17 March, 2006

Second trip to Seoul

Where to start, where to start...

Let me begin by referencing my February 19th blog--the story about my first trip to Seoul. I mentioned getting several email addresses but joked about no one getting mine and made it sound as though those poor saps would never hear from me again. Well, for some reason, I was inspired to write to one of the fellows (Chris, refer to the orange shirt), and we struck up a friendly correspondence.

When I got a notice from Niki at Park English about another party in Seoul, I wasn't immediately very interested but thought it might be fun to go if I could incorporate meeting up with Chris at some point. He was game, so I decided to go, as did Marc who was also recruited through Park English.

Marc and I headed out Saturday morning on a 10:45 express bus and got in just after 1:30. I was supposed to meet Chris at the #6 exit of the #7 subway line (which at the time of discussion seemed easy enough) between 1:30 and 2:00. Forty-five minutes, several maps, countless subway passages, and three information booths later, Marc and I were tramping up an obscure stairway--exit #6--and what do you know, Chris was there waiting. Marc headed off to do some of his own sight-seeing, and Chris and I jumped in a taxi so we could run what I thought would be a small errand to an Aveda salon. Wrong! The taxi driver had a hard time figuring out where I wanted to go, traffic was horrific, and when we finally got there, they didn't even have the products I wanted. Chris was more than cool about the whole thing and didn't even make too much fun of me for spending an exobitant amount of money on shampoo and lotion.

We wandered around Gangnam for a little bit then decided to check out Insadong-gil which required a ride on the very crowded subway (if you want to get to know someone very quickly, just try being smashed together in a moving subway car). Insadong was very happening, complete with bad live music, street food, and stores and vendors of every variety. We stumbled into a place with batting cages thinking it was a restaurant that had been recommended to us, and that turned out to be a highlight of the day. I swing like a girl, but after a lousy warm-up round, I managed to crack a few balls into the net.

After that, being quite ravenous, we did actually find a restaurant, and we enjoyed a delicious meal in a beautiful and peaceful setting--so peaceful, in fact, that it nearly put us to sleep. On the way out of the restaurant, we stopped to snap a photo of a cool old bike in front of an old building. If you look closely enough, you can see an eggshell under the seat. Chris stole my camera, claiming I hadn't framed the picture correctly. He was right, too. His picture (seen here) is much better than mine. We revived enough to do a little shopping (how could I resist all the cheap earrings?!) then hopped another subway to Hongdae where the Park English gathering was. It was a typical night out in Korea. I wasn't as into it as some of the people, but I had a good time anyway. Second trip to Seoul--as successful as the first!

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