Seoul Travel Blog› entry 7 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Cathy (Korea), Joanne (Korea), Jeong-min (Korea), Joowon (Korea), Liz (Korea)
I skipped breakfast and went straight to the Pilates studio to meet up with Cathy and Joanne. We had made arrangements to eat lunch. I was a bit hungover from the night before, so I was hoping for some Korean chigae (soup). Instead, Cathy and Joanne decided to take me to Outback Steakhouse. In America, Outback Steakhouse is likened to Applebees, Chilis and TGI Fridays. However, in Korea it's more a special occasion sort of place. They ordered a ton of food and I managed to eat about 1/4 of it (even that was difficult). Trying not to be rude, I thanked them constantly for their generosity. After lunch we said our goodbyes, and I promised I would visit as soon as I came back to Korea.
After lunch I took the 471 bus from Myeongdong to Sinsadong, on the south side of the river. Sinsadong is a cool, hip area. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes. I met up with Jeong-min and we decided to escape the heat and get some iced coffee. As always, we had a wonderful conversation. She told me more about her family and her experience applying to college. It was really eye-opening to hear how her experiences were so different from my own. In America, our application consists of many different parts, but in Korea it's mostly based on a single ACT-like test. She told me about family expectations, pressure and late night tutoring sessions. A did not envy her experience at all.
After coffee we walked along the street and talked about popular culture in America and Korea.
Liz and I met at the Myeongdong subway stop around 7pm. I had planned to visit my favorite BBQ place during my first night back, but I mistakenly thought it was under renovation. Later in the week I realized that my restaurant was actually one block down the street, and not under renovation... Dumb me. We went in and I immediately ordered: a bottle of soju, a bottle of beer and two orders of my favorite meat dish! U-sam-gyeop, as it's known, is similar to sam-gyeop-sal. The main difference is its beef, not pork, and it is often marinated. The strips are thin as bacon, and once cooked and wrapped in a lettuce leaf, they are to die for.
After dinner Liz and I took a cab to Apgujongdong. We met up with Joowon at a wine bar. I can't remember if Joowon had been before or had only read about it, but she was very excited to be at this particular establishment. We ordered a bottle of sparkling white wine and spent the rest of the evening chatting about love, life and our past relationships. It was very interesting to hear everyone's experiences. I was even able to learn more about how Korean dating works (I'm still mostly confused though). After we finished our wine I took a taxi back to Myeongdong. Tomorrow a new adventure would begin. Vietnam here I come!