Monday was an exciting day for M and I. We went to the Coex aquarium, which is a 20 minute drive from our house!
The entrance to the aquarium is in the middle of Coex mall, which is a basement level mall that sprawls several city blocks and lies underneath the Korea World Trade Center. This mall is unlike other ones we've been to in Korea in that it's very Westernized in design. Each store has its own set of walls and doors, versus in other malls where entire sections of the mall are completely open and one vendor/store melds into the next seamlessly. That plus the massive hallways made us feel like we were back in the States. I think I've touched on this before, but Korea is a very trusting country. While we were in Dongdaemun there were several times where we were left alone with merchandise or saw a closed stall with items still on display. At the electronics market, M and I were left alone in the middle of a computer parts store so the owner could go pick up an item we had just bought. M and I have talked several times about how this is completely different from back home, and it's nice to not feel like wherever we go we're being watched as if we have bad intentions.
The entrance fee for the both of us was W44,000. The aquarium was crowded, though probably not as crowded as it would be on a weekend. Sometimes the sheer number of people I see when we go out astounds me. It's one thing to know the numbers (10 million people live in Seoul). It's another to see how that number affects day to day life and crowds.
I don't think this post will be incredibly heavy on text. I feel like aquariums are one of those things that don't need to be explained when showing pictures - you can see what I was looking at from the picture!
All over the museum we could see little reminders from Conan O'Brien's visit in February. I remember watching his segment on his visit to Korea back then, and it was fun to see little reminders of it while we walked through here.
There was another tank with some larger Dory/Blue tangs that shows how big these fish can get.
If you've seen Dinosaur and remember the line "Look at all the Alodars!" think of me saying "Look at all the Nemos/Dorys!" in the same way.
The aquarium is set up much like Ikea; you follow a path from beginning to end and larger rooms have arrows to guide you through the space in the most optimal way.
One section of the aquarium had various household objects turned into fish tanks. M and I thought it was rather ridiculous, but a lot of people loved it. There were TVs, vending machines, fridges... tons of household items that had been re-purposed into fish tanks. We couldn't get any pictures because of the crowds of people.
I wasn't going to keep this picture because of the horrible lighting and my inability to see the bats... but I like how this turned out.
If the rest of my aquarium visit seems blue tinged, it's because it was.
"Are you sure this water's sanitary? It looks questionable to me!!" .... "It's. A. Piranha!" Bonus points if you know what movie this references.
I know about this fish because of Jeremy Wade's River Monsters. Seeing how big they could get in person was crazy.
These catfish were in a pond that had signs everywhere saying "DO NOT TOUCH - DANGER!" and various threats that you could lose any limbs you stuck into the water. I found this funny because the glass panes that allowed you to see through the water were only about waist high. Talk about temptation for children and adults who wanted to test the signs' authenticity.
M and I had a laugh at these beavers because of our Ark experience. In the video game, there is a prehistoric Castoroides, a giant beaver that we like to tame and use as fairly versatile mounts. While I was taking pictures, M asked me a lot of questions referencing Ark and the taming process, such as "What kind of berries do you think it eats? Or is it a carnivore? How many tranq darts will it take to knock that guy out? What level do you think he is?"
There was a section of the aquarium that let you see various sea creatures' breeding process. The brown sack on the plant is the egg this banded bamboo shark came from.
The black ray liked to swim around this tank near the surface and splash guests as they walked by.
One of the rooms had aquariums set up as paintings. I thought it was pretty cool.
This guy scared the crap out of me while I was walking through the archway that goes through the middle of the shark tank. He was swimming right above where my head was and all I saw out of the corner of my eye was his mouth coming towards me. Stuff of nightmares. Still incredibly awesome!
...and then it was all over! :( We spent almost 2 hours in the aquarium. We probably could have stretched it out longer if I didn't let myself get shoved around by the people around me and decide to move on from a particular tank before I was actually ready to. M and I wouldn't mind coming back again. Maybe we'll try smack dab in the middle of the week and see if that makes any difference!
The exit to the aquarium is a souvenir shop, which we checked out. The prices were typical of souvenir shops - high. We didn't pick anything up, but it was nice to know that stuff was there if we ever choose to get anything.
At this point we knew we were hungry, so we started walking back towards where we parked while keeping an eye out for stores to check out and a restaurant to eat at.
M wanted to check out a model shop and as he still had the camera he also took pictures. :)
Sorry if these two pictures blind you.
We finally found a restaurant called Porchetta. The food was delicious.
I got a carbonara pasta.
M got the porchetta sandwich. What's in it? I have no clue, but he said it was delicious.
Once we finished eating, we finally headed home and took a nap.
Tuesday was a social day for me. I went to K's house and spent the entire day there. While there, I finished my Hanji project I'd been working on and got to take home. I'm excited for how it turned out!
Some day I'll take pictures of the entire Hanji process, from start to finish.
K dropped me off at home at about 1:30 this morning, and I went immediately to sleep. Today has been a relaxed day for me. I sorted through the 400+ pictures we took at the aquarium, got this post together, and plan to work on some other posts I've been meaning to work on for a while. At some point I should take a break and eat, but besides that today is very much a Blog day.