Sunday, December 13, 2009

Subway, Shopping and Soju, oh my!

Our first full day in Seoul, we decided to venture out of the neighborhood of our hotel. After asking the receptionist what was nice to see around here, and receiving a "not much" shrug, we threw caution to the wind and went out on our own. We walked rather aimlessly for about thirty minutes and finally stumbled into a hotel called Friend Hotel and asked someone there how to get to the shopping area. He told us to take the subway to Chungmuro. The subway??!! By ourselves??!!

So we did it! And it was easy! The ticket vending machine was in English and it cost $1 for a one-way ticket. The subway was so clean and efficient and even had TV screens for our viewing pleasure.

 We ended up in this HUGE outdoor shopping area. It was like the Champs Élysées on steroids. They had everything: Zara, Adidas, Forever 21, Timberland, Fubu. The place was pretty crowded when we got there, it being a Saturday around noon, but when we left in the late afternoon it was nigh impossible to walk. I guess Koreans like to sleep in on Saturdays, which is perfectly fine by me.

We stopped into this huge department store called Lotte which had 11 floors including an entire story devoted to a food court. There were dozens of food options to choose from: Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, even a Mr. Pizza.

                                         Here's what I ordered.                                      This is what it looked like, yum.

We had some lunch and then headed back to the hotel to take a nap. Of course, on our way back we got woefully lost and wandered around looking for the landmark that told us we were close to the hotel, a giant crab, which we never found.

After a two-hour nap, we went out for dinner and some drinks. Michelle and I met up with Quinn and Richard, and about eight other people working for Chungdahm and staying in the same hotel. One of the guys was Korean and was our tour guide for the night. He took us to this Chinese restaurant where we had a ton of food for super cheap.

Next we went to a bar called Tree Hof (there are a lot of "hofs" around here and my theory is that it's short for "hofbrau"). We had beer and flavored soju which tasted more like grape, peach, and pomegranate punch. Delicious! We were there for a while, mingling, and it was so awesome that we're all from such varied places. Here's what I've gathered so far: we've got 2 Canadians (both from Toronto), 4 Michiganders, 1 Floridian, 1 D.C.-er, 1 Texan, a New Yorker, I think a Pennsylvanian, and a New Zealander. Pretty cool, huh? Oooh and a Californian! I can't believe I'm the only one!

A couple of people went out clubbing but the rest of us headed back to the hotel for a late night grammar session. Yep, that's right. Nice and buzzed, we decided to discuss adverbial clauses.

I finally made it to bed around 3:30 and then woke up at 8 this morning. Today is the last day before training so I think we're all going to stay in and study for the test tomorrow.

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