Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Seoul: Hellos & Goodbyes

What’s better than meeting someone amazing? Meeting that same amazing person after an entire year. Two years ago, Heehyang 희향 moved into my house in Dublin and we did all sorts of silly things like dancing while cooking in our pyjamas or talking to each other in absolutely nonsensical ways which made no sense. Although I was able to stay at her grandmother’s house last summer, this time I didn’t get to see her that much due to busy schedules and all that jazz. Thankfully, we were able to meet up for about two hours to just chat over delicious food.

We met up in Lotte World and had some braised soy sauce chicken 닭비찜 dakbijjim which came with glass noodles 탕면 tangmyun and rice cakes ddeok. The serving was massive (and delish) as we got a whole chicken followed by some bubble tea which she treated us to. 

When Heehyang had to run off to her university, Sam and I went on a cosmetic and skincare shopping spree. Korean products have by far the best sales I’ve seen with 50% and 1+1 plastered everywhere. I’ve never ever seen 20 face masks being sold for 9900 won / RM35 / 8 euros. It’s safe to say that half of my check in luggage is filled with loads of Korean skincare products.

We then wandered around Hongdae as it was the Saturday Free Market at the Hongik University Park. Stalls upon stalls were set up with many handmade art and craft which included handpainted shoes, name stamps, portraits and more.

One of my favourite desserts is definitely bingsu and specifically injeolmi bingsu 인절미 빙수. We headed to one of the many Sulbing 설빙 cafes for some powdery, chewy, cold, melty and sweet goodness. On heading back to our hostel, we bumped into Nathan, Mason and Sophie who were heading back to Hongdae for some tacos in which we quickly dropped our shopping and headed along with them. 

Meeting these guys in our hostel was probably one of the best highlights of the trip as they were a phenomenal bunch to be with. They were each friendly, crazy, and open to doing whatever comes their way. We got some soju 소주and beers and returned to the very same arts and craft park we found earlier in the day but instead it was transformed into a rap show with the audience hanging off the jungle gym to get a better look. 

The group performing was called Black Bean 블랙빈 who put on a great show and had good interaction with the crowd them as well. We managed to get a photo with them which even made to their official FB page! 

The night then continued to pan out till 5 in the morning on the rooftop of our hostel as Sam was flying back to Malaysia at 8am and aimed to get the bus around that time. It really has been a great time spending some good quality time with my brother who I haven’t seen for a year. It really was quite special showing him one of my favourite countries in the world.

The next day when Sam had left, I met up with the grandmother who I sat beside in the plane when I was en route to Korea! She took me out to have a lavish lunch with a million plates on the table. What really shocked me was that instead of the waiter bringing the plates to the table, he wheeled in a table top with all the ingredients already arrange on top of it, in which he then rolled it on the actual table in front of it.

She also continued to treat me with cake and coffee and chats with her and her daughter, Hyeonhee 현희 who spoke really good English. 

It was really touching that total strangers who I only met on the plane for a couple of hours treated me to a full day of food, fun and stories about their own personal lives. 

Since her house was near the 1988 Olympic Park, we took a stroll within its park which was filled with all sorts of modern art installations in every corner.

There were also beautiful flower hedges which you could stroll through

Not to forget, the beautiful rose bushes which came in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

What I had not expected was that there was the Seoul Jazz Festival 2015 happening within one of the Olympic stadiums which caused such a large crowd to be there. Unfortunately, I think everything was ticketed so we couldn’t pop into see any of the performances. However, we were able to listen to it from afar.

Not only was there a jazz festival, but B1A4 was there to do a fan meeting too! Although I’m not a huge fan, it was really cool to know they were literally within the vicinity. The weather was really warm and slightly humid so the kind grandma got me fresh watermelon juice as well!

I was running slightly late for my meet up with Sepyo세표 오빠 in Hongdae for dinner so once again, grandma exuded her generosity by calling a cab to get us both to the nearest metro station. The warmth and hospitability she gave me was not required of her whatsoever but she made sure to show her big heart.

I reached Hongik station in time to meet up with Sepyo!! It was so nice to see him after (not that long but it felt like over), I forgot how fun it was to hang out with him!! He was actually one of my swimming class buddies since January (as I joined adult swimming classes due to my lack of ability to survive water in any shape or form). He treated me to a seafood pancake 해물파전 haemulpajeon and three bottles of rice wine 막걸리 makgeolli and got me to talk to several of his friends through the phone in English just to freak them out. 

Thank you so much for taking the metro for just under two hours to come to see me!! Can’t wait to see you once again next week J! To end the night, I headed back to the hostel to pack up whatever belongings I had and secretly hoped for the hostel buddies to come back and head somewhere for drinks or a night out….AND I WASN’T DISAPPOINTED! 

We had drinks on the rooftop which then ended up in NB2! NB2 is one of the popular clubs in Hongdae which was packed full with people. It was really awesome that we got to jam with the hostel peeps before all of us split to our own countries – the best way to say goodbye.


Samuel Chew said...

y u go so naise park no bring me bleks

a.c.e. said...

hahaha i also didn't know was so naise lah until she ask me to come visit her there haha