Well today is the last “day off work” for Chuseuk. Tomorrow is Saturday which I never work anyways, so it’s back to the regular routine. But for today, since I was feeling better, I took a trip to Insadong, my favourite little market in Seoul.
Of course, what “day out” story would be complete without something crazy happening on the subway? When traveling to Seoul, I like to find the spot in the subway cars reserved for wheel chairs. There are no seats, I can lean up against the wall and just listen to music, looking out the window. If there are ever anyone in a wheel chair of course I will move! But it’s easier than swaying in the middle having to hold onto those handles trying to stay in one place.
So I’m on the train, just leaning up against the wall, fiddling with my phone, when an older gentleman sits down in the seats directly across from me. These are reserved for elderly, disabled, or pregnant women. So this guy sits down, and has kind of like a cart with him. He pulls out a little book, starts writing in it and chuckling to himself. No big deal. THEN he opens up his fanny pack (yeah! He had a fanny pack) and pulls out a box cutter.
He then proceeds to push the blade all the way up, admires it for about 2 seconds, puts the blade all the way back down again and puts it back into his fanny pack. About 5 minutes later, he just starts laughing. For. No. Reason. Thankfully we were at the end of the line and we all got off the train.
Speaking of the reserved seats on the subway. There are three seats at the end of each car for the elderly/disabled etc. Then there are some pregnancy seats in the middle of the car. They can have just a sticker over top of them, or the fabric can be a totally different colour.
I never noticed these seats before, but a friend mentioned them while we were out last weekend and now I see them everywhere! And, just as my friend said, there is never a pregnant woman sitting there. Today, there was a 20-something guy sitting there, sleeping…
Once I got unto Seoul, I had to transfer at Seoul Station. I used to be afraid of this station because it’s so big but I’ve gotten used to it now. The only thing is trying to get out of it. Just to transfer from one line to the other I had to go up FOUR escalators, up 1.5 flights of stairs, and then DOWN 1.5 flights of stairs. Just to transfer! That’s not even to see the light of day. Going back home it’s 5 escalators and 2 flights of stairs. Since you basically have to stop for food and shelter while trying to get out of this subway, they make sure the bathrooms have something cute in them:
Once at my final destination, I actually had Subway for lunch. It’s rare to find the stores, and I’m not a big fan when I’m in Canada but I was like “I haven’t had subway in over a year so why not?!” So I did! Then I set out for Insadong. Which was only a few minutes away from the subway station and the Subway restaurant where I had lunch.
I went to Insadong for 3 reasons: I wanted to pick up some scarves for the Bff-R, I wanted to get a hand painted fan for my Canadian wife, and I wanted a book to write it. I see them every time I go but I never actually buy one. They look all Asian inspired on the outside and have yellowed paper on the inside with no lines on it.
I found the scarves, but the vendor for the fan wasn’t there. I could have found a fan at any number of other vendors but the guy I wanted to go to, actually hand paints the fans. Then when you buy it, he writes your name in Korean, and the date that you bought it. I wanted it for the wife, but he wasn’t there. This is my fan from 5 years ago, my name is the 2nd line from the left.
As for the book, I didn’t find the exact same vendor as I saw before, but I did find this one guy who made the books by hand. He was actually putting one together while I shopped. I picked out a cute one, although I have no purpose for it, but I am happy now that I have it.
Isn’t it cute?! I love the silly translation on the bag as well.
I decided to take a little break from the humidity and found refuge in a high end tea room. I’ve been before and their tea is amazing. I looked over the menu, and bought this delightful drink! It was super expensive, 8,500 won (about $9 CND) but it looked amazing!
But then I started to drink it, and it was so nasty!!! At first I thought I should stir it all up, mixing the tangerine flavour all in, but it was literally all just pulp. Disgusting! So I let it settle and decided to just drink from the top down, and that water tasted disgusting too! I spent about an hour there, nursing the drink, trying to not waste my money. But I did get the chance to talk to the little brother of Angela (old bff) for quite a bit which was nice.
With the humidity growing, and my shopping all finished, I decided to head home. I did stop to get a little sweet treat for myself at a local cafe on my walk from the subway station to my apartment. I also bought this cute little guy:
It was an “iced tea, mojito passion fruit” or something like that. It was delicious! A little hint of ice tea, a little passion fruit, it had a slice of fresh lemon in it and some fresh mint. YUM! And the cup is adorable! Look!! He’s a little sailor with the lid being his little hat! Best part: only 2,500!