rain was only trumping my mood.

Andrew, in his delightfully supportive way, put on his best game face and prepared us for an outing despite the rain. We would take the Metro to Namsan and  then ride the aerial car to Seoul Tower on Namsan mountain followed by sitting in a cafe and blogging. I was excited. Even though I live in a city with an aerial car, I have yet to ever ride in one. We packed our computers, we grabbed jackets, we toted umbrellas provided by our AirBnB hosts and went to brave the great outdoors.

We made it one block.

Then we turned tail and headed to the chocolate cafe across the street from our apartment and buried ourselves in our pouting and computers (I did most of the pouting).

After some success with blogging and hot chocolate we braved the weather to return to our room. Because we were leaving the next day to Busan we took advantage of the extra time we had due to the weather ruining everything (this is just a taste of my attitude) and did some laundry in the super high-tech combo washer-dryer in the apartment.

The cycle after spin is dry! When the wash was done the dryer, well, didn’t. Our clothes were still wet. So we ran a cycle with just the dryer. An hour and a half later our clothes were mostly damp.

We gave up and hung our clothes on the drying rack we’d found – because room temperature air was going to do a faster job at drying our clothes. In fact, every once in a while we’d pass by the drying rack and just blow on our clothes and that was more efficient than the actual “dryer.”

I lay down for a half an hour because whining is exhausting and woke up almost two hours later to no rain and slight wind.

At this point my mood was taking up most of the space in our apartment and both of us were a bit antsy, we again prepared ourselves for some outdoor time. This time no umbrellas and no computers but also no rain. We got to Namsan and started the uphill climb to the aerial car.


At the metro exit at Namsan there was a tribute to Zaemiro Seoul Comics – which Andrew, obviously, takes very seriously!

The walk to the aerial car itself was about 600 meters uphill. Once there the sign on the door informed us that because of high winds the car was not running. Neither of us was surprised by this turn of events and it only took us about one minute of hemming (we didn’t even get to hawing) before tackling this defeat with good-natured gusto. We were going to climb this mountain – metaphorically and literally.

Not unlike Hawaii, we started up a 1200m stair climb in the not-best-weather-or-mood.


1200m looks farther than it really is.

We walked up the first 300m or so and came upon this:


That man is not dead, he is just resting between sets. I waited to make sure before moving on. I’m not a monster – even when in a shitty mood.

If it hadn’t been sopping wet we’d probably have had a go at it.

We turned the corner to go the rest of the way and came upon this:


Now, I am not one to want to cause a stir, much less an international incident. But on this day, I wasn’t going to let a little bit of caution tape stop me. I looked up in Google Translator how to say, “I thought the tape was for decoration” in Korean, and we headed up.

When I was in my teens I used to sprain my ankle all the time. I remember once in New York City, on my 13th birthday, I stepped off a sidewalk and just came crashing down on the side of my foot. I was in crutches for about 2 weeks. Shortly thereafter, I met a distant-ish cousin who was finishing college for Physical Therapy and who off-handedly diagnosed me (it’s a family characteristic) with misproprioception, which loosely translates to the inability for my brain to quickly and easily judge variances in height without special attention – aka bad coordination, ergo sum “klutz in my pants.”

I was very cautious going up these steps. Not a single one was a uniform height with another step and there were varying steepnesses (it’s a word now). I was so cautious, looking at every step as I took it that I almost ran into a tree growing out of the middle of the stairs.


Who plants trees in the middle of stairs?


One of the two trees I almost impaled myself on.


Part of the 1200m climb. These steps are all a different steepitude.

We made it to the top unscathed. The view was lovely. The top was a tourist trap. Apparently people go to the top of this tower and place love-locks all around the platforms. The love-locks are like bike locks, only they symbolize a love that is unbreakable (except with bolt cutters, or a hairpin, or just plain old-fashioned time and growing apart. Or they get rusty and everyone is like, “ew, that’s gross, you should probably get rid of that,” but the people who put it there are just stubborn a-holes and say things like “forever means something.”). We wandered for about 3 minutes and headed back down.


Seoul Tower


Andrew dropping my phone while trying to take a picture of us.


Picture success! See how big Seoul is. This doesn’t even really capture it. It’s quite overwhelming.

We stopped for a quick bite, then headed to the cafe. Basically, across the street from the metro exit we came from was Myeong-dong – a busy shopping area. And I knew exactly which cafe I wanted to visit. I followed my Google maps to where Lily cafe used to be before it closed and was sorely disappointed again.

It’s like Tuesday was just out to get me.

Yet, Andrew and I are resilient. After a quick search of all the interwebs I found a similar cafe only three blocks away, and not (hopefully) closed. We walked swiftly towards it – like in Amazing Race when a couple is in the lead but don’t want to be too brassy about it so they do a little butt clenched walk-jog dodging around busy crowds; that was us.

We climbed the two flights of stairs, changed from our shoes to slippers, entered and were immediately instructed to wash our hands – which we did. Then we ordered our drinks and were let loose amongst the felines. We were at Cat Cafe about to cheat on our kitties – what happens in Myeong-dong stays in Myeong-dong.


Look at all the kitties!!!


Neither of us could stop smiling the entire time we were here.


I may have forced this cat onto my lap, but then he slept there – so, he wanted it.


Andrew playing WWF while petting a kitty who doesn’t like people but came up to sleep near him.


Okay, I’m going to be honest here. These cats have always freaked me out a bit. But now that I have had the opportunity to pet one (it’s kind of like petting a leather jacket), I am all in. This guy was a bit of a chunky monkey – but so adorable.

We probably spent about 2 to 2 and a half hours sitting and playing Words With Friends and getting up and petting cats and sitting some more.

The world wide web says these cafes were set up for Koreans because not many of them have the means or space to take care of pets, but it seemed mostly tourists were coming and going. Our time here was only spoiled for about 20 minutes when a family with 5 children and one on the way came in to apparently show themselves what level of asshole they are willing to allow their kids to get to before providing any discipline.

Otherwise, in the words of my friend Aubry, to whom I have already sent these pictures, “Are you texting me from Heaven?”


Also, fuck you Tuesday. I win!

I’m So Buff

I am doomed to not be able to sleep past 5AM while on this vacation. The problem that arises is that nothing here opens until 8AM at the earliest. Unless it’s open 24hours. Which, thankfully, the jjimjilbang are.

Ever since my first experience at Sauvie Island’s nude beach I have become a huge proponent of public nudity. It is the great equalizer. You think our current culture is into body shaming? Go to a nude beach. No one there is perfect – with stomach pooches, or skin flaws or saggy bits and bobs – yet everyone there is perfect. I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin. As such, I don’t mind the World Naked Bike Ride (if it’s not too cold), I love going to Sauvie on a warm day, and I often frequent Common Ground for a soak in NE Portland.

The jjimjilbang are community hot tubs (gender separated). Depending on which one you go to they may offer other amenities as well. Some people when traveling here use the jjimjilbang as a well priced hostel. Andrew and I went to Siloam, a five story jjimjilbang and fomentation center it was 10,000₩ ($8.80) per person.

When you enter the locker room, you put your shoes in a locker and bring that key to the attendant who gives you a locker key for your clothes, a couple of towels, and a pair of shorts and a shirt for the community areas. I stripped down, took a shower and went to the baths. There were four different types: Jade, wormwood, charcoal and ice – after all four dips you eat an eye of newt and you are transported into a Shakespearean drama.

I soaked a bit and then took an ice shower then soaked a bit more. I was feeling pretty calm and was about to wander the fomentation center when I saw there was a corner where a sign said something along the lines of “We’ll pamper you more and more.” I went in and learned that the word for massage in Korean is massaji. I decided to go for the VIP treatment which includes a skin buff and a massage.

The woman taking care of me cleaned off the vinyl covered table, told me to lay on it and then put on her bra and undies. She then donned a pair of gloves that can best be described as “40-grit” and started planing me like I was the SS Minnow. There were no worries about any language barrier because she was moving me around like a marionette – I may have smacked myself a few times during this process. She started me on my back then on each side and finally my stomach – and she didn’t miss an inch, twice. At one point I noticed what looked like pumice bits all around my body, then I realized that it was the skin she had sanded off of me.

Fully skinned, it was time for the massaji – it was a healthy mix of massage, chiroprachty and child abuse – slap, knead knead, adjust, knead, slap, slap, knead.  All of this was mixed with moments of pausing to get the towel that was draped over me scalding hot again. This massage was very thorough and included a facial massage the likes of which I have never experienced. It was like my face was a piano and she Franz Liszt. The facial massage ended with a strawberry yogurt and cucumber wrap – I was a summer salad.

While my face macerated, it was baby oil time for my new skin. In my life I have probably used baby oil 4 or 5 times for a total usage amount of one tablespoon – a little goes a long way. Yesterday an entire bottle of baby oil was used on me – again, not a spot was missed. At this point I would like to remind you that I was on a vinyl table with a thorough masseuse – it was an odd combination of slip-and-slide meets tug-of-war with my main concern being not to get cucumber-yogurt juice in my ear.

By the end of this I was exhausted and completely blissed out. I met Andrew on the second floor (after another shower to remove the baby oil that would make walking and sitting dangerous), we wandered around the five floors of the complex, sat in a freezer and then ate some lunch.


I have never been so happy to sit in cold. Also, look at how new and milky (literally) my skin looks!

That evening we enjoyed a cooking class with Jomin Jun at CooKoreanclass.com. She taught us how to make kimchi stew, glass noodles with pork, and pork and cabbage stir fry. Andrew impressed us all with his knife skills and we had a lovely time learning about Korean culture and food and walking through Mangwon Market.

We learned that Koreans eat live octopus and that they like feeling it moving in their mouth as they eat it. And we learned that eel soup can rejuvenate your power after having a baby. Combined, we mostly learned that Andrew and I have our limits in willingness to experiment. I, for example, will never be able to bring myself to eating a live octopus, and Andrew will never have a baby.

Andrew & Hadas

Our third and final dish of the night. Everything was so delicious and simple to make.


Seoul – Day 2: Food, Fun, Fashion

One of the things I am having to retrain my brain about is to not automatically associate Hangul with “restaurant.” I am almost there.

Last night we went and saw a live comedy show called Nanta. We had decided to go in the evening in order to have something to do that would keep us up and rejigger our sleeping clocks. The show was like Stomp – the Comedy/Cooking Show. It made me realize that laughter is truly universal, as is the usefulness of loud drumming and shouting to keep me awake.

After the show we walked along the street outside where there were a bunch of food vendors with meats on sticks – Andrew’s Native American name. We partook of some bulgogi, pork on a stick, meatballs on stick and freshly squeezed orange juice on a stick.


Meat on stick, meet “Meats-on-Sticks”

While wandering, a busker said “45 minute foot massage for 18000 ₩.” If 45 minutes of foot massaging seems like a long time fear not, you are in good company, because the masseurs seemed to feel the same. We each got a 5 minute foot soak and about a 7 minute foot massage followed by a lot of pounding on our legs for about 15 minutes. I was then asked to lift my hips. I did and was suddenly wrapped up like an ass enchilada. The masseurs left the room and the enchilada wrap started massaging my pelivical region to the dulcet sounds of tango-styled piano versions of Escape (the Piña Colada song) and Hotel California. At this point the blog was just writing itself so I relaxed and enjoyed. I have since tried looking up the massage device that was used, but when I put in “automated ass massage device” into Google I only get NSFW results.

On our way home Andrew stranded me at a subway station.


Stranded at the subway station.

Our goal last night was to stay up (read: pass out) until 10 (at 9:15), which I managed beautifully, allowing us to wake up at a reasonable hour (5:30AM) this morning.

We ran along the river walk that we’d walked along yesterday. The river used to be really dirty during the 1970’s so they covered it by building a highway over it until the mayor in 2008(ish) decided to uncover the river and make it a beautiful and clean city sanctuary.  Along the river there is a lot of art. At one point there are three columns where the highway used to be – I believe to commemorate the fact that they changed the river back. There was also a neat little “lovers” area with a heart mosaic on one wall and a carriage you can sit in and watch the fountain show they have at night. It was really beautiful along the river with a lot of runners saying hi and waving as they passed us going the other direction. We finished our run prior to reaching the point we had started and so we walked up to the city and wandered around.

It is a point of pride for Andrew that his girlfriend hates camping and museums. We managed alright at Pearl Harbor though eventually I had to sit and play Words With Friends while he wandered and read plaques next to old uniforms or whatever it was the museum was showing. Today was some kind of stroke of luck when we ended up at Dongdaemun Design Plaza – a museum for design – about 2 hours before it opened. We wandered around the outside which had a few art installations. It was the perfect amount actually – as I’d reached my limit of looking at things, there was nothing left to look at.


What a treasure!

We grabbed some fried rice for second breakfast and headed home for second sleep.

South Korea is quickly becoming well known for its fashion. In fact the Dondaemun Design Plaza opened in 2014 with Seoul’s fashion show, and there is an underground mall there that is famous. The ladies here seem very fashion conscious sporting a million styles. And, the clothes here are well made and fairly cheap. Often you can find items for 10000₩ (about $8.75) or less. Andrew and I went shopping in the afternoon but found nothing really fun in the Dongdaemun area – that was probably mostly due to it being Sunday, when only the wedding and home goods stalls are open. We got back to the apartment where I left him to recuperate from having an extrovert girlfriend and went shopping on my own near the Ewha Women’s University.

This area was delightful, less crowded, more stylish. It was like Forever 21 meets the Pearl District and K-Pop. I found so many cute outfits that I couldn’t buy. Korean clothes are made one-size fits all. Unfortunately for me, that size is small. And by small I mean size 2 American. Most of the stores don’t even carry mediums, much less large (I believe size 6 is considered large here – not a joke). I managed to find a few shirts I liked and a skirt that I can squeeze into, but it turns out I will have to appreciate Korean fashion from a distance. That distance is the Vancouver Target.