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Posts Tagged ‘myeongdong’

Last weekend, my girlfriends and I decided to escape to the big city for two whirlwind days of shopping, foreign food and live music.

I awoke early on Saturday morning to catch a bus to Seoul with my friends Rachel and Jenny Ryan. We headed straight for Hongdae upon our arrival, and dropped our bags at our crash pad for the night, Backpacker’s Space. The hostel, which was roughly 90% occupied by our posse, was adorable, clean and comfortable. It featured three rooms with bunks and fresh linen, one (western-style) bathroom with countless toiletries, and a vanity corner with a hair dryer and a straightener. I died, since I hadn’t straightened my hair in 10 months — I was waaaaay too excited.

The owner was pleasant and helpful, and a water cooler with cups was a welcome amenity during the wee, hungover hours of the morning. Plus, it was located in the heart of the bustling University district, so we were just a hop, skip and jump away from the clubs where we spent our night bobbing and dancing to jams.

So we ditched our packs and headed to Dos Tacos for some food. It was the same restaurant that we visited in Gangnam with my ‘cuz last summer, but the Hongdae location. Meat and avocado burrito, yummers. Just per-fec-tion.

Afterward, we took the train to Myeongdong to do some serious retail damage. I couldn’t get out of Forever 21 without a necessary top… or five. Oooops!

We also ran into a grungy, creepy Garfield in the midst of our shopping spree, nbd.

On our way home, we got wrapped up into a conversation and missed our subway transfer (whoops) but eventually made it back to the hostel! We grabbed some beer, dolled up and got ready for our night on the town. I chose one of my new tops from F21 and paired with with a black skirt, black tights, black boots and my Lady Gaga ring. Faboosh!

The crew, about 15 women deep, rolled to T Bell to grab some more Mexican grub before going out to Club FF. I ate a taco, and a burrito… and part of Sasia’s quesadilla… and Priscilla’s nachos. Yeah. Bad move leaving me around available food.

Club FF was awesome! The event was the 7 year anniversary of the hot spot, and had a bunch of great bands to celebrate the occasion. The first act we saw was Kingston Rudieska, an awesome ska band. At 11 PM, the bar started serving FREE cocktails that we enjoyed for an hour. Needless to say, I only bought one beer during our stay.

Later in the night, I decided to meet up with Alyssa at Shake! a mile-a-minute underground dance party. Alyssa popped into Club FF to tell me her location after her phone went missing, and we realized we were wearing the exact. same. outfit.

We had both purchased the same shirt that day without realizing it, and went on to dress ourselves in the same threads. It was hilariously mortifying — we looked like a Korean couple on their honeymoon.

We stayed at Shake for hours, went back to Club FF and shook it til the wee hours of morning.

I scraped myself out of bed in the morning, showered and enjoyed a picturesque cup of coffee while I waited for my ladies to get ready.

I also enjoyed the view of Hello Kitty cafe across the street. So cuuuuuute — where was Candace when I needed her? ^_-

After everyone was awake, we cabbed it to Itaewon to get some pub grub at Wolfhound. Rachel was sooo very excited to get her Bloody Mary. I skipped my own Mary for a pint of strong cider, and went crazy for their menu. In the end, I opted for a shepherd’s pie and a side salad with ranch. RANCH DRESSING! The second time I’ve enjoyed the creamy, fatty goodness in ten months. Yum!

Evan probably would have guessed that my eyes won a competition over my stomach during this meal, but I ate every last bite. Nom nom.

Being the wonderful girlfriends that we are, Rachel and I popped into Quizno’s on our way home to pick up sandwiches for us and boyfs to eat for dinner, which I enjoyed with Ev after a sleepy bus ride home.

Successful, wonderful weekend getaway!

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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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