Saturday, March 6, 2010

straight from america...well with a brief japanese layover

The lack of postings is due to the fact that my friend Jen from PES was here all week! We had a week of good food, drink, and conversation. It was so much fun to share my Korea life with someone who knew my DC life. I think Jen had an awesome time practicing Korean and scouting out triangles!

Jen flew in Friday night, and poor thing, took the airport shuttle to Gangnam to go to Susan's going away party at the Jelly Motel. She dove right into it though. That was a 6am night, and so was Saturday night. Sunday I said goodbye to my best friend :( It was really hard saying goodbye to someone I have known the entire time I have been here, and more importantly someone I instantly clicked with and know will be a great friend forever. She was my friend, sister, mom, partner in crime here. But she's off to Germany for a month to see her mom then Canada where she needs to be! I am already planning my Vancouver trip in September!

Back to Jen. We had an amazing week of just hanging out and taking in the Koran culture. Some highlights include:

Going to the fish market.
We went and picked out a live octopus and a black fish. They fileted (spelling?) the fish right in front of us and then we took everything back to a restaurant upstairs. In the restaurant they cut up the live octopus, which wiggles when you eat it, Awesome. then bring you the banchan (side dishes) and at the end they make you a soup from the left over fish parts. YUM. It was soo good and I think one of Jen's favorite parts was the coffee you get after. There are little coffee machines at everything Korean restarant where you get a milk, sugar, coffee shot on your way out the door. It's really tasty. Like drinking sugar. haha.

Maybe this is more of a highlight for me. I needed a suit because I got the second interview with COEX (more on this later) so I went over the newly opened H&M. Oh my. It's life changing. Clothes that are made in real people sizes and it's only a 5 min bus ride from my house. Asa! Anyway, I got an awesome suit and then we made out way through the rain to find lunch. We ended up going back to Myeondong last night and had a GREAT dinner. We accidently ordered 3000cc pitcher of beer, which we finished, and pajeon (squid and onion pancake), nackchi (spicy octopus) with vercimilli, and kimchi jjigae (kimchi soup). It was so good. And it was cool to be back in Myeondong at night when all of the vendors were out.

Seoul Tower.
I don't know if this qualifies as a highlight or more of a debacle. We had been wanting to go up to Namsan Tower all week but the weather had been crappy. FInally on the last night we decide to cab it up there and see what it's all about. It was pretty awesome to get a 360 view of Seoul. We picked up some cool souveniers, got some pictures, then decided we were cold and hungry. Apparently there's one way, and one way only, off the mountain. We needed the 03 bus to get bacsk to Itaewon. We see the bus and the driver is outside the bus so we ask him when he's leaving. He tells us 35 minutes. Crap. What are we going to do out in the cold for that long. Then he tells a Korean couple 20 mins. We decide we can make this so we go to the bathroom to kill some time. We come out no more than 5 minutes later and the bus is gone. The jackass left us. Stranded on the top of a mountain. At 8pm. In the cold. With empty stomaches. We hadn't eaten since and we were getting cranky. Well I was. We see a 02 bus and say screw it, we'll take it no matter where it goes. It ended up dropping us not too far from Myeondong, so we walked, ate some street food (tteokbokki, one of Jen's new favorites) to hold us over then went to a great dinner.

Best Dinner. Ever. Sincheon.
One night Jen and I subwayed it over to Hongdae. I showed her where all the shopping and bars were. We tried to some street food then walked, Cass in hand, the 20 minutes to Sincheon. We walked all around looking at all the lights and stuff going on, and Jen pointed to a place and says let's try this. We sit on the floor (like we do at every restaurant we went to. And yes, Jen's mom, her back is Ok.) and I try to order the octopus chicken grill without the chicken. Trying to explain no chicken was waaaay more difficult than it needed to be. I would point at the English menu. Point to the word ctopus, thumbs up. Point to the word chicken and cross my arms and say annyo (no). After 10 minutes of this they finally get my point. Octopus only. This is a restaurant where they cook it right on the table. They bring out the veggies, gochujong (spicy red sauce), tteokk (rice cake), and squirming octopus and turn the stove on. I convince Jen to drink some soju, definitely not one of her new favorites. She ended up spitting it out. haha oops. So we get some more Cass and wait for our food to cook. We had great deep conversations. I learned things about Jen I never knew and it was just really fun to have a girlfriend from home, sippng on beers, wearing aprons, cooking while sitting on the floor Korea! And then it was ready. I know, I know, I say this ALL the time. But really, this time it's true. BEST DINNER EVER. I got thecard and took a picture outside so I would be able to find it again. Im taking everyone I know here. It was just so flavorful and delicious. Ahhh I think I'd like to go back right now. After we rolled out of there back to HBC, to-go coffee shots in hand.

Ok so this is a highlight for me not Jen. But I have a new favorite bar and it's only 1/2 a block from my house. I read about it on (my favorite website here) and had to go. It's a makgeolli bar. They have a menu of like 50 different makgeollis and they're all 5,000-9,000 won per liter. No one except me and Jeff like it, but they serve beer too so everyone was a good sport and went the first time. I got the sampler. 5 different makkeollis in little bowls. They were all good!!! THEN Jen and I went back on Thursday night. It was raining and we were tired so we just wanted something chill to do. She got a Cass and I got a liter of a random makgeolli. We get the bill. 2,000 won. huh?? Apparently everytime it rains you get a free bottle of makgeolli!!!! It's like they built this place just for me. I'm in makgeolli heaven and I make a HUGE point to tell J(i forget her full name) everytime I'm in there. It's only been open a week and I've been twice and know the staff now. ha.

So as you can tell, Jen and I basically ate our way through Seoul. There's not a whole whole lot to do here except drink and eat, so it's a good thing the food is so good. I can't picture my life without kimchi...

Anyway, I put Jen on the airport bus this morning, so she should be landing back in the US within the next 7 or so hours. We had such an amazing time and she promised if (when) I'm here in a year she'll come out for another trip!

About being here another year. Wish me luck for the COEX job. I interviewed on Friday (will save details for a new post, I'm tired of typing, and I'm at McDonald's and need to go get ready for the night. Party at Sarah's. She just moved to the hood) and hear back early this week if I got the job of Convention Marketing Manger or not. I am SUPER SUPER hoping I got it!!!!

Pictures to come...

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