Sunday, November 16, 2008

Korean Adventure: Friday and Saturday

For my last full day in Korea, we decided we wanted to get a fair bit done. Up first, was the National Museum.

It was quite a massive building with a lot of exhibits. We followed through Korean history from the Neolithic period, through the Three Kingdoms Period and the Joseon Dynasty and up to modern times. One thing about the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, as a country, doesn't have a very long history, so our museum is filled with ancient things from other places. The Seoul museum however, is filled with things Korean. The pottery section was quite nice, filled with green and pale ceramics, different from the red and black Greek pottery I've studied. They also had sections for Indian and South East Asian history, and an exhibit on Buddhism. We also got in for free, because this year is the anniversary of the Korean flag (I think), which is pretty sweet.

After the museum, we went off to COEX Mall (Convention and Exhibition Center), a massive mall in southern Seoul right next to the Seoul World Trade Tower.

The mall itself is filled with restaurants, stores, arcades, a 16 screen theatre, and an aquarium. We took a look inside on of the arcades and went to the DDR, hoping to see some mad Korean Dance Skills, but sadly no one was playing. It looks as though the DDR fad has passed in Korean, as it has here. Oh well.

We saw Jackie Chan's restaurant: Jackie's Kitchen where you can eat his favourite noodles and dimsum. I also got one of the tastiest pretzels I've had in a while. It was soft, a little buttery, not too salty. Perfect. It also had awesome packaging.

There was also a Buddhist temple near the mall that we visited. It had some beautiful buildings. We wandered around for a while an looked at the buildings. My fiancee also loved the incense they were burning and we bought some from a small shop they had at the front.

After the temple and COEX, we took a trip up to Dondaemun (the market I went my first Tuesday) as my fiancee wanted to pick up some yarn. We searched around there for a while, looking for some good yarn, in a good colour, for a good deal. We found just what we needed.

Then we took a trip to the foreigner district, just to see it. It's kind of a seedy looking area, but we walked around for a few minutes before going into an Irish pub and enjoying some cheap cheap ($2) happy hour pints of Cass (a Korean beer). The place also had Guinness, Hoegaarden, and a few other imports, though they were all fairly expensive.

We also took a trip through Namdaemun Market, another popular market area near the Namdaemun gate just as Dondaemun is near the Dondaemun gate. Unfortunately the wooden part of Namdaemun was destroyed by fire this year, so there's not really much to see. The market was pretty extensive once you went off of the main streets. Like other markets in Seoul, it was a packed warren of stores and stalls.

We went home and had the most excellent fried chicken as my last supper in Korea.

Saturday was a lazy day. My fiancee had come down with a fairly bad cold, so it was a sleepy day of relaxation. My flight was around 6:45, and 18 hours later I was back home. And so ended my first Korean Adventure. I'm looking forward to the second.

Oh, a parting note. There's a bar on the way to my fiancee's school with the Blues Brothers standing on top. Haven't been, so I've no idea what it's like, and I have no idea how a bar called the Texas Palms relates exactly to the Blues Brothers, but oh well.

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