27 October 2018

Seoul, South Korea: Itaewon, Hanbok's & Myeongdong!

I had no idea about Itaewon, that foreigner central area would play havoc with my head and chakra! Settling into my hostel, I felt a certain thirst for Soju. It would be in the homeland of that drink, things were going to get turned up! Seeing a certain sight that intrigued me kept me wanting more! Thankfully I had things to buy the next day, Seoul wasn't going to let me off!

Feeling completely foreign I ended up at the wrong station on the Seoul Subway because I was too busy checking out the talent. Finally arriving at G Hostel in the heart of Itaewon didn't need much to start me. It was a match made in craziness, those boozy Soju nights had come to real life, with my phone charged I walked into the night with full force to find a certain hill. I found one bar open and being the wrong side of the weekend, an underground club was also a welcomed surprise! Getting my first holiday drinks on I luxuriated in the fact I was in a foreign country, but no WeChat or familiar words were found. Getting a snap with Lily Savage's long lost Korean sister impressed me much! Not feeling complete with the night I bumped heads with a familiar sight, getting the things I needed I made that move possible. A certain bar kicked off the night fine. What went on that night made the first night of my SK experience! 

At the other side of a magical and surreal experience I got myself together the best I could. I was out of China, in another country that I had been looking forward to explore and then some! To be honest I hadn't really paid much care till the night time on the first evening as many people do on the first night of their holiday. Cracking open the Soju I enjoyed that strong drink and then some, for the extras that carried on I am not prepared to say. My first night and second morning in Seoul had a certain edge to it, but with that certain difference it wasn't going to be a problem. Only vacating that situation would give me clarity that morning, Seoul had shown me many colours that I had embraced their fullest, things weren't going to have their second chance saloons. Making my tracks back to the hostel in the mornings light gave me the confirmation the night had been full of mysterious twists and turns. Was I expecting this? No! Yes, the photo is of the morning after the night before! Go!

Embracing an almighty hangover and having experienced something extraordinary, I pulled myself together to see a slice of Seoul, South Korea. Chicken and beer sure saved me that early afternoon. Hitting the free coffee at the hostel was a good start, after five cups I found myself near Dongdaedon Market, if truth be told I felt like death but I needed to move on. The shoes didn't impress me but after a wrong turn I found a whole street made up of toys, it was a preschool teachers paradise with all of those goodies. I was genuinely looking for a Hanbok that would fit a little girl, it would take a little longer for that to happen. Beating the tourist prices I bought some unassuming magnets to the normal eye, after my Montessori training I had to get them! Those magnets have brighten up the mornings for some of the girls in my class, not to mention the book we have created from their drawings. But why did I get magnets SL?

I saw that my magnets were made in Korea, thankfully it wasn't its bigger cousin in the western direction. I managed to say 'thank you' appropriately in Korean, let alone I spoke English at point. Getting a hand puppet frog and a plush pink ping that had absolutely nothing to do with Peppa, no I don't endorse that little nightmarish piglet. Getting my goods during that Dongdaedon Market trip I found myself looking at more delicious South Korean men, it was a pleasure to be in-company of such smooth looks, yes they looked flawless, the women stepped back. I was going under at that point and the confusing signs on the Seoul Subway didn't impress me for once, I had to get it together several times before heading to the right destination. I can't express how hard the hangover was at that point, the pharmacist was consulted! The Seoul streets felt very different compared to Beijing's own, I appreciated the views and the Korean street signs, but those gentlemen folk were super hot hot!

Arriving at Anguk station was only possible because my Chinese reading skills relied on the translations at the metro stations, they seemed to make more sense to me, why I don't know? Trying to find the Gyeongbukgong Palace wasn't meant to be for that day, saving for the next sober day I found that the thing to do. Finding a street close to the palace had me sipping on some nice draft beer, it wasn't a livener because I wouldn't be going out that night, it was night to re-tox though. I saw many ladies pass by me who were wearing Hanbok dresses, talking of the Hanbok, I found a lovely little one at Anguk Station. It was about ten pounds and in good quality for the girls in my class to wear. Getting real I was going to return to the palace because it was a place that deserved a clear perspective. My first day in Seoul had not caught me by surprise, work had been much, drink was the plan. I needed to see more!

Getting closer back to Anguk station was the plan, finding Yulgok-ro Sam 3-gil in the process was lovely, it was somewhere that I had wanted to see. Unknowingly being inside Seoul's Bukchon Hanbok Village set me up, named after the streets for some reason I am not sure? The shops and feel of that cute street had me in my feelings for sure, I felt that holidays should be spent outside China since that chilled out moment, the mayhem had left me for once, something didn't feel right but it was alright. At first I was looking for Gyeongbukgong Palace, something somewhere told me that I wasn't going to be entertaining anything serious. Seeing the sunset happening soon I made my way to Myeongdong to see a million lights. The subway lines became easier at point because I didn't entertain the different diversions, I wanted to see what Myeongdong had to offer. The day had been long but I knew there would be one more element that championed a previous travel prediction blog. Very that!

Arriving into a million lights, I was looking for a scene that I had seen online, but in those situations a preconceived view sometimes looks better or worse compared to the actual sight. I felt like I was in a Channel 4 interval, those neon Korean lights projected money alone, it had some of the magnets for double the price but I had made the right more to find the market that served me the cheaper price. I shunned the top price foods within the tourist appropriated Myeongdong area, it was a place I had original planned to stay but the hangover made the move more than justifiable. Did someone say Miniso? Those kind of shops were in an abundance, but they were without that famous red logo seen at all. Those glittering lights were the entertainment for me that night, I wasn't feeling well at that point , but I had done the honest things during that early morning period. Myeongdong's food prices had me saying good-bye!

The day had been long and I had seen a lot compared to the early morning arrival back to my hostel, that morning coffee call saved my day for certain. The dawn saw a lot of madness for a great reason but I got things together to see the city, getting my life! Dongdaedon Market supplied all I needed for the new Korean items for my October English corner centrepieces, getting to Anguk I found the perfect Hanbok Korean dress that wasn't from the streets with a tourist mind. I wasn't going out that night because I was feeling badder than bad, I needed to sleep in order to get through another twenty-four hours of my South Korean trip in Seoul. Making my way back to Itaewon, the day had been full-bodied and for that I was thankful for that. I needed to charge my phone and sleep because I felt horrible. My first full day in South Korea had been everything and more!

A Kebab for Tea?

Joseph Harrison

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