형래 Heongrae, 완용 Wanyong, and I are to meet up today and I'm excited!
While I would also choose FRIENDS 친구들 chingudeul as word of the day like yesterday, but because the day was really a full day of exploring the city, SEOUL 서울 would be the perfect word to sum it up.
Note: This is a very long post by the way, probably the longest I've ever written - worth 10 posts if I were to break it up!
Anyway, since we are only meeting up at 1:00pm, I decided to go attend a church service this morning.
I decided to go back to my roots and attend a Methodist church. So I hopped into a bus. But I think my GPS was acting up and so I was a bit confused but since I saw a church by the road where it's supposed to be, I quickly got off the bus.
And here I am.
It took me awhile to find the sanctuary that is on the 3rd floor. There were no directional signs.
I took a seat and waited for the service to start at 9:00am as stated in the church website. But the longer I waited, the more I wonder where all the people are since it's already almost 9!
I looked around and a lady asked if I'd like a bulletin. I took one and only then did I find out that I'm in the "wrong" church! Oops!
I was making my way to 창천교회 Changcheon Methodist Church...
...but I must have taken the wrong bus and ended up in 신천교회 Sinchon Presbyterian Church!
I texted my husband to tell him about it and him being the witty one said it's because it's predestined. Haha...sorry, inside joke!
The service was lovely although I don't understand most of it.
The choir was awesome. They did a reprise of JS Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring after the service, which I can only catch a bit of it here:
This is the 55-member Hallelujah Choir. When I checked the bulletin, they actually have one choir for each of the three services on Sundays. Wow!
The odd thing though was that no one came to greet or talk to me. In all the churches I have visited, newcomers and visitors are always welcomed. For the first time, I didn't experience that.
Then it's time to meet up with 형래 and 완용. We began with lunch here in 황금정 Huanggeumjeong for 삼겹살 samgyeopsal or BBQ pork belly.
We must have been so hungry because we forgot to take any pictures of the food!
After lunch, we went to 북천 Bukchon Hanok Village.
This is a residential area and these hanoks are really people's homes. And with the influx of so many tourists, they must be quite frustrated with the noise and the crowd.
Don't the houses look so, so lovely?
Hoping no one will come out the door.
And hearts to you!
We also went up to the Bukchon Observatory for the sky view. We climbed three floors up and paid ₩3,000 per person. It comes with simple coffee...
...and a view of the Hanok rooftops.
As we were leaving, we saw this chimney with the word 코리아 Korea, which of course we must have a picture with.
Ah! Finally we see some street food and I got so excited. I'm a street food person!
A little further down the road, 형래 wanted to try Egg Drop. 완용 and I were like, really? We are already so full! But with his sad face, I said, ok let's get one and share, which we did! It was good!
Then we saw an elderly lady selling 달고나 dalgona by the road. It's a traditional Korean candy made from baking soda and brown sugar.
...and 형래 said that if you can break out the molded shape of the candy without breaking it, you will get another piece free. Just as he was saying it, he tried to show me but broke the candy in pieces! No matter...we ate it all up anyway.
Our next stop was to the art galleries in 인사동 Insadong.
First was to the Fifth Exhibition Hall. I am not sure about the name of the artist but I am quite fascinated with her work.
I am not an art person. And it has been ages since I've been to an art gallery. But this visit was a eye opener to me. It made me actually stand in front of an art piece and really look at it for a long time. Had never understood why people do that, until now.
I like this piece because I love music and I see that the circular keyboard represent music that connects us all as human beings. And there are five hands, three people, but where is the other hand? Possibly there is one person with only one hand? He has music nonetheless and is a part of the collective music as well.
This artist is very fascinated with the human hand. Almost half of her paintings and art exhibited are on hands.
This I find fascinating. There are two roses - one withered and one fresh. Between the two roses are three words: 고마워 gumawo thank you, 사랑해 saranghae I love you, and 미안해 mianhae I am sorry. These three words bring life. They revitalise relationships. They bring back love.
And this one is interesting. It's an 이런약국 ireonyakgug This Drugstore that has these drugs, which one do you need: 우정 ujeong friendship, 생명 saengmyeong life, 사회적평등 sahwijeokpyeongdeung social equality, 사랑 sarang love, 자유 jayu freedom, 여유 yeoyu abundance, 안전 anjeon safety, or 정의 jeongui justice.
But this is the one that really struck me. When I first saw it, I was captivated by the sculpture of a hand and a mold of another hand trying to connect with the hand.
I was then told that this piece of art in made in response to the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, where the ferry carrying 476 passengers bound from Incheon to Jeju capsized. Out of the 304 who died, 250 were students from Danwon High School. Take a read of the event, it's very devastating. No one would have died if things were done right.
When I knew that, the art piece really speaks out. You can see the hand trying to reach for the hand that is no longer there but what is left is a mark of someone who tried to reach out but has failed. What they have become are now flowers you throw into the water in remembrance of the dead.
Let's observe a moment of silence...
Next we went into a gallery that features the aroma of the four seasons.
I did really try to smell if the fragrances depict the seasons. Maybe...I don't know...
The next gallery is by this one artist who is also very good though I find her message isn't strong like the first one.
I like her depiction of bubbles...
...and she painted peaches, strawberries and cherries on real table cloths...
...and they really look real, and three dimensional. Tap on the photo to view it larger.
Our next stop was to 쌈지길 Ssamjigil but we didn't stay long since I'm no shopper.
We were tired and so we decided to have tea in a hanok.
I can't remember what 완용 ordered (완용 if you can remind me, I'll update it here :)
형래 had chrysanthemum tea.
And he ordered this concoction of herbs for me but he forgot I'm Chinese. Haha. All these is common to me. But the tea is good and refreshing though it did taste a bit on the medicinal side.
It's dinner time! And we made our way to Gwangjang Market. It is packed with people.
We passed by many food stalls but 형래 said we'd go to a proper restaurant.
I'm so fascinated with the variety of food and especially the little aquarium of living octopuses. Hmm...
Here we are, in a restaurant. And we ordered too much, don't you think?
We had 녹두빈대떡 nokdubindaeteok mung bean pancakes, 육회 yukhoe steak tartare/raw beef, 마약김밥 mayakgimbap seaweed rice roll and of course 막걸리 makgeolli!
I then asked 형래 about the living octopus I saw outside and he said they will chopped up to smaller pieces and suggested that I try it.
And here it comes. Watch this vid if you dare...
...and see how much they enjoyed it...
...and the fact that I actually finished it! Wriggly wormy octopus and all.
And I was enjoying the makgeolli a bit too much...
...but with 형래 and 완용 being seasoned drinkers, they have no problems with it. I'm the only one with a red glow in the face.
I really thought we ordered too much food, but we finished it all! Everything!
After dinner, the night is still young and we took a very nice evening walk on our way to 청계천 Cheonggyecheon stream.
This stream is the place to be when you are dating.
But for Christmas...
...it is all lighted up...
...all along the stream...
잘생겼다 서울 Jalsaenggyeoda Seoul - Handsome Seoul...
...and a lovey dovey couple.
It was such an amazing day but soon it's time we part ways.
I won't be seeing 형래 and 완용 for awhile now until I return or they come visit me in Kuala Lumpur.
Thanks you two for being my friends and making this such a great trip for me with so many memories to keep!
Hope to see you again real soon!