Monday, November 2, 2009

Seoul in the Rain (Saturday)

This weekend we fled from Jecheon and headed to Seoul for a weekend of sightseeing and Halloween celebrating.

We got up at 5:30, got ready and caught the 7:30 nonstop bus to the DongSeoul Bus Terminal.

  We got off the bus and headed for the City Hall to get maps and tourist information.  A good part of the hall was under construction, so we didn't get as much information as we expected, but we did get a good map.

The path to City Hall was beautiful.

These tile collages dotted the path.

This mind bending sculpture was across from the art museum near the hall.

This sculpture is in the City Hall's courtyard.

After getting the map we stopped at Holly's coffee for breakfast.  There was a little Halloween display in the corner, and we couldn't resist.

As we went to find our hostel, it started to rain.  It rained for the rest of the day.  Although we would have preferred no rain, what would Halloween be without it?

The hostel we humble, but pretty rad.  The neighborhood rocked and the people were nice.  We'll probably stay there next time we're in Seoul for a weekend.  We have to send the room key back to them because they never asked for it and we forgot to turn it in.

The hostel was near a university and the area had an indie/punky feel to it.  We really enjoyed it.

We stopped into a convenience store to buy an umbrella.  I see these Hello Panda cookies everywhere.  I feel like Rob brought these home for Grant once, right before we left.  Did that really happen?

There's a vegan fast food place called Loving Hut in Seoul.  They're a pretty big chain and they have restaurants in the states, too.  One is opening in Seattle soon.  We decided that we would eat there for lunch.  It was so good, we ate there again today.

On the way to the restaurant we passed this cool building, which turned out to be a restaurant, too.

At Loving Hut Ian contemplates the new-agey beliefs of the restaurant's creator, "Supreme Master Ching Hai."

I was more interested in the menu.

Fried dumplings.

Spicy soy protein.

After lunch, we headed over to Nandaemun Market to get some Halloween garb and to see the (Namdaemun) gate.

On the way we passed a cool mirror that looked a bit like a periscope coming out of the ground.

We managed to get some Halloween stuff at the market, but it turns out that this is all you can see of the gate.  It's under construction since it was burned down in February of 2008, but last I heard it was just covered in scaffolding.  They must have covered it so that construction could continue through winter.  After all, it is South Korea's "National Treasure Number 1," so I assume the goal is to finish it as soon as possible.

That was a bummer, but we decided to head over to Deoksugung, which is a smaller palace in Seoul that has had various purposes including a temporary royal residence after all the others were burnt down during the Japanese invasion in the Seven Year War.

The rain made for terrible pictures, but we did our best.

The grounds were beautiful even in the pouring rain.

Ian in the gate.

Me in front of the main building.

The pathway is lined with stones.  I think they designated the ranks that the courtiers lined up by during ceremonies.

The throne.

The palace with the modern skyline in the background.

Sokchojon Hall, a Western building on the palace grounds, now houses the National Museum of Korea.

After playing at the palace for a couple hours or so, we decided to have ice cream for dinner.  Well, it was supposed to be dinner.


Then we got into the Halloween spirit.

Ian couldn't wear his game show name tag (because of the rain), so he opted for a batman look.


The extent of my cat burglar costume.

We wanted to walk down Cheonggye Stream, but it was closed.  Ian walked us in the opposite direction when we were trying to get there, but we did see this:

I was very confused, since I was wrongly convinced that the Seattle Hammering Man was the one and only.  I looked it up and there are several (by the same artist) around the world.  It was an odd and friendly sight.

We couldn't get down to the stream, so we walked around the neighborhood a bit.

I have no idea what these refer to, but I bet there are more around the city.

While walking through the Hongik University neighborhood (near Club Spot) we came across Dos Tacos, a well reviewed Mexican restaurant.  We decided it was too opportunistic to pass up, solidifying the day's status as a gorge fest.

Dos Tacos felt very familiar.

The food was good, too.  Lots of cilantro!

About an hour before Still Alive started, we stumbled upon a show in the park directly across from the club.  The group was called Soundbox and their numerous talents including tap dancing, beatboxing, rocking out and drunk wrangling.  The last talent refers to an older gentleman that kept wandering onto their stage.  They served him some mokoli and scooted him away.

I had to bring up the exposure on the photo, but the band/group is in the first row (in case you can't really see).

I'm really glad that we chose the party we did.  It was a costume party/ punk show with several bands (many of them made up of foreigners) headlining.  The music wasn't bad and the people watching was great.  Down the street were several parties (like Club Cacoon's "Halloween Sexy Party") that had ridiculous lines and farcical blasting club music.

Club Spot:

The beer here sucks.

"Brint Eastwood"

"...Whatever That Means"  They wore medical scrubs and pig noses (not while they were on stage, though).  Get it?

The bassist of "...Whatever That Means."  She's the only Korean in the band and married to the lead singer.

Halloween was a great time, though it was mostly foreigners in costume.

Well, it's 2am here, so STAY TUNED FOR "SUNDAY!"

 Good night!


  1. Looks like a great time. How did you get the airial photo of you two? And are you planning to tour the museums on one of your trips to Seoul?

    I can't wait to come visit. Seoul looks very interesting and pretty.

    We just changed the clocks from
    day light savings time to standard time. Does Korea do the same?

  2. 1)Dude, they sell those YanYan cookie sticks at the mexican grocery here.
    2)I'm glad you found a good party spot. We went to a bar that had a Honky-Tonk band playing. It was great fun, much better than any of the other clubs with their hip hop or techno.
    3)All that food looks amazing.
    4)Twilight Zone!
    5)Can't wait for the next post.

  3. I think Ian was the same thing in about 3rd grade. Oh, he was a cute Batman back then, LOL. Scarier now though.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Glad you found a fun place to celebrate, and that you found yummy food. May be good for the waistline that you're not teaching in Seoul?