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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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