Monday, January 16, 2012

2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 4 - The Child in Everyone

Date of Travel: 21-26 Feb 2007

Day 4: Everland and Kimchi

Today was all about being a child again. We got to scream and giggle with other kids, and got to play masak-masak. That's right, we went to a theme park - Everland! Lotte World was closed at the time, but I was quite happy with Everland as it was well rounded.

Everland has its fair share of roller coasters and scary rides, but it also includes a water park and a zoo. The zoo safari was the highlight of our trip. The only problem was the very very long queues. Of the 6 major rides in Everland, we only had time to queue for 2. Since our guide insisted that we all must go for the safari, we weren't disappointed. We all got on a bus-like vehicle and got really close to the lions and tigers and bears. We were even fortunate enough to see a pair mating *grin*
This is how close our bus was to the lions

Some even more fortunate ones got a lion on their car
If Bollywood heads to a safari, this is what would happen behind a tree

You can't help but feel happy here

Yook Gae Jang, 7000 Won
It did not help that we had to find time for lunch with our very limited time there. So I just went for whatever that seemed fastest to prepare. After lunch, being lazy to queue for scary rides, I decided to give a second chance to snow again. Thankfully, I put my butt to good use and swoooooooooooshed down at super duper speed.

One last wish before we headed off to Seoul
Next stop was to play my favourite childhood game of masak-masak (i.e. pretending to cook) by making kimchi! Again after a long and tiring drive, we arrived at the Kimchi Cooking School where we all got our hands dirty. It was actually all a gimmick really, everything has already been prepared and it was just to let you have a feel of how to wrap the cabbage with the shredded white carrot. One very good thing about this was being able to eat your own creation. Since it was made so fresh, it was absolutely delicious! We all brought our kimchi's home.

Each of us were given a cooking station

Having too much fun squashing the cabbage

Ta-Dah! My finished product

Being any tourist spot, we could all don a hanbok for free
Before we called it a day, we headed out to try yet another classic Korean dish, the Ginseng Chicken Soup (Samgyetang). The restaurant we were brought to served each of us a bowl of soup, and unlimited soju. I didn't quite like the taste of this, and preferred the version at Daorae Garden restaurant. Who is more authentic, I would not be able to judge since this restaurant was obviously only for tourists. But some members of our group got too happy with the unlimited soju, and poured it into mineral water bottles to bring it back to the hotel for a great nightcap! Kakaka

The ginseng chicken soup served with noodles. Shouldn't there be glutinous rice in there?

Well there you go, the rice is inside the chicken too.
Our hotel this time is quite far out of the centre of Seoul, called the Co-Op Residence at Yangpyung-dong. We loved the hotel very much, it was super clean and large and had a small kitchenette even. Upon arriving at the hotel at approximately 10:00pm, HH and I dropped everything and rushed off to the city to explore! We easily found our way to the Yangpyung subway station, and headed to the river called Cheonggyecheon (Line 1: City Hall exit)

The ride took us about 1 hour to get there, having to switch trains once. But it was well worth the journey, the night views of the river was simply breathtaking. What also took our breaths away, was the fact that the last train was leaving at 11:30pm! We rushed to snap a few pictures and ran all the way back to the subway to catch the ride back. On hindsight, I would have stayed longer and taken a taxi back instead.
Night view of the Cheonggyecheon river at City Hall subway exit

This is HH trying to blend in with the locals - NOT! We were just begging to be mugged kakaka.
When we got back to our hotel exit, a stranger noted that we were tourists and started talking to us. He was from Turkey and has been in Seoul for over a year working there. He said he has been lonely, since most Korean girls wouldn't even talk to him in English. And it was refreshing to speak with someone in English again. He asked where we stayed, and I told him and he said to follow him through a shortcut. To all women travellers out there, this is a definite no-no! Never follow a stranger through an unknown route, it was absolutely unnerving. Thankfully nothing happened to us that night, but I had never felt that much fear on a night out before. Lesson learnt - no more following strangers at night, and no more moose hat!

If you have missed the rest of this series:
2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 1 - Planning
2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 2 - Off to Korea  
2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 3 - From Mountain To Sea
2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 5 (final) - Hi Seoul!

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