Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2007 Company Trip to Korea: Part 5 (final) - Hi Seoul!

Date of Travel: 21-26 Feb 2007
View of Dongdaemun gate

Day 5: To the heart of Seoul

Today was supposed to be about visiting the Seoul Royal Palace, Gyeongbokgung, followed by a Folklore Museum, a Ginseng Factory and Amethyst Factory, and shopping at Myeongdong. It finally ends with a show called Nanta. BORINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! True to my spirit of being adventurous, HH and I decided to skip all of the above with the exception of the Nanta show. Prior to the trip, I had printed out an Indemnity Letter to exclude us from all activities of the day, and we happily woke up late and explored Seoul on our own!

Alleys of Myeongdong - still early, no crowds
The hi-tech toilets of Korea

In some toilets, there's a button called "Courtesy Sound" that mimics the sound of water flowing - to mask your *ahem*

We headed to Myeongdong which was supposedly the place to shop! Thousands of people apparently thought of the same idea, and I was truly amazed at the number of people that can fit into one tiny alley. The crowd is similar to Hong Kong's Mongkok area. And you know me, I hate crowds. So we ended up not buying anything, but enjoying the views.
My simple lunch at a food court for 4500 Won

I honestly cannot remember what that was
Not too many street vendors around, surprisingly
They do have attractive buildings around - what is zoomoney?

Up next, we went for a stroll at Apgujeong, where all the trendy cafes and boutiques are. It even has a Rodeo Street which I guess could be Seoul's interpretation of  Rodeo Drive. Being late as we were, we had to rush to the Nanta theatre located nearby Apgujeong. Whenever we approached people above 30, they seem to run away from us with fear in their eyes. So we sought help from those below 20, and true enough they understood what we said, but had trouble speaking out loud in English. I guess Korea has a long way to go towards learning to speak English.

Do Gorillas eat Pizza? Maybe he's going after my moose hat??

Nanta show - simply fabulous from start to end
If you have heard of Stomp that uses trash cans to make music, this is Nanta that uses cooking utensils. It was a good 100 minutes worth of slapstick comedy, acrobatics and extreme hype over cooking. Worth going for, I enjoyed it.

Next, we headed to a large shopping mall nearby called Co-Ex mall. I made a bee-line to the supermarket called Hyundai. In every country I visit, I love wandering the aisles of the supermarket. Bought home some kimchi too!
On the way to Co-Ex mall, they really have some unique architecture here

Outside Co-Ex

Inside Hyundai supermarket
Finally to end a tiring day, we headed back to Myeongdong at Uljiro 1-ga to locate some authentic Korean food. We dared ourselves to go down a tiny and dark alley, following a local turning here and there, and we chanced upon a restaurant that spoke no English. We took up the courage to say "Bibimbap" and was served a delicious bowl of bibimbap, in what I can only describe as a truly authentic bowl with loads of dents and nooks.
Bibimbap for 10,000 Won

Piping hot korean noodles in the middle of winter - heaven!

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 4 - The Child in Everyone

No comments: