Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunday Morning in Seoul (with Street Food)

Woah there, Blogger/Google/Picasa. Apparently I've used up all 1000 megabytes (1GB) of the free storage space that comes with this blogging platform. I've been in Korea for less than five months, and I've already uploaded a gigabyte of photos? Dang.

I'm loathe to pay for extra storage space, though. Hm, what to do now? Link to Facebook photo albums? Delete older photos? Resize all of my pho- NO WAY. So... Dear readers, any suggestions?

I was going to write about the lovely Sunday morning I spent in Hongdae and Myeongdong, two popular neighborhoods in Seoul, with Fulbright buddies as well as a long-time-no-see high school friend. I had photos of mint chocolate lattes and Myeongdong's famous street food. Whatever shall I do now that I can't share them?


Well, I can use words, I guess. I stayed with a couchsurfer named Kevin, who is from Switzerland, on Saturday night. My first official couchsurfing experience was great all around, although it was short. I would of course recommend it to anyone itching to travel but either worried about lodging costs, traveling alone, or traveling without an itinerary. I'll definitely look to it when I look for places to during my spring break next year.

On Sunday morning, then, I was about to wander around the Hongdae area by myself, when I ran into Rachel and Andrew M. in the metro station. We decided to get coffee/breakfast together, and Rachel and I tried in vain to find food. Now, Saturday night Hongdae is always a hoppin' neighborhood, unimaginably crowded and just jam-packed with all kinds of restaurants. But Sunday morning Hongdae is like a ghost town. You might call it peaceful, with weak ten-o'-clock sunlight shining through some trees and a pedestrian or two wandering about, but in fact, it was kind of chilling (and chilly). Where was everyone? And more importantly, why were there almost no cafes open? And why was there only one food truck in sight, one that was setting up and not ready for business yet? We tried a hole-in-the-wall place whose sign read that it would be open at 10:30 but failed to do so, which we found out when we almost walked into a chair stuck in the (open) doorway upon which a paper note had been affixed that read (something along the lines of) "Nope! We're actually gonna open at 12:30, sucks for you". Dang, run-on.

Rachel commented that this was the first time Korea had failed her when it came to needing food at any given moment in a day. Despite the previous night's feast, we were ravenous, and finally settled on Homestead Coffee, a sort of Starbucks knockoff that seemed too trendy for my taste, but it was all fine and dandy in the end.

Then my high school friend, Justin, called me up and we embarked on a mission to fill our 배 (pae/stomachs) with as much delicious street food as we could find around Hongdae and Myeongdong, several subway stops away. Eggy bread (1,000₩)? Check. Hotteok (1,000₩)? Check. Gross burnt caramel thing that looked a lot better than it tasted (1,000₩, unfortunately)? Check. Tornado Potato?!?! (2,000₩) CHECK. The problem with the tornado potato, aside from the fact that it is a heart failure-inducing, deep-fried entire potato, is that its twirly deliciousness is so thin that in the frigid air, it goes from piping fresh-from-the-deep-fryer hot to soggy, cold, and sad in mere minutes. Still a treat, though. I wish I could show you the photos.
Oh hey, it works! Facebook-linked photo; you should be able to see it if you're friends with me on FB. En garde, beware the skewer of deep-fried potato! (photo taken by Justin, fellow MSJ Yearbook alum!)
It was fun to hang out with Justin that morning, and all too soon, it was time for me to depart (lest I return to Changwon too late for my own good, as this bus commute takes five hours, one way). And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my weekend in Seoul! In two days I'm going to repeat the trip, only this time not for Thanksgiving and wonderful food, but to take the GRE, which I'm going to fail, no doubt. (Who does worse on practice test number two, after two weeks of cramming? Seriously?) But I'll be sure to do fun things and take good photos, and I'll find a way to put them here soon enough. Ciao!

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