living / South Korea

Seoul round 2

Alli and I again traveled to Seoul for a second chance to see the sights of one of the world’s biggest cities. We had a better plan going in: we’d stay in a hotel in the Myeongdong shopping area, go up the north tower to get a bird’s eye view of the city, travel to the electronics market to find the perfect bargain, meet friends out in the club and bar section, see the traditional Korean market, and head back home. A perfect plan.

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We arrived in Seoul and caught the subway to the hotel stop; I have become a quick expert at the system. Our hotel was not well-known so we wandered some hilly streets until we looked confused enough for a very nice Korean girl to ask us if we needed help. She did not know where the hotel was either, but after some searching together, we found it.

Shopping in Myeongdong was very cool. There are all kinds of clothing, skin care places, street vendors and trinket shops. This area of shopping was much more organized and fun than the area we visited on our last trip to Seoul. It was an extremely vibrant place that we will definitely visit again. The one drawback was that Seoul was a bit rainy and very cloudy that day so we decided to skip the tower and save it for another visit.

Andy Warhol exhibit in a clothing store.

Andy Warhol exhibit in a clothing store.

Shopping! Alli really wanted a skull scarf but her indecision got the better of her and she left empty handed. ... naked necked.

Shopping! Alli really wanted a skull scarf but her indecision got the better of her and she left empty handed. … naked necked.

After a few hours of shopping, we left and went to Yongsan Electronics Market. Korea has a very strange shopping culture in that everything is sold in separate areas of the city. One place has department stores, places like Myeongdong have the high end fashion, another spot has traditional Korean stuff and others have huge areas that sell only electronics. I was very excited but when we arrived, all the shops had already closed down for the day. It was heartbreaking, but we managed to find a couple of booths selling bootleg DVDs. It was really the first movie place we had seen in our whole trip so we were inclined to buy a few new titles. Next it was off to the clubs in Hongdae.

We were pretty tired from a long day in Seoul, but a couple of friends from Cheorwon (the county we live in) were going to meet us in Hongdae. We thought we would go out for a few drinks and go home early. That was before we saw Hongdae. We got off the subway and stopped for a moment to call our friends next to a map. Three young Korean guys came up to us right away and asked if we needed help finding a place. They were eager to practice their English and offered to walk us to meet our friends. When we got to the bar, we asked them to join us. We had a few rounds of Soju (not again!) and exchanged numbers. They were going out to meet some friends and said they would meet up with us later.

Alli and Gracie, our friend from Cheorwon

Alli and Gracie, our friend from Cheorwon

Gracie and Josh in Hongdae.

Gracie and Josh in Hongdae.

Josh and me. Josh is the other native English teacher in our town, and he lives in our apartment building.

Josh and me. Josh is the other native English teacher in our town, and he lives in our apartment building.

After a few more drinks at the bar we headed to the club around 2 a.m. We had to see what the Korean club scene was about. It was pretty wild, with one cover getting you into three clubs. The second club was really fun, and we caught up with our new Korean friends there. They had a huge spread of food and drinks and were fully stocked for a good time. We hung out with them all night and they enjoyed speaking with us to practice their English. We made it back to our hotel at 7 in the morning! Pretty good for a couple of old farts. What a crazy night in the big city. Next Seoul visit is the PSY concert!

Gracie, Jon and Kevin. Some Koreans who study English use English names in their classes and when meeting foreigners.

Gracie, Jon and Kevin. Some Koreans who study English use English names in their classes and when meeting foreigners.

Hansoo is on the left. He will be studying in Perth, Australia, for four months in the same neighborhood where some of our American friends are living. Small world.

Hansoo is on the left. He will be studying in Perth, Australia, for four months in the same neighborhood where some of our American friends are living. Small world.

At the club in Hongdae

At the club in Hongdae

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2 thoughts on “Seoul round 2

  1. I loved shopping in Korea and still use my mink blanket bought there in ’83! Bootleg tennis shoes were like 4 bucks a pair 🙂

  2. 7am, wow…..the following day must have been interesting. Glad to hear you guys are getting around and experiencing all of this. Too bad about the electronic shops being shut down early.

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