fun and games in the city of Seoul
05/15/2009 - 05/18/2009 64 °F
The day started early, with a ride on the metro to COEX Mall in the southern area of Seoul. Riding the metro is kind of creepy - it's strangely quiet, and when you start speaking in English to each other, added to the silence, it's just bound to have people staring at you. So all-in-all, it was a fairly quiet ride to the mall, where SJ's brother HD would be meeting us. The COEX Mall is a huge complex, of which we only saw a little bit - namely, the first floor. But I've read that there's a really nice movie theater, a Kimchi Museum, a Playstation store and an XBox store... which I would like to see next time! We met up with HD to go shopping at a huge bookstore called Bandi and Luni's, with a decent English offering. It was great seeing the rampant displays of Twilight books - something that brings us together!
Next was lunch at the COEX food court, which is a huge, bustling area with tons of little food stores selling delicious goodies. Food ranged from bulgogi burgers to pork katsu to noodles, and it was all uniformly tasty. Afterwards we shopped a bit, although most of the stores in the Mall were a little pricey for our taste - but we were mainly attracted to Yes!, a lingerie store that offered couple lingerie! Strictly cute stuff, like a polka-dotted set with matching bra/panties and boxers, etc. They had some really adorable stuff, so we ended up walking out with a few sets per person for our significant others. Across the way was Artbox, a store with cute stationery and accessories - kind of like a tricked up Morning Glory. As someone who loves cute journals, planners, etc, it was like a heaven for me.
Also at the mall were 29.00 flats/shoes being sold from a cart. I know that it sounds ghetto, but they had some pretty cute stuff - and I ended up walking away in a brand new pair of shiny black flats, to replace the ghetto flipflops I had been using up to now.
Techno Mart was our next stop, a big store with lots of different cameras and technology. We didn't buy much there, but browsed through the rest of the building, which had a cute store called My Life is Perfect - kind of Urban Outfitters in a Korean style, with furnishings, books, accessories, clothing, etc. They had cute mouses and utterly adorable and cheap teacups, but sigh, who needs more mouses and teacups anyway?
Our next shopping stop was the Dongdaemun Migliore, which was more clothes, more bargaining, more money spent. At the top of the Migliore is a food court of sorts, with rather pushy salespeople and a somewhat ugly view of the surrounding area, which looks to be under construction. We had some shaved ice and sweets to pump us up for the rest of the day, which was somewhat dreary. On our way back, we passed by a tent that was set up on the street - a Tarot card reading tent! Inside, we got a choice of readings - our personality, our job, our future, our lovelife etc etc. T and I both chose lovelife. I wonder a bit about the accuracy though, since everything was translated through SJ... Here's an example exchange:
Tarot Reader: <5 minutes of speaking Korean>
SJ: He stresses you.
The basic procedure is, the tarot card reader fans out the cards for you to choose, you pick one, usually while thinking about something, and then the reader tells you the signifiance of the card. T went first, and was informed that she was currently weighing things out with her boyfriend but felt stress from him, that he wasn't marriage material. Also... she would meet a rich, talented guy in the future, and would marry at 28-30. For me, the reader saw stress on me from my relationship (true, but most certainly true for everyone), currently separated (somewhat obvious since I was in Korea and he was not), an important issue of time management (which I do have to agree with, but is a bit general), and that there would be a new guy coming into my life. However, my current boy is thinking of the long-term and will be successful and rich - therefore, the reader advised against breaking up with him! Haha. But if we do break up, it'll be difficult but we'll remain friends. Interesting stuff, although I'm not sure how much faith I have in it.
The next day was more shopping, this time at the Western Dom Mall which is a partially covered outdoor mall with lots of shops, plus restaurants on the 2nd floor. We watched Star Trek in the IMAX theater there - great movie! I love Star Trek (+ Zachary Quinto as a terrific Spock)! Lunchtime was at a Chinese Bistro, where we got jajungmyun (black bean noodles), so delicious, and yummy sticky pork.
We then took the subway to the Changdeok-gung, a palace complex with recently restored and repainted buildings. When we arrived, they were having a neotraditional musical performance that was at turns haunting and lively, and very pleasant to listen to. The buildings were vibrantly colored, mostly in red but with accents of blue, green and gold, and it was nice to walk around and see the architecture.
On the 18th, we went to Lotte World, a indoor and outdoor amusement park that's popular with couples. Their mascot are raccoons, which are kinda annoying in real life when they mess up your garbage, but cute in mascot form. We also got a foreigner discount =D
Inside, we rode the swinging ship and a Sindbad boat ride, queued up for the log flume, and rode the indoor roller coaster. But the outside part was much nicer - first of all, it was a perfect sunny day, so that just made everything better. There's a Disneyesque castle in the center, a major rollercoaster, and one of those really tall tower things that rotates when you're at top then drops you down. I have to admit, the view from the top was gorgeous for the five seconds we were there... and then we were free-falling back down to Earth! What a rush.
After the fun and games at Lotte World, we were picked up by SJ's mom - it was time to drive to Gangwon, where we would be spending the next few days!