|From left to right: Myself, Florence, Sandra, and Iyeong in the Hanyang University subway station.|
When we arrived at the marketplace, I discovered (with Iyeong's help) that they have this very interesting 'token system' in which you take five thousand won, which is a little less than five USD, and they give you ten tokens in return. The tokens were these cool, Chinese-style coins and they hung them on a twisty tie for me to carry them. Then the idea was for the students to walk through the market with their little coin-strings and trade them in for food, which the sellers scooped onto our trays.
Yes, it's like a giant buffet.
I tried a lot of things I had never eaten before, but I tried to make sure someone else had eaten it to ensure that I wouldn't eat any tree nuts. I can't entirely remember what I had to eat (I shared with a few friends) and I didn't take any pictures, but I remember the seaweed, sweet potatoes, and sweet ddeokbokki that I had. The Korean mayo salad wasn't my favorite dish but that's okay because I'm glad I finally discovered one of their dishes that I didn't find myself addicted to. :)
I think the deokkbokki might've been a varition of 양념 통닭, a sweet and spicy fried chicken, which the vendor had made in a thicker sauce and added ddeokbokki to. It was incredibly good and I want to try remaking that version of ddeokbokki sometime soon.
Recipe for sweet and spicy fried chicken-(http://aeriskitchen.com/2011/04/sweet-and-spicy-tongdak/)
After picking out our food, we were to travel upstairs to a cafe where we could sit and eat. Bowls of rice cost us somewhere between 1,000-2,000 won (I can't remember), but I couldn't eat all of the rice they scooped out for me! After eating, Sandra and I decided to part with the group for a brief moment to order ourselves these fruit smoothie drinks. I ordered the grape flavor and discovered it was delicious! I asked her if it was artificial, because I had never tasted 'grape' flavor like this. She said that every grape flavored thing, from candy to juice, that she had tasted while in Korea had this same flavor. I soon learned that this is true. I don't know if it's artifical or not, but it's in everything grape-flavored! Maybe I should try some real grapes next time and see if they taste similar to this flavor. :)
I took a video of the marketplace while we were leaving-
After the marketplace, I thought we were on our way home, but instead we visted a museum having to do with the Blue House and Korean presidents, I believe. I never caught the name of the museum, but it definitely had a lot to do with Korean diplomacy and becomming actively involved as a respected first-world nation in world politics.This was one of the displays, showing some of the most incredibly popular Korean dramas of all time-
However, around the same time I discovered Big Bang, which with a more American sound and style, managed to hold my attention longer (plus, I happened to like a certain member quite a bit). I then started watching the drama Coffee Prince, and after that, I re-evaluated MIROTIC with a less critical and more culturally understanding eye. I didn't think the video was so strange any more. I won't force you to suffer through my further re-evaluation of the now somehow stunning faces of Micky and Yunho. I'll just say one glance was all it took-
|I'm not sure what 15 year old me was thinking...|
|Yes. She was blind. =P|
Some of my readers who take the time to watch this video may be thinking I'm crazy, which is perfectly fine, but this is honestly what led me into liking Korea at the time that I did. Of course, I would have discovered more about South Korea on my own without the K-pop and K-dramas, but I probably wouldn't have discovered it at such a young age.
Which, in my opinion, was instrumental to my teenage years (and still is). I would not have wanted to spend this part of my life in anything else other than learning about this culture.
Yet, I can't continue telling you about my journey from fangirl to international traveller since this is more about the end-product than the process. That is a later post. :)
Most of my pictures inside the museum are sadly rather blurry because my tablet doesn't take good pictures when there isn't a lot of light. I'll post the good ones here. I did get a really cute video of a little boy talking about a big fish in a fake pond that they had inside the museum, but I think the video speaks louder than words.
(my friend from Singapore, Florence, waved to me while I was filming this video! We both thought he was so cute. When we left, we told him '안녕!' which is 'bye' in Korean, and he replied, '안녕, 누나!' which is 'bye, noona/older sister(s)!'. We were so pleased he responded to us. =D )
There were some very interesting interactive things in the museum-
|Korea National Parks|
|Signatures of past presidents.|
|Accomplishments of Park Geun-Hye|
|Little president-still version. :)|
|You took your picture and then wrote something about it.|
|Nawaphan giving Iyeong a hard time. XD It reads 'Iyeong is stupid'.|
|We saw this grandfather and his little boy a little while before we saw them at the fish pond, where I took the video above. :)|
|I don' t know what to call this display other than 'Korean Pride', and I'm perfectly okay with that. It definitely show-cased their recent accomplishments.|
|Focus on hope and happiness? I think so.|
|Such a great choice of words! This happened whenever you jumped on the fish pond. ;)|
|Guess that boyband! Hint: not the remaning 2 members of DBSK. =P|
|I was told this is the Palace? But perhaps it was lost in translation what it really is. XD|
|I was watching people constructin' stuff in Southwest Virginia just last week, Korean Construction Sign! :D|
|My reflection. Interesting souvenier shop|
|Awesome artwork on walk back home.|
|Kids on subway.|
|Handsome man on subway. I actually got to sit next to this guy because I started talking to Iyeong and we found out that I am the 막내 (youngest) of the group. So, Iyeong and our other tour-guide-helpers decided I would get the next empty seat ^^|
After that, he told his friend 'there are too many bilingual people here, hyung-I'm going to speak Spanish!' which cracked us up even more because several of us could understand his Spanish! At which he gave up speaking altogether.
When we were entering the subway, two people who looked like they were chasing each other ran out and knocked my tablet out of my hands and nearly ran me over. However, the tour-guide-helper guy I was talking to at that moment picked up my tablet and asked if I was okay, because I was too shocked to pick it up. I nearly missed the train I was so surprised. After that, I clutched the tablet much more tightly when entering and exiting subways! We talked about learning English and different professions on the subway ride-the guy I spoke with is an Engineering student. Iyeong looked at him at one point and goes "I thought you didn't speak English that well."
He looked at her and shrugged, casting his eyes towards me, "not when I need to use it."
Iyeong turned to me and said, "but he's really shy speaking English," she laughed, "I'm so surprised, really!" *elbowed him*
|I can't remember. At all.|
|My supper. It cost me $2.00 USD and was incredibly filling and delicous. ^^|
I loved the trip but more than that I loved being able to communicate with and enjoy the company of Koreans. It was also an amazing confidence builder for me to discover that knowing a little bit about dramas and singers could help me converse with a Korean girl, something I had never done before with very much success past the first few sentences.
Thanks, Iyeong, for being an amazing 언니 to me that day! ^^
Day 4 and 5 coming soon,