COEX, Royal Tombs, and Girls

So Friday was a day off for me, so I made the most of it. I met up with my friend Hyeon Kyu around 10AM. We probably should have set the time back a bit because we were already fairly exhausted. But we set off anyway. The weather was pretty hazy and a bit wet, and we were supposed to meet a friend for lunch, so we went ahead and went to COEX.

The entrance to COEX. It was connected to the station.

If entirely honest, COEX wasn’t exactly mind blowing. It was very much like a large shopping mall is in the States. Although it did have a casino in it. And a substantial bookstore, although I was told there are larger bookstores elsewhere. Either way, it was pretty cool. Our meeting with his friend was cancelled, so we decided we’d go ahead and eat lunch. We opted for one of my favorite foods: 곱창. Hyeon Kyu knew a pretty cool place nearby that had 곱창, but it was beef intestine instead of pork. And it was very expensive. But it was also all you could eat. It was fantastic. Although we agreed it would be better to come back at night sometime so we could enjoy it with Soju.

Anyway, If you’re interested in seeing beef intestines and reading the rest of this, it will be after the break.

Here's some of the 곱창 and some other thing I don't know what it is called, but it is basically bacon, but cut off of a cow.

Anyway, it was an amazing and quite unhealthy lunch. Worth every penny. After that, we went to the book store, and I found a place that sells DVDs and I did a few other things and then we went to the Kimchi Field Museum. It was really an interesting little place, but it wasn’t very big. There were models of kimchi throughout the ages and showed the evolution of the food. It also had a room where you could taste kimchi and there was an area that talked about the health benefits of the dish. It also showed many of the different types of kimchi, of which there were some I would have never imagined. Like Pheasant kimchi. Crazy.

After that, we left for Seolleung and Jeongneung, which is only a station away. These two sites are collectively part of a UNESCO protected site. It was very interesting because it was essentially a medium sized park, but in the middle of Seoul. It was odd to sit on the stairs of a small shrine that was built 500 years ago and look out at skyscrapers.

Unfortunately, you can’t get too close to Jeongneung, but you can get a decent view of the other tomb. It was very neat and the park would be an excellent place to bring a date or to visit again in the summer. It does have an entry fee, but it isn’t very much. I liked it, and it was only maybe the second UNESCO site I’ve been to. Himeji Castle was the first and this was the second. Compared to Himeji, I was less impressed, but I would go to Seolleung and Jeongneung again and Himeji, well, there isn’t much point to repeat visits. Today I went to Changdeokgung Palace, which is also a UNESCO site, and it was also much more impressive (Look forward to the post tomorrow or later) so it is a bit strange that Seolleung has the designation, especially since Niagara was pretty fantastic and it isn’t listed as a UNESCO protected site. Although I believe the designation actually is for all 18 royal tomb sites, which are scattered around Korea, which kind of changes it a bit.

Anyway, if you live in Korea, you should make a trip to Seolleung while you live here. If you were to visit Korea for only a few days, there are many more interesting sights (sites?) to see. Maybe my opinion will change in the summer when the trees are in bloom and the grass becomes greens.

There's one of the tombs itself.

After Seolleung, we went back to Bupyeong and had some coffee while discussing our new project. We’ll be creating a travel blog, which I’ll give more details on it at a later date, when we launch it in earnest. The other guy we’re working with is an artist, so I’ll going to talk to him about resurrecting my comic project with him as my new artist. That’s a promising and exciting prospect, but I’ll have to see after I meet the guy. Of course, this is all currently a hobby. The blog won’t be turning a profit at current and the comic project isn’t off the ground yet. I’m making this distinction because I don’t want it to seem like I’m getting another job, which would be a violation of my visa. And my exclusivity clause.

Anyway, afterwards, we went our separate ways. A few hours later I returned to Bupyeong to meet some friends. When I lived in the states, I worked with a girl named Jung Yun and she told me I needed to meet her friends when I arrived in Korea. I’ve been here about a month, and I just now got a chance to meet them. They’re both beautiful ladies, a little bit older than me, and we had a great time drinking. The curious thing is we don’t all speak the same language. They’re both fluent in Korean, but mine is just basic. My English is fluent, Ye Ji’s is conversational, and Jung Hee’s is basic. I speak conversational French, Ye Ji knows basic French, Jung Hee knows none. Ye Ji seems fluent in Japanese, while I’m basic conversational and Jung Hee might be the same as me. Jung Hee is fluent in Chinese, none of the rest of us know any. In the end, it resulted in our conversation constantly changing language and there being mini language lessons every once and a while. It was pretty neat to see and for the most part, we understood each other very well. We also drank a lot. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but soju sneaks up on you sometimes. Some parts of the night are a bit hazy. It was interesting drinking with them, because it was a different experience from drinking with the older Korean guys. These girls said most of the etiquette that was important in the other situation was meaningless with them. No reason to use two hands, glasses can be topped off, etc. I’m glad I learned that etiquette for certain situations and I actually did part of it automatically. I’m now kind of used to using two hands for pouring or holding a glass. It is probably for the best for me to learn the most polite way of doing things and then I can lighten up a bit. Either way, me and these girls are planning to go out another time. Pretty awesome.

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~ by James on April 1, 2012.

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