I’m finally done cleaning JH’s apartment so I’m actually very free today! So instead of binge watching Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix JP, I shall write something, lol.
Let me share with you how my uneventful Korean trip went.
Warning: Choppy post ahead because I wrote it while talking to 3 different people on Whatsapp, lol.
Admittedly, as mentioned before in previous posts, I was so tired I spent much of the time resting and catching up on my sleep. So finally on the third day, I decided to actually be an actual tourist and went to visit a palace!
I went to Kyeongbokgung (KBG)… Which is located at *sniggers* Kyeongbokgung Station #youdontsay
Because of GJH’s business trip, we were staying near Gangnam and that whole area is basically like our Raffles Place, which is totally un-touristy and completely office-y. So when I reached KBG, I felt super liberated and actually started feeling like I am on a holiday for real.
I only went to one palace, which is KBG, and it is very much different compared to the castles you visit in Japan. First of all, KBG is much more spacious and way huge-r than the castles I’ve been to in Japan but I feel that there is a lack of map and directions and the architecture was less done up as well. Most of the walking area in Japan’s castles are tiled or done up but in KBG, I was walking on un-tiled path i.e. sandy ground. Perhaps it is different in the other bigger palaces, I’m really not sure. But there weren’t much to read in KBG (there’s just one semi-long summarised introduction before you enter an area and that’s it, no individual introduction for individual rooms or structure) and I couldn’t get a clear idea of what interesting things happened in the palace, unlike the ones I went to in Japan where they will tell you who and who were killed in which particular room, lol. Anyway, more photos.
It was pretty hot and the sand kept getting stuck in my shoes, it pissed me off a bit. I really wish that the palace had more rooms opened and not just endless palace structures with closed doors. I was basically walking around but not actually getting to see much and know much, now that I think back.
Along the palace, at the park outside, there were more interesting structure featuring some olden days shops, replicated to give you a feel of how they looked like back then. I really loved this part of the park!
And there was this Jeju statue thing, which I happily took a snapshot of, as well as the explanation that accompanies the statue. Because I know JH will have something to say about it for sure, lol.
As expected, he agreed that the translation made understanding so challenging, hahaa.
So besides this touristy place that I went, I also headed over to the popular Garosugil, which is a pretty shopping street lined by trees. The shops there are, in a way, higher class. I felt that it was pretty alright, a nice walk, but nothing I would rave about. But my review is obviously not very accurate because I don’t shop.
I got an image off google because, well… I didn’t take any photo there, lol.
Come to think about it, I didn’t buy anything from Korea except 2 bathbomb (which totally failed me *rolls eyes*) and a water heat pack for a friend. I changed S$300 and I still have around S$150 left after 5 days. But it is not like I did not shop. I tried. I really tried so hardddd. So hard that I walked through the endless shopping street at Express Bus Terminal. It is literally endless. See.
It is basically shops in rows and it just goes on and on. I tried to shop and walked around here and in Gangnam underground shopping area, but I found it really pointless after walking around for 15min because every other shop was selling the same thing. And all the shops that were selling heels and shoes were also selling similar designs, all in black, white or nude, because well, that’s the trend now.
GJH told me about the strong ‘herd mentality’ among Koreans before and I sort of knew, but I did not know it was to this extent. So once something is on fashion, everyone gets the same thing. That’s so odd.
Another reason why I did not buy anything could also be due to the fact that I speak ZERO korean. Zero, nada, zilch. So in my mind, I knew that the prices quoted at such areas are usually open for bargaining. What this means is also the fact that prices could be jacked up if the shop owners wish to do so. So I was hesitant to approach shop owners to ask about price of the item if there’s no price tag attached to the item. There was once, I finally found a pair of platform heels that I feel like I could buy (I did not even super love it, just finally-something-I-do-not-mind-buying level) and I approached the Korean Uncle (somehow, most of the shops selling heels were manned by Korean Uncles, why?!) to ask and guess what happened?
“Forty Thousand Won!”
I smiled nicely and said okay at first, ready to try while I work out the math in my head, because I’m not familiar with currency conversion in Korea and my math suck. When I finally worked out the sum in my mind, I immediately felt super cheated and disgusted because you see, I saw other heels in other shops and they were selling most heels at around 8,000 won, which is around S$10. What he quoted me was FORTY THOUSAND WON; a whopping FIVE times of the usual price of other shops and remember? All shops were selling almost the same shit!
When he appeared with the heels, I just told him it’s okay and walked off.
I really, really, really, wished I walked off like this:
But I think I was probably too shocked to respond appropriately. This is appropriate because that’s what he deserve for trying to scam foreigners, tmd.
Now you see, by this time, I really disliked Korea already. Because right when I landed and took the train, I was shoved by 2397948123123 Ahjummas, one of whom made sure I could breathe through her huge hairdo in the lift because she refused to get out of the lift and continued squeezing in even when her entrance caused the lift to be overloaded. In the end, some poor woman had to leave the lift so the lift can actually move. With all these rude commuters and now this scammer uncle, I developed such a poor impression of Korea, I decided the hotel was a better place to be (at least I had endless cable TV to binge watch on).
But you see, something about Korea made me really happy. THE FOOD.
Because I absolutely love Korean food. I mean, what’s there not to love about their fried chicken, bibimbap, bulgogi and whatever stews? *drools
Funny thing happened while I was at KBG. I saw this Muslim lady at the vending machine, staring for the longest time. Feeling impatient and too hot to wait anymore, I approached her and signalled to her that I’m going to put in my coins. She stepped aside and this is what I got:
Perhaps she think I am a local and I know what’s nice, she swiftly got the same drink after me. HAHA. And sadly, it wasn’t really nice either, lol. Oops.
Check out this super cute sighting!
And we left Korea to head back to Tokyo on JAL. It was my first time on JAL and I really liked it! Somehow, the ceiling is extra high on the JAL plane.
Featuring skinny JH.
And that’s it!
In closing, perhaps I should say that after 4 days, I started getting more used to Koreans’ pushing and shoving on trains as well as the lack of english language. I constantly complained to JH during that 5 days about how foreign everything was to me and how Japan is easier to understand and I realised that perhaps why it was so difficult is purely because I understood Japanese but not Korean language, lol.
During dinner with JH and his Korean colleagues, they kept talking about how it’d be great if he choose to relocate to Korea. Since then, JH has been asking me how’s Korea. And I think from what I have written above, my sentiments towards Korea is very obvious… hahaha. Though I have to admit, if given a chance to live in Korea and study Korean language, I don’t deny that it’d be really fun and exciting. So let’s see how it goes if it really comes to that stage.
Come to think about it, I used to threaten to boycott JH’s blog if he ever moved to Korea. I guess I can’t do that anymore since I am writing on it, lol.