korea day 1

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i’ve been waiting for this day to come in FOREVER!!! and gosh, the anticipation was building up over such a long time that when it came to the day of departure, it nearly killed me when i realized that i’d only reach korea the next day after the overnight flight.

the plane ride was pretty bad because the seats were too cramped and unconducive for sleeping. barely slept an hour during the flight. didn’t watch movies either because they were all boringz/watched before. tried to watch tron but fell asleep halfway haha!

the flight stewardesses of Asiana airlines are reallyyyyyy PRETTY! typical korean beauty although not as fake as those on TV. the moment we entered the plane, the primary language was Korean. haha so have to be extra alert when stewardesses come round to ask what drinks or food we’d like. of course, they’re fairly fluent in english so i was able to ask for the things i wanted. no problem there.

bibimbap! super delicious esp when you mix in the spicy chili paste

korean chicken rice

love airplane food! it’s been a long time since i’ve had some. no matter how unappetizing it looks also can taste damn yummy one. that is the magic of it.

upon reaching seoul incheon international airport, we met the tourguide and had an hour to have breakfast in the airport before setting off. opted for the most familiar restaurant there: Mcdonalds.

again, we were quite afraid we wouldn’t be able to order in Korean. but the counter staff are also able to understand simple english. phew!

unfortunately, if you wanted chilli sauce, you have to pay. the hashbrown there also tastes different, more deep fried and crispy.

that’s possibly the most unhealthy meal i’d eaten in my 7 days there.

next, we boarded the tour bus and set off for Chuncheon, where we boarded a boat to Nami island which, incidentally, is shaped like a half moon! i mean the island and not the boat haha!

on board the nami jetty! ignore the fact that my finger is pointing in the wrong direction

scenery on the island is extremely beautiful. it is also the filming location for Winter Sonata’s first kiss scene. haha ya very specific one man.

endless pathways surrounded by white birch trees

pity we were on tour. so the time given to walk around each place is very limited. hardly had enough time to enjoy the scenery.

have you ever seen red trees in singapore?

their xmas tree soju bottle artwork to promote an awareness on recycling

and then it was LUNCHTIME!

korean-style pan fried chicken

the tour guide spoke about the women of korea that we’d be seeing alot of on the streets. they all have the same 4 characteristics:

1. Fair:

he attributed this to them being great consumers in the cosmetics market. most top cosmetic brands target their products at Korea and Japan, because the women in these countries are the largest consumers of cosmetics in the world.

2. Smooth

will talk about this in detail when i tell you about my visit to Spa Valley haha.

3. Beautiful

this is, as we all know, artificial. but Koreans are very open and accepting of cosmetic surgery. the tour guide raised two examples of women, both of equal intelligence and qualifications, but one more beautiful than the other. of course, he said, that the more attractive one would be bound to be selected for employment over the other. hence, cosmetic surgery is justified.

he also said that Korean women can be further differentiated by age. the ones below 18, and the ones above 18. the legal age for one to obtain plastic surgery is 18 years old. therefore, those school uniform-wearing kids that i see are really not particularly pretty, and all of them have single eyelids. but the women i see on the streets, in their 20s, 30s, etc, they tend to be a lot more symmetrical in facial features. and suddenly, they ALL have double eyelids.

4. Slim

this is because Korean food have barely any oil in them. and really, even the korean pancake i ate isn’t the oily oily oyster omelette kind. so the tour guide assured us that when we go back to Singapore, we’d have lost weight for sure.

(not true lor. i put on 1 kg cos the food so yummy and their instant noodles for night snacking are irresistible)

we were rewarded with a shopping trip at Dongdaemun Market. whatever fatigue i was experiencing from the lack of sleep the night before all dissipated the moment i heard the magic word: SHOPPING!

the tour guide taught us how to bargain without needing to speak korea. this is the wonders of the calculator.

step 1: locate an object of desire

step 2: ask the store owner in english: “how much?”

step 3: store owner will proceed to key in a figure on her calculator and show it to you. then you ask: “discount?”

step 4: if she is willing to give a discount, she will take back the calculator and key in the discounted figure. then she will hand you back the calculator.

step 5: to ask for a lower price, simply key in a new figure on the calculator and show it to her. try not to ask below 30% of the original price, if not you will get punched.

step 6: as you she reviews your asking price, she will probably say: NOOOOO!!! AISH!!! NOOOOO!!!!

step 7: she will give you a figure higher than your bargaining price. just take it, lest you piss her off and don’t get a discount at all.

although once, i said i was going to walk off and think about it. the store owner immediately agreed to give me my bargaining price. so i managed to get a lovely pink blouse for work at W26000 (from W38000) tee hee!

unfortunately, Dongdaemun is endless and impossible to finish within the 2 hours that we had. we only visited Migilore, and half of Doota. departed the place with 2 skirts only ):

extremely dissatisfied. but i vowed to come back again by hook or by crook the next time we came back to Seoul 5 days later.

next up, we headed to the Changdugung Palace, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. it is one of the 5 grand palaces built by kings of the Joseong Dynasty (says wikipedia).

the guide explained alot about the architecture of the place. the significance of the roofs, and their height of the buildings, in relating to the position of the people living inside the particular house.

the emperor’s residence is the only building that can have a dragon on its roof. and all other buildings next to his have to be shorter in height.

where the emperor hangs out yo

it's not a UNESCO heritage site for nothing hor

for dinner, we enjoyed bibimbap and shabu shabu dinner on a floating restaurant by the Han River. i LOVEEEE shabu shabu and we had at least 4 meals of it in the 8 days. wah lao damn shiok!!!

if only Singapore and more space for a a bigger river like this!

we then headed to the airport for a 1 hr domestic flight to Jeju island. after which, we checked in to the Ocean Suites Hotel and crashed for the night. slept by 1130pm korea time (1030pm SGT) and didn’t open my eyes until the noisy morning call at 730am the next day.

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