Winter Break 2016, Part One: "Korean Cultural Experience"

After 8 plane rides, 3 countries, and countless bus rides/helpful people, I am now back in South Korea.

Here I am going to recount all that Sloane and I did in Korea.

In case you didn't remember, the general outline of my trip was ~7 days in Korea with Sloane, ~12 days in New Zealand with Sloane, ~6 days in Sydney with Sarah, and ~7 days in America with my family and friends.

BTW: Sloane (and other friends) suggested journaling during the trip, but I didn't start until after Korea, so everything after Korea will be more detailed. Sorry.

(FYI. I didn't proof read this. So there might be a lot of errors.)

South Korea

Sloane's Arrival:

So I went to the airport to pick Sloane up (keep in mind that means I took a 4 hour bus ride to Incheon Int'l airport). However, because I don't necessarily make the best plans, I bought my bus ticket to Incheon too late so I had to take a bus that got me to the airport 3 hours before she even landed. I had plenty of time to scoped out the best bathrooms and prepared my legs for all the walking that was to come in New Zealand and Australia.

Then, because my sister was going to land in Korea with no working cellphone, we made the plan in advance to meet at Gate D. This plan would have worked, but her flight was scheduled to exit at Gate C.

Now I had a problem. Do I wait for her at Gate D like we planned or try to see above the crowds and giant-sized Koreans at Gate C?

I figured it would best to stick to the plan and I waited at Gate D, which was a good choice because Sloane went to the upper level of the arrivals area and shouted down to me.

I was super pumped to see her.
Then we bought our tickets to back to Gwangju. (TIP: After numerous trips from Incheon to Gwangju, I estimate the average wait time for the bus is about 2 hours. I believe this is because a bus leaves ~every hour, but there are only ~30 spots on a bus. Supply and demand people... or something like that.)

We finally got to Gwangju around midnight where my host mom and two host brothers picked us up from the Gwangju bus terminal. We went back home and passed out.

Day 1:

I want you all to know that before Sloane got to Korea it was ~50degF. It was beautiful.

Then she arrived.

Enter snow storm and freezing weather.

But that wouldn't stop Sloane, and I didn't want it to stop us either.

My oldest host brother, Sloane and I went to Shinsegae and looked at things we can't afford. Then we ate in the basement (food court is the best way to describe it) and other Korean snacks.

For lunch we had 감자탕 (gamjatang), a favorite dish of mine because it's a soup and I love soups. Lunch was interesting. The gamjatang we ate was a big shared pot and the only way I've eaten it is as individual portions, so when we asked the worker how to cook it she looked at us like we were stupid and then told us to cut the kimchi and stir.... Not my first encounter with "R U an idiot?" and won't be my last! Lunch is also when Sloane realized she loves 떡 (tteok).

Note how snowy it was:
It was very snowy and cold.

Day 2:

On Sloane's second day in Korea, we had lunch with my Fulbright Coteacher (no picture because I look really stupid in them and the lighting was bad. My coteacher was hilarious, as always, and gifted my sister with the beige scarf pictured below.
After lunch Sloane and I made the trek to the Gwangju Asia Culture Complex. We took the subway which meant that Sloane had ridden on every public transit in Gwangju (bus, train, taxi).

Waiting for the train to the Gwangju ACC.
Wow. My hair is something else.

Day 3:

On Sloane's 3rd day in Gwangju, we spent the morning with my youngest host brother. We ate lunch, Korean snacks, and did some MadLibs (Sloane's gift to him).

Then Sloane and I bundled up and went to the 5.18 Memorial. She took some nice pictures, which I don't have, and I took this selfie:

Solid photo taking on my part. At least my hair look decent.

Day 4 (First day in Seoul):

And then we went to Seoul. We took the KTX (express train), which marks Sloane having traveled by almost every transportation system in Korea (she's only missing a ferry ride).

I was frequently checking the weather because she wanted to hike Namsan and when we were going to be in Seoul it was only going to get colder.

So what did we do when we arrived in Seoul? Hiked Namsan.

I was very happy.
We definitely ate dinner, but I forget where. I'll attach the list of places we ate at the bottom later.

Day 5/6/7 (the days are now blurred together):

Now I'm not sure what happened when, but here are the major events of the last three days:

  • We went to the War Memorial of Korea *9/10
    • Very big, but also very interesting
    • I started to loose steam/interest
    • Also, go on a warm day because you definitely want to see the outside stuff and not be freezing when you do.

  • Jeongdong Theatre *8/10
    • We saw Miso. (I may or may not have fallen asleep.)
    • The theater is not so easy to get to via public transportation.
    • Tickets were~70,000\.. And we got our seats upgrade! Which included a gift (postcards, journal, and pencil case/bag).
  • Bukchon Hanok Village/Insadong *7/10
    • Another activity that is better in nice weather
    • We walked Bukchon/Insadong in below freezing weather
    • Worth going to the area because there are many other activities to do too
    • Bought lots of cliche souvenirs
  • Common Ground *6/10
    • Cool place to shop, some cool places to eat too
    • Not very big, but nice place to go for a relaxed day.

Where we ate:

I don't remember. Waiting for the list from my sister.

Up Next...

Winter Break 2016, Part Two: "One for the Mems"

What did Taylor and Sloane do in New Zealand?


Popular Posts