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Kimchi in Seoul Part I
Before Seoul, we were on transit at KL.

^ Giant Harrods bear at the KL airport. And putting my travel wallet to good use. Appalled and disappointed that the only in-flight entertainment was the couple of in-flight radio channels. Tsk tsk tsk tsk.

^ Breakfast is served! The usual nasty plane food.


^ And we are breathing in kimchi air!

^ We took the airport shuttle to Myeongdong Hostel, our home for the next 8 days, only to find out that check in was at 2pm. We had a couple of hours to fill, so we deposited our luggage and took to the streets. Hallo Myeongdong. Was so excited to see Mister Donut. My favourite donut chain!

^ First lunch. Spicy clam soup! With a variety of free banchan. Clockwise from top left: fish (was surprised to see!), kimchi (of course), some wild grass and some gluten fishcake like things. The owner even gave us free yakult after our lunch.

^ Bright and rather spacious room with a small tv, fridge and hair dryer. Also, nice and clean bathroom.

^ After a bit of resting at the hostel, we headed out for my birthday treat, spa. The place's a bit tricky to find. And being spa first timers, we were totally lost. What exactly do we do here? How does the whole thing work? The people at the counter spoke almost zero English and after some gesturing and charades, we paid the fees (really cheap at about 8,000 won) and got our locker keys and uniforms. Then it struck me, oh this was no ordinary spa, it's a jjimjilbang 찜질방! Have heard the korean teacher mention it in class and seen a bit of the inside of these places on TV, but they conveniently didn't mention the birthday suits part. Imagine our surprise when we walked down to the changing room to see a load of naked people milling around! A very nude ajumma was sitting right in front of my locker but i didn't dare ask her to move. After some initial hesitation (and we were attracting curious stares with our clothed bodies), we shed our clothes and had an awesome time soaking in the various baths. I especially love the cold baths. Clothless is liberating hahaha. Ducked into one of the sauna rooms but couldn't stand the heat and the smokiness.

After a couple hours of soaking in water, we put on the uniforms and headed up to the common area. Bought the customary hard-boiled egg and some ice cream. How come the inside of the egg is brown when the shell is not cracked during cooking? After the food, we tried our luck at the small claw machine and got some weird looking carrot toys. I got mine totally by accident. I was aiming for a white carrot but the sis knocked into my hand while i was  maneuvering the claw and i picked up the orange carrot instead. Anyhow, it's the first time i ever caught anything from a claw machine! :))) Would certainly go back to a jjimjilbang again. I think it's a perfect way to spend a quiet weekday afternoon.

^ The night was still young, so we headed to Namdaemun. Big mistake. Most of the stores were closed or were closing and there was nothing much there at all. Spotted a Daiso though. :D And had giant fishcakes for dinner. They were not at all tasty and we were ripped off. >:(

^ Banana milk (hazel's recommendation) to end the night.


^ Our train station.

^ Back to Namdaemun bright and early in the morning. Much much better. It's like a huge pasar malam and so many wholesale shops. And we had the giant red bean bun for breakfast. On hindsight we should have shared the bun. It was so huge i ate it over a couple of days and still couldn't finish and had to throw a bit away.

^ Next stop, Changdeokgung. We were lost for a bit trying to figure out where was the damn entrance. It was drizzling slightly and someone has a towel on her head. Hahaha.

^ Lunch before our palace tour. Banchan introduction again, clockwise from the top: turnip (i think), mushroom and veg (yum!) and super spicy veg. And my entrée, cold noodles. 2 miserable slices of dry and hard beef, one hard-boiled egg and cucumber julienne in ice cold soup (there was a pile of ice on my noodles before it was stirred). Did not like the sweet soup. Lunch should be savory and so should noodles. Haha. What i did like was that the noodles were really springy and chewy. There were pear bits in the soup, which i saved as my after meal dessert.

^ And we are at the entrance of Changdeokgung.

^ I snapped too late, but before this, these two were engaged in some hanky panky. Tsk tsk, in broad daylight!

^ Inside the palace. The guide was telling us to be careful of the low ceilings when we are passing through the doors, and what do you know, minutes later i got myself a large bump on my head. Embarrassing. The steps in the palace are so steep and narrow, you wonder how the people used to walked around in their long dresses without falling to their deaths. I love the stone lions around the palace. Cute. :) And the last palace shot, the tour guide told us this was the best angle for a photo of the main palace court.

^ Besides the Changdeokgung tour, we also went for the Secret Garden tour. We missed the English tour, so we went for the Korean tour instead. It started to rain and we were abandoned by our tour group for having no umbrellas, so we hung about one of the living quarters until the sis braved the rain to get us umbrellas. It was my first automatic umbrella and i thought it was really cool until i realised it was a bitch to close the thing. We spotted a Japanese tour group and decided to join them and get our asses out of the palace.

^ The rain was getting on our nerves and we were lugging around too much things (stuff, camera and umbrella) so we decided a little donut might help. The second of our donut chain tour, Dunkin' Donuts. Got a donut (nothing special) and a hot citron tea. Love the cupholder.

^ Then we were at a cute little shopping mall where we had dinner. Suspect we were ripped off at 50,000 won per person, but the beef was really really really good. Banchan, clockwise from the top, cabbage, mix veg julienne, chili leaves, spicy tofu, cabbage coleslaw and of course kimchi! Being first timers to Korean barbecue, we were of course at a lost on how to eat. The server kindly explained the procedures and there was a guy who helped us barbecue our meat. Only thing he was barbecuing faster than we were eating and we felt like we were stuffing our faces. I don't normally eat garlic and onions, but the barbequed ones were pretty good.

^ The sis was not feeling too well, so we headed back early and i caught my oppa in action on the tv. Yummy. It was not easy trying to take photos of the tv and i had to try it too many times and caught too many photos of the wrong guy. Anyway, was happy that there are so many re-runs of the show, i was able to watch my oppa almost every night! :p


The previous day at Namdaemun, we were at a shoe shop where the sis got a pair of cute flats. I had wanted a pair of orange flats but the very nice ajumma didn't have my size at the shop and told us to come back the next morning to get it. We had already decided not to make the trip down, since we didn't have much time left in Seoul and didn't want to go back to Namdaemun for a third time. Then when we were examining our loot that night, we realised that the ajumma had given the sis two different sized shoes. We had no choice but to go down to Namdaemun for the third time. I wonder if it's a coincidence...

^ Bright and early on our way for some grocery shopping.

^ They even sell pets at Kim's Club! And my two large bags of groceries. Can never help myself at supermarkets.

^ McDs! I got myself a bulgogi burger meal. It was on the sweet side and the patty's a bit softer that what we would get here. They have Fanta as one of their drink choices and were really generous with the mayo!

^ We then headed to Coex Mall, where i did not take any photos except of these too cute bunnies! Busy place with loads of people and many shops. After Coex, we made our way to Lotte World. On the way, the infamous robbing happened. We were trying to find a locker for our giant grocery bags. When we were on some stairs, some guy suddenly yanked my grocery bag and put his hand inside and rooted around. First thing that came to my mind was that he might have dropped something inside and was looking for it. Then seconds later, he pulled out a bag of biscuits, took the fake oreos and made off. Mind you, this all happened rather quickly, so i was at a loss of how to react, only thinking "what the hell?" throughout. Granted there were only cheap biscuits, but it was shocking nonetheless, robbery in broad daylight at a crowded train station.

^ And we are in Lotte World. It was drizzling, so we got a discounted ticket as almost all the outdoor rides were closed.

^ Lotte World is no Disneyland. The decor of the place and design of the rides just don't cut it. My favourite ride was the roller coaster. You know a ride is not that rough if you were allowed to wear glasses on the ride.

^ There's this restaurant beside our hostel that's always packed whenever we walk past, so after depositing our barang barang and freshening up, we went in for dinner. Delicious spicy soup and seafood pancake. The only banchan here were the pickled veg and chili grass (which i have grown to like). We were kinda suckered into ordering too much food and we could't finish the pancake that looked more suitable for a party of 5.

And with this, we conclude the first part of our Korea adventures.

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it sounds less horrible than I remembered. Haha. Hello bunsies and bunsies' little minion!

Re: Summarized like that

It's, supressed bad memories, so only good memories left! :D

How's moka and her bemen?

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