Thursday, January 3, 2013

Seoul in a flash!

Howdy folks.

I woke up from a bad dream and can't fall back to sleep. It was really bad. I fell asleep before I performed my Isya' prayer, hence the bad dream. Never do it again, Has.

A dear friend asked me to update my blog about Seoul. I don't know what to write since I feel that each memory is too private to be shared with anyone. Maybe I shouldn't go into detail.

I went to Seoul for the first time, it was a 10-day-trip. My friends kept saying that they thought I wanted to become a citizen of Seoul permanently, but really 10 days is not enough to explore South Korea. I didn't visit a lot of places. I really wanted to go to Busan and Jeju Island. You might think I didn't have time to go there because I was too busy chasing after Super Junior. You're wrong. It was due to the extreme weather that I didn't get to stay outdoor for too long. It was constantly below -6 celc there, at night it almost reached -20. You stand outside for 5 minutes and you already can't feel the tip of your fingers, your face went numb, your lips crack and bleed. While I was there, there were two times when I persevered through the dead coldness of Winter: Once when I waited to see Eunhyuk and once when I queued for SJ pre-recording. Both times I experienced cramps and muscle pains. My advice is never go there during Winter, it's even worse than in the UK. You might want to experience the Winter there, but trust me it's not worth the pain. This will probably be the last time I go there during Winter.

But if only it's for SJ, you know I would do it again. A thousand times over. If not for them, I would have regretted coming to Seoul during this time of the year.

Seoul was quite nice. I went to Dongdaemun market. This is where you want to go if you wish to buy cheap clothes and shoes. They have a huge market that sells authentic silk and other types of kain apetah dalam english can't think of the word. Hah banyak jual kain kat sini.

If you wish to shop for souvenirs, you can go to Namdaemun street market. It is located near Myeongdong, another shopping place hahaha apalah Has semua  tempat shopping -_- you can find so many nice souvenirs here in Namdaemun.

Like I said, Myeongdong is also a place for shopping, but this is where you go if you want to find branded clothing stores and facial shops. Every corner you turn, you will find Face Shop, the Saem, Tony Moly, MISSHA etc. EVERY corner. I don't understand why do they open so many same shops at the same place, just different corners. Here, you can find SPAO clothing store. SPAO is a brand endorsed by SM artists, the clothes are affordable and nice but they don't produce large sizes. I normally wear size S, sometimes XS if it's UK/US size, but I had to buy size M or L -_- I'm guessing you must be size 10 at most. On top of SPAO, there is Everysing store that sells mainly SMTOWN stuff.  They have a photo booth here where you can pose as if the artists were there with you in the booth. I think I do a better job at photoshop kahkahkah. So yeah if you want to buy official SM stuff, this is the place to go. Across the street from SPAO, there is K-Story, a shop owned by Heechul's sister. It is quite expensive though, but they have signed albums and all that. I'm not sure if you can buy it, I didn't ask. Also, here you can find Siwon's Twosome cafe and Yesung's Why Style. If you want to buy cheap albums you should go to the underground shops located in the Myeongdong station.

I also went to Itaewon. This is the place to find Halal food. Here you can even find a big mosque, I heard the Korean muslims perform their Friday prayers here.

Then I went to Gwanghwameun. One of the five famous palaces are located here, I forgot which one. I wanted to visit the palace, but the palace is an open-air attraction and I don't think I would've been able to enjoy the view. Here you can also find a nice river, again forgot its name darn it Has -_- and oh, if you want to buy duty-free stuff you can go to the Donghwa Duty-free Shopping Complex. You can't miss it, it has a huge signboard that reads DONGHWA. I bought some facial stuff here and it's a lot cheaper than buying elsewhere. The large Kyobo Bookstore is in Gwanghwameun.

In Seoul, I stayed near Hongdae area, though the closest subway station was Hapjeong station. Hongdae is the short for Hongik Daehakgyo (university). It was a very lively district, but I didn't like it here. It's a place for party and clubbing and I ain't no party people. However, here in Hongdae you can go to Trick Eye Museum, which I highly recommend you do. That museum was so awesome! Basically they had paintings that look as if it's alive, like a 3D painting. I don't know how to describe it, you just have to go. Also, here you can find the Hello Kitty cafe. That place is filled with Hello Kitty stuff, probably a place for Hello Kitty lovers (Hello Kitty? -_-)

Let's talk about food. While I was there, I tried a lot of their famous dishes. You can't hope to find a totally Halal restaurants, so what I did was I went to the places that don't sell pork. I tried tteobboki, spicy rice cake in Tteobboki Town near Sindang station.. The restaurant only sells tteobboki and there's no meat in it, I already asked so you should be fine. The restaurant is easy to find, you exit the station and on your left you will see a huge road and a balai bomba (I was gonna say bomba station haihh I should go to sleep). Walk straight till you find a restaurant that has a gigantic picture of a grey-haired grandmother (a real person, not a cartoon or whatever) Don't over-think, you see it and that's it. It's at the corner and it's big.

Then we tried the seafood, Ikan bakar and spicy squid I don't know what it's called in Hangul. Also Sundubu Jigae. Tofu soup. You eat the spicy squid with a roll of salad and rice. You can add kimchi and some other stuff too. It tasted heavenly. I will definitely go there again. It was located in Sinchon or Sincheon, yes there are really these two stations with similar names swt. I can't remember which one but it's the one nearest to Hongdae station. I think it's Sinchon? Yes Sinchon not Sincheon haha pening.

We also tried Chungmu Kimbap, that's Spicy Squid with Kimbap. This one you can find in Myeongdong. It was nice. Then we tried the King Sejong's favorite kuih which were made of honey and nuts; manjoo which was like kaya ball but made of corn; heotteok, kuih red bean. All these you can find anywhere.

My most visited places in Seoul were probably the cafes. I tried many different cafes. GuruNaru and Siwon's Twosome cafe in Myeongdong, Eunhyuk's Tous Les Jours near Guro Digital Complex station, Kyuhyun/Leeteuk/Sungmin's Kona Beans in Gangnam, Yesung's Mouse Rabbit near Kondae (Konkuk uni) station, and Zoo Coffee near MBC building. Mouse Rabbit serves the best juice, while Zoo Coffee serves the best Hot Chocolate with whipped cream.

I didn't take a lot of pictures because it was too cold, I preferred to keep my hands in my pocket. The con of having a touch screen phone T_T

I guess that sums up my trip. I'm planning to go there again this year but only for Super Show 5 Encore. If the encore concert is held while I'm in Newcastle, I might cancel my plan unless I find a group of friends who want to go with me. However, I will definitely go back to Seoul in 2014, after I've graduated and after I've finished touring Europe with my family. Probably sometime in July or August, depending on the date our beloved leader being released from the army. I want to be there when he finishes his military service. That if everyone goes as planned, insyaAllah.