Seoul was amazing. I arrived Friday night and met up with Viruck and Sandile, friends who I met at orientation. The three of us grabbed some food and found a Jinjilbang to stay at for the night (a combination of a sauna/hostel/YMCA). It was only 12,000 won each, so about $9 per person. Then we went out to test the nightlife. Sandile and Viruck were both complaining that nobody in their towns speak English, so I assumed they would have learned alot of Korean by now. Actually, they hadn't learned anything since orientation! So Sandile actually tried to mime out action of dancing to some random koreans (who thought he was crazy). He was really embarrassed when I just asked the guy "where are some good nightclubs?" and he answered back in English. I think most people in Seoul speak better English than in our small towns.
Seoul has many many districts. So Friday we went to Club Day in Sinchon. A korean guy we met on the street took us to check it out. For about 14 dollars you get admission to 13 clubs in the area for the entire night and a free drink. Unlike in America, there is no fire code or anything so they really packed everyone in there. We spent most of the night at Noise Basement 2. We got back to the Jinjilbang late and then enjoyed the sauna and hot tubs for a bit. Then I went up to the entertainment area (where a bunch of people were sleeping on the floor and found two koreans that were awake talking. I ended up talking to them for two or three hours. The guy was named Juyoung and the girl was named Yu-something. Yu was really sick cus she drank too much so she couldn't sleep. She is a first year college student who is studying English, and Juyoung is a high school student. He couldnt speak much English, but Yu enjoyed the chance to translate for us. I got to sleep at 9am and woke up at 9:50am Saturday!
I wanted to talk to Yu and Juyoung in the morning but they finally had fallen asleep. I did get a chance to talk to a friend of theirs for an hour or so who had studied in the USA for five years though. She was really chill, but I never got her name. I Enjoyed the sauna/shower combination on Saturday morning and then around noon we went out to explore Jongno. It was a nice part of town and had lots of historical sights. We toured a palace called Changdeokgung (i think). It was a palace during the Joseon dynasty but got burned to the ground a few hundred years ago... some of it has been restored.
After taking the train back to Chungjeoungno, Viruck and Sandile went back to the Jinjilbang to take a nap. When I was by myself, I met a cute korean girl named Kibong who ended up taking me to see Namgan Tower. Its a bit like the space needle, except its on a hill in the middle of the city. You can see the entire city from there. Almost everyone there was couples though. Then we went questing for mexican food (i really wanted to find some while I was in Seoul) but the one place we found had a long wait so we did Indian food instead. The place was owned by an Indian couple who have been in Korea for two years and the food was great. The guy spoke 5 languages and was speaking to me in English.
After that, I went to Itaewon to meet up with my friend Mandolyn who was in Seoul this weekend celebrating her 25th bday. We spent an hour or two drinking in the street in the gay bar district there until everyone showed up and I had a couple of guys try to hit on me. Then we headed to Hungdai via taxi. There were alot of bars and clubs there, but my favorite place was the place that sold liquor in a vinyl bag!
We went to a couple other places there but I didn't like it too much because it was mainly foreigners. Regardless, I was really happy to see Mandolyn again and to meet the friends that she has been hanging out with way up in Wonju! I got back to the jinjilbang around 4am and went to bed after a quick sauna.
Got up Sunday after a good five hours of sleep when my friend Jane called to apologize that she hadn't met up with us the night before. I took a shower/sauna and had breakfast and watched TV while I waited for Viruck and Sandile to get ready. I walked Sandile and Viruck back to the station to help them get their tickets home. Sadly all of the lockers were in use so I had to tote my bag around with me for the rest of the day. I had a nice korean lunch and explored the market area in Insadong. I liked that area because it had alot of energy and was a good mix of cultures. I got back to my apartment in Gimcheon at 1am and got four or five hours of sleep before having to get up for school today! Seoul is huge but I'm glad that I got to explore alot of different districts and atmospheres. I think what most of the foreign teachers here love most is being able to explore new areas, get stories to tell, or expand beyond what they believed to be their capabilities. My favorite part of Korea is meeting Korean people. They are all so warm-hearted and generous. So while it was great to explore Seoul, the most fun I had was meeting Kibong, Juyoung, Yu-, and their friend.... and also meeting back up with my friends Sandile, Viruck, and Mandolyn from orientation.