This is the most recent trip in summary. South Korea’s been a great experience altogether and I’d like to come back some day, hopefully with greater appreciation of bulgogi, bibimbap, and super spicy kimchi that’s almost nuclear. I know it’s too late an update, but what the hell, here goes!
We boarded the plane around 11 PM, November 13, arrived 4 AM November 14, and came out of the airport to savour a butt-freezing temperature of 5 degrees. This is the team at 6:30 AM. Basically dead (tired) on arrival.
Our hotel is a 15-minute walk away from Itaewon–a special tourist zone, where people speak good English and sell items at a hefty mark-up. That’s D. walking along the street with a Vendetta mask and to his right is a random photo bomber. Something must be terribly wrong with her latte. Look at the face!
Itaewon is also the site for What the Book? a book store (duh) with a shitload of great brand new and second hand titles. It’s fucking wonderland. There’s an American teacher I briefly chatted with, who’s lived in Korea for almost two years. I got a book by Shusaku Endo upon her recommendation.
The day’s loot included a paperback Steve Jobs bio for roughly P800. Teehee! Most of these items are still found in PH bookstores albeit more expensive.
Now, some historical / architectural matters I really can’t comprehend. Take palaces for example. I can’t tell the difference between 10 gazillion Korean, Chinese, and alien palaces in the universe, but here’s a photo of a tourist with a big ass piece of ancient architecture at the backdrop.
We were fortunate enough to see the ceremony on the changing of the guards, but I don’t recall the details or what it’s for anyway—except there were a lot of men in skirts doing some sort of military dance. Just adorable. The fun part was trying out the guard costumes for free. Here are the two most menacing ones I’ve seen.: E. (left) and T. (right). Thou shall not pass, bitches.
On the way to Bukchon Village we saw this really neat coffee shop / bookstore and decided to take a break. Seoul Selection has a nice collection of local lit, arts, history, and culture books as well as records.
Manila was approximately 2,614 kilometers southwest from where I stood. What a cute signage (like the pole in Ngongping) I wish we could do the same for some of our landmark sites in PH: 9345234 miles to Timbuktu, 2 wormholes to the gates of hell, 6 cartwheels away to your next girlfriend. Not.
God knows what other good shit they have hidden in here, but I could stay a whole day in a place like this and just browse and grieve because the titles are so fucking expensive. It’s like going to Ateneo or UP Press for all the good Filipiniana, except there’s no friend from the faculty who could help me get a discount. I got one book on trad Korean drama as recommended by the shopkeeper.
Oh I forgot to mention, records including Super Junior. Look at those abs! What a magnificent piece of art ℅ Photoshop! Haha. I have made a commitment to watch at least one Super Junior music video when I get the chance or when I get drunk enough. More walking and finally reached this cute village. Here’s Boss A. and E. shoving their faces on a wall somewhere in that place.
Then of course there’s the inevitable trip to DMZ. This guy in uniform actually attended La Salle before being called back to Korea for military service. He stayed in the Philippines long enough to recognise “Tangina” as a bad word. Haha!
The irony is that my favourite place happened to be the shopping haven Myeong-dong. A good part of our second and fourth days were spent here. And while the others were so busy buying BB cream and hoarding clothes from H&M, I was out there taking touristy photos. The greatest treat of all was getting to buy a Nixon Timeteller for P6000.
And seeing this nice Olive Young store, which carried these cute Momot toys!
Not sure how I’m supposed to conclude this post. But I just unpacked my things last night in order to pack again for a Cebu trip tomorrow and I am so effing tired. Wish me luck. Surviving my birthday month has never been this hard.