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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Chusok

Chusok is a Korea holiday equivalent to our Thanksgiving. Only it's three days instead of one. This year it happened to fall during the middle of the week. So I had to work Monday but had the rest of the week of! I've been planning and looking forward to going bunjee jumping for Chusok for a while. So I thought I'd venture to Seoul to see my friend Gina again (even though the last trip was pretty awful - nothing went as planned).

This trip was (almost) completely the opposite! I was a little worried at first. Gina doesn't have a cell phone right now. My internet wasn't working before I left. Luckily I told her when my bus was leaving and she told me her new apartment number. My stomach was in knots the whole ride up there (what would I do if I couldn't find her place...? Wander around in Ilsan?) 

My arrival was flawless (for the most part). Didn't even go the wrong direction on the subway! The only downer was the awful rain and the traffic. It was bumper to bumper basically the entire way to Seoul. America has no idea what holiday traffic is... And there were flash floods on the interstate going into the city. I got DRENCHED even with an umbrella. But, I made it safely.

Wednesday Gina got up at a decent hour to go shopping. I got my shop on like it was going out of style. Found some Winter clothes (I obviously don't have the typical Asian physique so that can pose a problem when looking for any type of apparel) and some shoes. Bought some books and some face stuff! Great shopping all around. Then we decided to go to Namsan tower (a needle point structure). You can take a cable car up to it (it's on a mountain).

We didn't know exactly how to get there but life is an adventure, right? Some Ajumma (Korean for older lady) told us which subway line to take. We get to the stop and a Korean couple is looking at the area map with us. They point at the same place we need to go. Same Same! (A new, commonly used phrase in my life.) So we decide to follow them. After all, they're Korean, we're not. They head up through these neighborhoods. I kind of questioned their route but they must be going the right way, right... Oh my gosh. Those people took us over a river, through the woods, up some hills, around corners and still, we were not  even close to the cable car place. They finally shoo us away and we come to the conclusion that maybe they are hiking, not going to the same place we are... Ugh. We found another Korean couple that got lost with us and together we all found the cable cars... Got some great views/pictures of the skyline just before my camera went dead. Then for dinner we ate delicious American food in Itaewon (the foreigner district of Seoul).

Next day (Thursday) we got up early-ish again and went to Costco (always a highlight of Ilsan trips!) where I bought REAL cheese, lunch meat, salsa, Heinz ketchup and American mascara! Lunch was Taco Bell! It's pretty sad when Taco Bell counts as Mexican food... Then we set off for the Seoul Zoo. It was decent for a zoo (although I don't think any zoo will ever be better than my beloved St. Louis Zoo...) and it was really fun to see all the Korean families and little kids everywhere. Success. Dinner was delicious Thai food (again in Itaewon) then met up with a couple friends.

Friday was bunjee day!! Gina had to work and everyone (in Pohang and Ilsan) flaked so it was just me and Nick. 9:00 am departure turned into, "Let's wake up at 9," turned into sleeping until 11, leaving around noon. Even if there was a big crowd and we had to wait, we really didn't have anything else to do... It took a two hour subway ride and ten minute taxi to get to the park. It didn't look crowded... Hmmm... No one was jumping. Or getting ready to jump. Hmmmm... The lake underneath was really low. Hmmm... You guessed it. They were closed. Now I did my research. The website specifically said open all days including holidays, rain or shine. I even tried to call at one point but got no answer. The site didn't mention that if the lake was too full or they were cleaning it (neither Nick nor I understand Korean but we tried our best to make up what we thought the Korean guy sleeping at the ticket counter said), no one could jump. It was a sad afternoon, two hour subway ride back and wasted day... That called for some soju...

After a short nap, we (I went out with Gina's friends because she had to work until 10 p.m.) ate some delicious Korean dinner, went to noraebang, and ended the night at a club. It was so much fun and I met some great people... Don't tell anyone but I secretly REALLY want to move there when my contract in Pohang is over! Shhhhh!

The next day (Saturday) I packed my stuff up for the journey back home to Pohang. Got home around 11 p.m. Met a friend for some drinks and called in a relatively early night. Today (Sunday) is just a relaxing day at a coffee shop (don't feel like looking at my mess of an apartment and mounds of dirty clothes to be washed) blogging, book and letters to family.

How many days until Christmas vacation?!?!?

 The Seoul skyline.
 Skyline from the top of the mountain.

 Cute giraffe headband. Small children were also wearing these accessories.
 Yay bungee jumping!!
Sad waygooks :(

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