Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday - Tourism Day 2

Thursday? You guessed it, an early rise. Today was tourism day two. We headed the Olympic Park, site of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It's now a public park that also runs some events in the buildings. The swimming pool was in use for instance, though the tennis court wasn't. Adam and Daniel played a fake game of tennis as well as a sumo match. There was also this large rock secured by rope that we tried to get a shot of Adam pushing, so a security guard saw us and started yelling. He was fine as soon as he realised Adam wasn't actually pushing and we just wanted a picture.

Pool In Use

Tennis anyone?

I don't think they're in the same weight range.

Adam and the rock of destiny.

The best part though was the 4 person bike-car, which we rented and rode around it. It was pretty fun, but also a tad scary. The man warned us not to go fast, and the thing had a high center of gravity and I could feel it slightly tipping when we rounded tight curves with any speed. We each took turns driving. My fiancee screamed a little on her turn, and forgot she was driving for a second (they had a fake steering wheel too which she had been in front of before). I pulled a few weaves as did Branko. Adam took a hill pretty quickly and zoomed between two pillars with a very narrow gap despite her telling him to use the break, earning him a, "Adam you asshole!" The best though was Branko disappointed by the "pedal limitations," as the pedals seemed to lock up on him whenever we went downhill. I was behind him, and the pedals front and back are partially linked, and whenever we took a hill, I would stop pedaling and lock my legs as I didn't want to die. He would try to pedal faster, but his would lock against my back-pedalling. Branko though failed to realise this, despite me and Adam joking and hinting, "Ya, the lock anytime we go downhill AND Andrew is behind you," and such. In fact, Branko still doesn't know, blaming the limited bikes. He''ll likely read it here though. :)

A pretty good ride, except for the limited pedaling system.

After the park, we rode the subway down to COEX mall. A fairly large mall in the southern part of Seoul. We looked around for a few minutes and then headed to the nearby Buddhist temple Bongeunsa for a two and a half hour temple stay program (here's my last trip to the temple). Adam did not join us, choosing to hang out in the mall with his Nokia and wifi. The temple program involved a tour of the grounds, which are very nice. We went into the temple and meditated for a few minutes, during which I achieved inner peace through falling asleep. Hey, what can I say, I was really tired and it was so calm and peaceful. We then went to another area to see a tea ceremony and then drink tea. We had a teenager sit down with us to demonstrate a few things. He spoke English well, having been born in Chicago and then moving to Korea when he was young, but he didn't know much about Buddhism. He said it was his mothers thing and it seems like this was just volunteer or a summer job for him. We asked if she was there and he said, "No, she's probably at home asleep," in a joking way. It was good conversation and we dubbed him the replacement Adam. After tea, we went to make paper lotus flowers. The glue was not at all cooperative and I thought right up to the end that mine would look horrible. My fiancee did as well. They turned out great however.

The temple grounds

Many lanterns

Sleepy time?

Tea Time

Lotus Flowers!

We went back to COEX, found Adam, and wandered around for a little. We got some food from the food court. I hit Baskin Robins and got an excellent ice cream flavour, Polar Bear Dip. It was blue and white and minty and all tasty. Awesome. Wish we had it here. I also tasted their Apple Mint, which was almost as awesome.

From COEX, we headed off to Itaewon for Margarita night! On The Border has a monthly all you can eat Mexican buffet with all you can drink margaritas for 30,000 won (less than $30)! We went with a bunch of other teachers and had a great time. The margaritas got stronger and dirtier as the night went on. My last one was nearly all tequila. I thought it was just me, so I passed it to Adam and Erin, and they both agreed. The food was ok, not amazing, but it was all you can eat, so awesome.

Margarita night

Lotus flowers make good center pieces. They also make good...

Erin getting her drink on

Next we went off to Hongdae to continue the party. Only a few of the other teachers joined us, as it was a Thursday night. Hongdae is not nearly as crazy as on the weekend. There were certainly a lot of people at the bars, but no one at the clubs dancing. We walked into Go Gos and there was no one there. We left and went down to Ska 2 as they offered us drink tickets. It was also empty, but we stayed and started dancing. A few other groups came in from time to time and joined us on the floor, but even when it wasn't just us, we owned the place.

We eventually called it a night, leaving Ska 2 without a party anymore. Adam, Erin, and a few others took a cab back to the apartments. We followed a short while later, but first Daniel wanted to get some late night convience store ramen.

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