Sunday, March 21, 2010
Weekend 3 of 52.
Saint Patrick's Day Festival at Cheonggyecheon Stream, Subway Art Gallery, Dongdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Gate, Haechi of Seoul, Doota Shopping Center, Burger King
Saint Patrick provided us with a ready made Saturday. The Irish Association of Korea (yes, this exists) puts on a parade every year down at Cheonggyecheon Stream. Cheonggyecheon is actually an ancient stream (like 1300s ancient) where wives used to do their laundry. Eventually the stream got grubby and they slowly filled it in and covered it with a highway. In 2005, the stream was uncovered again to promote environmental friendliness and human interaction. And, even though it was freezing out, because the winter high temperature in Seoul only lasts for a quarter of a minute apparently, there were people gathered down at the stream.
Back down in the subway, we serendipitously (not my name, by the way) stumbled upon a small art gallery. There was a sketch exhibit chronicling the artist's time in Nepal. We almost bought his book, and then we didn't, and then we were sad about it.
Also in the subway randomly, a little gallery for Seoul's mascot, Haechi. Does your city have a cute mythical mascot? No, obviously not. Haechi is a little guy whose job is to keep watch over everyone in Seoul. We wound up at a gallery and gift shop space in his honor. Also, free lollipops.
We saw the Dongdaemun stop on the subway on our way down to Cheonggyecheon, so I told Dan that Dongdaemun Market was on our list and we should stop by after the festival. The market is basically a huge, huge flea market. It winds down city streets and even underground. There's also more conventional shopping in Dongdaemun. We ended up at an 8 story mall called Doota and had Burger King on its 7th floor and coffee down on the 5th. We didn't buy anything at all until we were headed back to the subway for home and we saw some chair cushions. We sit on hard wooden chairs for many hours every day, and we noticed that Dan's clever Korean co-workers all have seat cushions. We bought blue sporty ones that are embroidered with the exhortation to "Be Happy".
Before all that, on Friday night, we, with Korrine, found a local Korean Barbecue place. We ate (a lot) for only W5000 each. A young Korean couple at the table next to us helped us order. They saw our aimless gesticulating and took pity on us, as Koreans are wont to do.
On the way to dinner Friday night. More scooters. Our friend Seth commented this on Facebook: "I see a Vespa GTV250 and a Ducati Hypermotard."
Here was our restaurant. They advertise their W3800 beef barbecue. We got that and some tasty rice.
Korrine greased up the grill for us.
Beef and garlic, then with banchan (we saw our table neighbors grilling everything, so we followed suit), then kimchi soup.
Dan and the lay of the place.
We were all cooking on gas grills. Fire extinguishers are a good idea.
After dinner, we kept walking around. We passed a sunglasses shop.
The grown ups who read this won't care, but S Club 7 is a British pop band.
We walked ourselves right down to Hongdae, which is home to Hongik University. We didn't realize it was so close. That means there are more restaurants and more upscale shopping and things for all those young people.
We took a bathroom break at Starbucks.
And we had a sing along of Oasis and Beatle's songs with this fine Korean entertainer. It was really fun.
So these guys guard a chain of underground undergarment stores. We figure they are meant to look like Americans. I guess all Americans have big heads and all American women are chatty.
We got to town just in time to see the very end of the parade. US Army Band, represent.
Cases of Guinness. They were also handing out free stew samples and sodas.
Here's the stream.
Not realizing he should have been posing like a real Korean...with his limbs.
Me and the other side.
By the waterfall.
The stream actually trickles down from the plaza above into the waterfall and into the water below. We're not sure where it starts, but this was really cool. Also littered with trash of kelly green.
Dan with the stew and a street performer on stilts.
Some buildings near Cheonggyecheon.
Here's the little art show.
And here is our Haechi.
Dan bought this giant pen in the gift shop, and we made sure to get a photo in the photo zone.
You probably don't recognize this, but this is King Sejong at Gwanghwamun. We ended up here completely inadvertantly.
Here's the Dongdaemun Gate. Originally built in 1397 as the eastern gate in the wall around Seoul. Rebuilt in 1869.
Dongdaemun Market, on our way through the shoe market.
Alleys like movie sets.
Cheonggyecheon Stream also runs through Dongdaemun. Pretty cool. This picture was taken around 4PM. We got yellow dust from China yesterday. They issued a warning to close windows and wear face masks. Sometimes the dust even causes acid rain. Whoa, China.
Burger King in the Doota shopping center. As far as malls go, Doota was pretty nice. There was even an outdoor garden on the 8th floor. I got the Bulgogi Burger Combo, and it was only W4000. The burger had a sweet barbecue type sauce on it and pickled onions. It was very good. Dan compared it to Burger King's own Rodeo Burger. He got a some kind of garlic burger, also good, but slightly more expensive.
A small part of the market from the 8th floor.
Construction and dust.
We had some Beansbins coffee on our way back down. Not the best coffee. It tasted a bit like airplane coffee. Maybe that means it tasted stale? I don't really know. My favorite coffee is still from our little local Byoung A Ri Kong shop.
And finally some shots from the subway. Top right is an elevator shaft. Bottom right is the sign to the bathroom, sideways, ushering on the people floating down the hallway, like maybe ghosts.