Yes. today’s title is a spin off of both kpop group “Big Bang” and the amazing show “Big Bang Theory”. I’ve decided to make some changes to posting. Since I have a life on the weekends I figured maybe culture/sight seeing/kpop etc updates would be on mondays and then teaching/GEPIK applications/specitfic information on Fridays.
So my weekend….was amazing!
I decided to make the decison to stay in Seoul for the weekend. It gets tiring having to go back and forth and then spend all day on your feet only to have an hour and a half commute home.
I’ve had this dream to stay at the Ritz Carlton in NYC for a long time. Turns out there is one in Seoul! For cheap(ish)! For one night it was around 200$ for a standard deluxe room. However I needed it for two nights which rounded out at a whooping 500$. I had just dropped 170$ on clothes….so that was a big NO! Sigh, I will have to save up. One day….one day.
I wound up booking a room at the “Grammos Hotel” located in the southern part of Gangnam right off of Yeoksam Station. It is a bit south and more of a fincial district but for two nights I was able to spend only 300$. It worked out well. The room was big, there shower was nice, there was a SMART TOLIET!!! (my mom is obsessed with these) and the bed was super comfy.
The room was also a “smart” room. Everything was controlled with the panel on the wall or the remote control. So i could turn lights, tv, ac on and off from my remote. It was pretty sweet! It is located right near the Rennasaince Hotel, and is walking distance to a lot of restaraunts and coffee shops as well as an easy walk to Yeoksam Station
But how did I get there?
I usually take the train in to Seoul Station. It takes about an hour, and it’s not too bad-5$. But I needed to be on the other side (the eastern side) and there aren’t really any trains that go there. So I wound up taking a bus to nambu terminal-my first time on a korean city to city bus….was surprsingly easy!
Trains and metro leave AK plaza which is the main transportation hub in pyeongtaek. The bus terminal is literally right down the road-facing AK Plaza turn left down the main road and you will see the bus terminal.
Now we did get stuck in traffic because silly me I took it the one that left at 530 so it took longer than normal which I used up sleeping and drinking the really good iced latte I had gotten from ToPresso-a fave coffee shop of mine. They are one of the only places that puts enough ice in my iced latte.
At first I was super hesistant about taking the bus-it was a spur of the moment thing for me (which if you know me, I like things super planned out) and unlike subway and trains, there aren’t any screens scrolling by in English.
So I had blind faith-but as it turns out the route that my bus takes leaves every 20 mintues. So not only was it the main platform number (1-1) but it was empty so my suitcase and me had an entire row to ourselves! Yay us! Now I will say this-about any transportation-the seats here are def smaller. I fit fine but i’m sure for some people it could become uncomfortable.
As I said the bus ride was about an hour and a half long so I was thankful that I thought to buy that oatmeal and rasin cookie!
I had to hop on the subway line when I got to the bus terminal and then it was a simple transfer and a walk and then there I was at the hotel!
Now I had not gone out to eat by myself yet. In America there is nothing strange or unusal about it. You just bring a book or play on your phone and sit at the bar or something.
In Korea, no one eats alone out.
But I was starving and I needed something more than simply the banana milk I had bought at the GS25 (local convenice store). So after wandering for about 20 mintues and recieving strange looks I braved a restaraunt and walked in. It was small and nice and surprsingly not too uncomfrotable. For 6$ I got amazing bibimbap, and the spiciest kimchi I’ve ever had. This stuff not only was paramore hayley williams red hair red, but you could smell the spice coming off of it. I tried three bites and had to put it down.
I sat with my book (Twilight…don’t judge) and happily watched some baseball game on the tv. All in all…it wasn’t the scary experience I thought it was going to be.
That night after shifting though about 100 channels I settled on a marathon of House M.D.
I had forgotten house good of a show it was.
I had not set an alarm but wound up waking up at 6 am like I’ve been doing for over a week now. But I forced myself to fall back alseep until about 930 when I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I got dressed and headed out for a fun day of shopping in Itaewon, puppy playing in Gangnam, and exploring Gwanghwamun area.
But…I was not dressed for this adventure. The weather here has been difficult-in the morning, evenings, and shade, it is cold. Like you need more than “a light jacket in April” cold. But in the sun….you want to melt and die faster than Elphaba.
I had long light weight work out leggings, sneakers, a camisole and a light coat. And by the end of the day I was roasting. I even saw some people sunburned!
After checking out the US Embassy, Gwanghwamun gate, and buying some “imported” music at Kyobo (Hobbit part 3 soundtrack finally!) I headed over to Itaewon for some clothes shopping. Because everyone here is a size 2 it’s hard to find clothes. But itaewon has shopping that caters to “big size” anything over a size 4. However…these stores tend to be…so big. Most of the clothes I tried on were huge! Good thing my friend told me that oversized clothing is a trend.
I left with a few shirts and a new pair of white shorts which I had to utilize the following day.
After Itaewon and a nice lunch at a “french bistro” I headed back to gangnam to play with puppies at the Cafe pawz cafe.
It was cute and the staff made sure everything was clean. These dogs were a lot smaller than the others in Hongdae but still sweet. I had a particuarly chunky one park himself next to me.
It is located off of Gangnam station (not gangnam-gu office) and you need to make sure you leave out of the correct exit-this is another one of those super underground shopping malls- I have completely forgotten which one it is but if i remember or find it again I will edit this post.
Now it is a bit of a walk to get cafe but not unreasonable.
It was nice and relaxing and something I could see myself do every eveing after work if I lived around there.
I had the dliema of eating alone again for dinner so I found a “mexican” taco place in the basement of the Gangnam financial center. It was interesting-the chilie was not bad but the ground up the beef so much that it was almost more of a soup that a chilie. And the chips and salsa…were oddly sweet.
But while it was no Chipolte…it could have been much worse.
I went back to my amazing hotel and packed. I didn’t want to leave. It had acted as my amazing home for two days and that bed….so comfy. I watched After School Club with had the one kpop star that I swear is stalking me through TV-Niel from Teen Top.
My friend Danielle is so offended by him and his lips and hair that I use his pictures to terrorize her. Now I’m terrifed of his face as well.
Our friend Whitney however loves him and his lips and calls us “mean”. The good news was, his new song and personality were good-but getting past his face and those lips…it’s not an easy thing.
I ended up falling asleep to SVU marathon. Oh how i miss my american tv shows.
The next day…I knew was going to be hectic: With Big Bang concert on one side of the city and trains and shopping on the other side Whitney and I ran ourselves ragged.
I checked out of my hotel after a really good breakfast from Paris Baguttee and headed over to Apgujeong where she was staying. Then we both went to seoul station to store out luggage for the day. However Seoul station was full so we went to the next stop over-Hoekhyeon and dropped out suitcases off there. Now Hoekhyeon sounds like Hakyeon-Vixx’s N’s real name…so…i’ve come to refer to the station as Hakyeon…probably not the best idea.
After storing suitcases it was time to do what I’ve become really good at here in Seoul…shopping! Whitney wanted this jacket she had seen in Hongdae the weeks prior but we couldn’t find it. So we ate pizza, she bought a thing, I bought some stuff and then we headed back to Olympic park for Big bang.
We had planned on getting there an hour or so early but we ended up only having 20 minutes to spare…and we had standing! So we quickly bought merch and then went inside. Now when we walked in our standing section was packed….like people spilling out over the top…
I thought to myself…shit…we waited too long….
Only come to find they were putting the overflow from section C standing into seciont A so we wound up being closer and in a better poition!! Who knew being late would pay off?!?!
The concert was amazing and we were so close! They had sections that moved over us and fireworks and fire and two new songs! It was a fun concert despite the fact they did not play my favorite song “Love Song”.
But Whitney came to the same conclusion I did-even though we had super close standing, and though I knew more of Big bang’s songs…..Vixx was a better concert.
Due to the travel time and chaos of people leaving we did’t get to the train station until 930pm and our trains left at 1020pm. So we had ice cream and sat before saying goodbye and leaving.
I got home at 1130. She got to her houe at 130. It was a long night and 730 am looked horrible.
Even though it was so tiring and long and hot and I spent more money that I intended…it was a pretty awesome weekend.
1. I got to see bigbang
2. I got to stay at a nice comfortabl hotel
3. I got to shop!
4. i got to see and hang out with whitney
5. I conquered my fear of eating out alone
6. the weather-though hot-was nice.
I did not unpack when I got home only to realize that I have a 3 day business trip staring on Tuesday -tomrrow. So i have to unpack when I get home, clean and repack for three days. it also is my only work day of the week until next wednesday due to “spring break” and “childrens day” so a super long weekend. A very very weird week.
I will not see some classes for over 3 weeks. So it will be hard and intersting to see where everyone is lesson wise come the week of may 10.
As for now, I have to plan the rest of my week, and try to stay awake at my desk. Because sleep looks really really good.
Next time on the real archines of black and white dog Korea: business trip, long weekend, and looking forward to the progression of may