Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend Adventures: Shopping, North Korea, and not eating Dog

What the heck, I've been walking around in crowded shopping areas with music blasting so here's one that I heard at least twice and it's fast growing on me. Not to mention that I just really enjoy Korean rap: BAAAAM by Dynamic Duo

Wow, what a fun weekend! I think to write a detailed report of it will be waaaay too expansive, so in the words of Inigo Montoya: Let me sum up.

On Saturday I met Annie, Anna, and Kate at Deokso Station and we headed off to Insadong to visit the palace there and eat some more of the best Patbingsoo from Slow Garden (not Slow Cafe...I'm such a dumb-dumb) felt like such a small party without Janet though :-( We visited Gyeongbokkung palace and took lots of fantastic we I mean everyone but me because I forgot my camera (double dumb dumb). You can still check them out on facebook though, because I'm tagged in them I think. Then we headed to Myeongdong for some super shopping.

Myeongdong is one of the famous shopping areas in Seoul area, and caters mostly to tourists. This means that there is a pretty good mix of super cheapy and really expensive, and plenty of stuff in the middle, which is where I was aiming. One of the best things about shopping in Korea so far has been the plethora of affordable great summer dresses. Many of them are made for women more petite than me, but I've seen many that are plenty long enough to accomodate the stork legs! I made a sweet elevens* find in one shop and bought a beautiful blue and white dress for only 10,000 won that I LOVE. I'm sure you will soon see me in it in many pictures because I am going to wear the heck out of it. After shopping till we had enough, we headed home and watched Notting Hill and drank wine. Pretty much one of the best romantic comedies I've seen. William Thacker is the kind of adorable dork who says funny things that I need to find.

I actually wore my super great dress to church today, which was perfect because it was really hot and the dress is breezy. Kate and I met the other teachers at a coffee shop nearby after church to go for frozen yogurt before heading to Dongdaemun to check out the shops there. The frozen yogurt was really interesting; it was really actual frozen yogurt, with a tart yogurt-y taste, unlike the frozen yogurt places I've been to in the U.S. where it tastes no different from soft serve ice cream.

Dongdaemun is supposedly the shopping district that is less tourist-y and that more Koreans shop at, but there were still a lot of Chinese tourists there. We just checked out one big building full of shops, but it looked very promising. Will definitely have to return.

Even more promising was an especially fantastic discovery: Ben's Cookies. When I was at Oxford in 2010, there was a covered market there that had a great cookie store called Ben's Cookies that I went to a few times but always wished I went to more often, and here like a divine opportunity it appeared before me once again. A little red shop with Ben's Cookies: Oxford England written in shining white letters. I did a serious gasp and double take and scared the other girls, but....BEN'S COOKIES! It's like my Oxford Adventure is trickling into my Korea Adventure and I freaking love it. Adventures should always trickle.

This evening we heard some from a former Connexus teacher about her work teaching English as a volunteer in North Korea, and it was so neat! I won't say a lot here because I don't know how sensitive the details are, but if you want to support somebody who is doing some great work building relationships with North Korean students, I know someone you can donate funds to :-)

Before she shared, we were invited to try some of the dog soup that the neighbors made from one of the dogs they had been keeping in a kennel out back. Apparently eating/serving dog in restaurants was banned and cracked down on during the '88 Olympics because of the possible disapproval of foreigners visiting for the games, but since then it's slowly gotten more popular again. At least, it isn't as hard to find anymore, though it's still expensive. At any rate, though some other teachers tried it, I passed. Maybe I'll regret it, but it was just a little too outside my comfort zone at this moment.

Ok that's all for now. I may have gotten carried away in just summing up. Whoops-a-daisy (yay Notting Hill reference!)

Thanks for reading!

* A Daddyism that means something like a mix between serendipitous and unlikely-to-happen-but-still wanted. What you whisper to the dice during a game of Settlers of Catan to make them perform better.

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