Buying souvenirs with grandma, aunt, and cousin
This morning my Aunt and Grandma took us to a shopping area in Seoul where they bought us a few Korean souvenirs to take home. After this my Grandma and Aunt were passing us on to the next people who will be hosting us. It was sad, my grandma cried when I left because I won't be seeing her again for the rest of my time in Korea because she is returning to her house which is about 3 hours away from Seoul. So many of my relatives and family friends want to see me and spend time with us that everyone has been fighting over who gets us when. So our next host was my Dad's cousins family. My Dad's cousin's son who is close to our age, helped us get our ferry tickets to China.
Steve and Arum with stoic Korean palace guard.
It was really nice to have someone take care of it all for us, making calls, looking up how to get tickets online and figuring out payment for us and such. That took a while but it is all set and my aunt is paying for the tickets and they will be mailed to her house. After that we went to buy our Korea soccer shirts that my Grandma gave us money to buy and she insisted it had to be the official korea soccer team shirt, not just a knock-off on the street. Steve was really happy to have this shirt since he really likes soccer and has been watching the world cup games. It was important to get the shirts today because at 4am tonight is a very important soccer match between Korea and Switzerland to determine if Korea gets to go on to the next round.
Arum and my dad's cousin's son and friend
Its interesting trying to describe how popular soccer is here. The whole entire country is going to be watching the game tonight and there has been signs of world cup excitement everywhere. Everywhere we go people are wearing the red soccer shirts, decorating streets and signs with support for the korean soccer team. Now we can be part of the action too with our new shirts.
So after buying our korean soccer shirts, we went to a palace where the king and queen of korea use to live for hundreds of years. It was really neat because my relative brought a friend who works as a tour guide at the palace so she knew lots of information and history about it and spoke English very well. She led us on a personal tour through the palace.
In the forest room
After seeing the palace, we had some dinner and went to meet my relative's girlfriend so that we could all go to the location where we would be watching the soccer game. The soccer match started at 4am here and we were going to watch the game from a big soccer stadium in Incheon with thousands of other fans. But before the match started we would be getting a little sleep in a hostel type thing that I will now attempt to describe. So they were all worried that we would feel uncomfortable at this place where we would be sleeping and showering before the game started at 4am because there really is no american equivalent to it. We had no idea what to expect.
We arrived at the stadium where we would be watching the game, and underneath is this place where we would be sleeping. So we get in and they hand you a key where you put your shoes in little lockers, then they hand you a set of clothes, cotton t-shirts and shorts, pink shorts for girls, blue or white shorts for boys. Then the girls go into one washroom and the boys into another. Then you are in a locker room where you put your day clothes into a locker and are suppose to shower and then change into the clothes they gave you. I had never seen so many naked people in my life, everyone just is walking around naked and you shower and bathe in a big room with a big hot tub and showers along the walls. Well, needless to say, I couldn't do it being that I am a little too shy for group bathing.
At the stadium to watch Soccer match in our new shirts.
Steve saw a similar thing in the boys washroom, though he was able to handle the whole naked together and showering together much better than I could since he actually did take a shower, whereas I refused and just changed into the new clothes without washing. So then after the washroom you walk into a big room with mats on the floor and I met up with the rest of my Dad's cousins family. We were sitting in one corner of the room and my Dad's cousin brought out lots of snacks for us to eat including many types of sweet rice cakes. Then they showed Steve and I around the various facilities at this place. There were all these different types of Sauna rooms set at different temperatures. Steve tried out all of them, including the hottest room set at like 200 degrees. They all had different themes, the hottest one was called the volcanic rock room. I spent some time in the forest room which was at a comfortable temperature. This place also had a comic book room, food stands, and quiet sleeping rooms. Around 10pm, I went to bed in one of the quiet sleeping rooms which was really not that quiet because of how many people were running around outside. We slept for a few hours and woke up again at 2am to get ready to go up to the stadium for the big game.
After we woke up, we changed into our soccer shirts and went up to the stadium where there must have been thousands of people filling the whole stadium and field ready to watch the game on the big screens. We were chanting and clapping along with the crowd for the Korea team. Everybody was so sad when they lost, especially because of the terrible call when Switzerland scored their second goal. My dad's cousin's son was really upset after the game because they lost and everyone was so glum. Then my relatives family drove us to get some breakfast at a restaurant. Then we went back to their house in Incheon and slept for a few hours.