Monday, September 7, 2009

Hiking in Seoul

The weekend was, to say the least, fabulous. Friday night, a group of us headed to Nowon, a province in the north, to have a slumber party and then go hiking the next morning. It was a shame to leave my district on a Friday evening, as evidenced by the fact that while entering the train station, tons of college-aged students were flooding into Kangnam and I was one of the few leaving. It was nice, however, to see Allan, my roommate from orientation, and his nice 14th floor apartment overlooking the mountains. That night we went to a noraebang and had a great time singing the night away. Noraebangs are like karaoke rooms, where you can rent a room for yourself and your friends and sing various hits.
The next morning, we set off to Alice’s place and headed up a mountain with Andie, Ace, Emily, and Emilie. It was quite a hike, and the views were breathtaking. The Koreans here were also a lot more friendly and continually said ‘annyeong ha-se-yo’ as they passed. The way seemed a little dangerous (it was pretty steep and sandy at times) but we all made it safely. When we finally came down the mountain I bought one of the best ice creams ever, with yogurt flavored ice cream covering a crunchy white chocolate layer and then cookies and cream inside. All for five hundred won (about forty cents). Andie, Emilie and I then took the train back to our respective homes and rested up. I’ve been watching some interesting tv shows here. Most of them are in Korean, but every once in a while you get a feature film. So far it has been Jaws, Pride and Prejudice and Annie. A dinner of chili, which does NOT taste the same without cumin, was followed by heading over to Ace and Emily’s place before going to the discotheque. We went to Itaewon again, which is the foreigner district, and I think I met Steve Bacic, a Canadian actor, but I’m not quite sure.
Sunday morning I had a wonderful time sleeping in. Since my school starts at 8 am, I have been waking up around 6:30. I feel too much like a professional. Yesterday gave me the chance to catch up on much needed sleep. For lunch, I cooked up a pasta dish with seafood and I actually got it to taste like what I wanted, which made me very happy. I spent the evening wondering over to the Express Bus Terminal with the goal of finding Seorae Mael, which is also known as little France. However, I ended up getting lost, because the guide book did not have that clear of directions. This was fine, however, as I found the National Library, a brilliant foot-bridge under construction, and a wonderful park at the top of a hill. I love parks here; they tend to have exercise equipment and it is fun to watch old Koreans on a metal version of the gazelle. Awesome.
I did eventually find Seorae Mael. The French school is in this area, as well as many wealthy ex-pats and various Italian restaurants. It is also the place to go to find good wine. As soon as I get paid, I’m going to go back and get a nice, expensive meal and a good glass of wine. Since I’m currently poor, however, I ended up just buying an Americano and wondering up Montmarte Street. I was so excited when I found this hill, I couldn’t stop beaming. It was as if I was in a baby Paris. Wandering back home, I couldn’t get this feeling of awe at being in this city out of my body. Unfortunately, it was immediately dissipated when I decided to watch Se7ven before going to bed, but hopefully I can regain what I lost on my next adventure into a new area.
The Chinese teacher just interrupted my thoughts to let me know that the woman on the other side of my desk is pretty and single. I’m so embarrassed.

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