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Posts Tagged ‘gangnam’

Of course, we didn’t spend our whole time in Seoul partying the night away.

After Thursday’s tequila party, we took our time waking up on Friday. When we finally dragged ourselves out of Tim’s apartment, the only thing on my mind was Mexican food.

Mexican food is the bane of my existence. It is my weakness — and Tim said there was a little restaurant nearby! My gluttony and addiction lead me to order a burrito AND a tostada — total fatty move — but I didn’t regret it. It was so yummy. And to have avocado again was magical.

After lunch we hopped aboard a bus that took us Seoul’s Han River, where we ended up hanging out and cat-napping, overlooking the water.

When we hopped off of the bus, we walked down a flight of stairs and under the bridge that connects northern and southern Seoul. This is the view from under the bridge, across the water. Under the bridge and on the grass near the water were the perfect hang outs for lots of daydreamers, frisbee-throwers, couples looking for romance, dog-walkers and even one ecstatic — and scared — little boy learning how to ride a bike.

Saturday we went to Insa-dong, an artsy neighborhood full of  local artist love. Painters, sculpters, and artists from every medium in between flock here to sell their goods to people looking for authentic Korean merchandise. It is definitely a repeat mission — one of my goals is to find something exquisite to remind us of our fleeting time here.

Ssamziegil was one area that had four floors of shops, carts, and merchants selling their works of art. This great flower art installment wrapped around a four-story high cutout next to the stairs. It was pretty awesome. I think Insa-dong was my favorite neighborhood in Seoul. After shopping a bit, we grabbed an authentic Korean galbi lunch, and had these cinnamon-walnut donuts from a street vendor for dessert. Yummy!

While we trekked to Myeongdong for our next shopping excursion, we passed the Cheonggyecheon river. The river, which was a stream 50 years ago, was restored in 2002 to generate a tourist interest and beautify the city. It is a stunning breath of fresh air — nature and tranquility in the heart of the hectic city.

It even has waterfalls!

I only wish we could have seen the river at night. Rocks were strategically placed throughout the river, allowing people to cross on stepping stones. On many of the rocks, these statues below, and buried in the shallow water were different colored lights, which created a spectacular light display when the sun went down.

We finally made it to Myeongdong, just as the rain picked up a bit. The streets were FULL of westerners, gabbing and popping into lots of western-brand stores. The overcrowded, overwhelming street was definitely something new. We poked around in H&M for a bit, before the sheer amount of people got to me. I felt bombarded, so I took a breather. This is a great place to come, though, if I ever need to buy anything western.

Sunday, our final day, we ate lunch at CPK. It was delicious, expensive and worth it. Korean sauces tend to be on the sweet side — including on pizza — but there was no sweet sauce here. The pie tasted just like home.

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The week after returning from Busan just flew by, thanks in part to a busy — and short — school week. On Friday, the nation celebrated Buddha’s birthday, which meant a four-day week for us. We decided to take the opportunity to finally visit Seoul for the first time, and catch up with my cousin Tim.

Evan and I bought tickets for the 7:30 bus a day in advance, and arrived at the bus station with a comfortable amount of time to find our seats, kick back and relax. The buses here are luxurious — soft seats that recline far enough to sleep comfortably, and enough leg room to keep Kobe Bryant content.

I snapped this gorgeous sunset as our bus pulled out of Jeonju.

Nearly four hours, an episode of The Hills and a cat nap later, we arrived in Seoul. TIm greeted us at the massive bus terminal, then we hopped aboard a subway to his neighborhood, Gangnam-gu.

Once we arrived, I quickly changed and threw on a pair of heels, and we were off to meet up with Tim’s work buddies to celebrate his pal Hamilton’s birthday. The city — population approximately 24 million — was overwhelming and exciting. At the bar, we grabbed some mekchu and got the party started. So happy to be with family!

The beer was flowing, and the party moved on to tequila shots. Hm. For those of you who don’t know, Evan cannot stand tequila, but he downed his share anyway, in the spirit of camaraderie. It was basically top shelf anyway — Pepe Lopez, anyone? :P

After our whistles were sufficiently wet, we continued to parade around the city, stopping at watering holes along the way. The heels I wore turned out to be a bad decision … I required Evan’s socks and Tim’s shoes to eventually make it home. I’m spoiled.

Friday night was nonexistant on the town. We got home around 5 that morning, so needless to say we weren’t in the mood to drink. We took it easy, and saw Robin Hood at a nearby cinema. It was a prequel, so-so, nothing to write home about.

Saturday night we were ready to hit the town again. Since I had a hankering for the foreign food it is hard to find in Jeonju, we ended up going to Itaewon to get some good old-fashioned American grub.

Itaewon was unlike anything I had seen in Korea thus far. The rainy streets were full of people from every different ethnic background you could think of, and the restaurants that lined the streets displayed everything from Indian food and tapas to Italian and Mexican. It was so diverse — due in part to a local USA military base — for a second I thought I was back in America.

We ended up walking up a steep, rocky street to a sports bar called Sam Ryan’s. I ordered a juicy steak sandwich, topped with cheddar, mushrooms and peppers, with a side of crinkly fries. Heavenly to say the least.

After dinner, we kept the party rolling over to Apkujong, known as the sort of “Beverly Hills” of Seoul, to a club called Monkey Beach. It was raining all day, but Evan had somehow found two abandoned umbrellas on the street. Tim’s friends Nick and Seung Hyun joined us for dinner and drinks. I caught my cuz and his gal in an adorable candid.

The club reminded me of a cross between a Spring Breaker’s hangout and an indoor rave. There were lots of flashing lights and techno beats, as well as buckets of alcohol being sold. A winning combination!

We boogied and jammed to the deejay’s set list. All in all, a perfect way to end our last night of mini-vacation!

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