This is one of M's friends that he let live on the porch all summer. I did not find him until I started cleaning the porch and noticed him and three others similar to him just hanging out. Unfortunately, these are poisonous and I had to evict them. I'm finally prepping the porch for a deep clean that it's needed since yellow dust season, so I doubt even these mild-mannered guests would allow me to clean without a little bitey-bitey.
Monday (the 3rd) our friends invited us out to Myeongdong and Itaewon. We met at their house at about 1pm and took the subway system. Why take our car when we could turn this into an entire outing where you have submerse yourself in the culture?
From their house (who shall be referred to as E and M) it took about an hour and a half to get to Myeongdong.
While there we snacked on some egg bread, or Gyeran-ppang (계란빵). Gyeh-ran (roll your r here; it's somewhere between an r and an l) Pahng.
This is a delicious mix between salty and sweet. Think super dense cake with salty egg on top. A must try if you're ever in Korea!
While we were in Myeongdong, E and I each had specific things we were looking for. Our search brought us to Olive Young, a Korean cosmetic brand & shop. Above is some sort of wine-soaked wet pads that E was interested in. I was looking for a very specific kind of carbonated face mask.
I'm trying to remember if beauty products in the States are so heavily influenced by media. I believe they were, but it feels like it's much more common in Korea.
Those fluffy things were so soft! M and E picked up a rabbit one. No, it wasn't real fur.
We checked out a jewelry store. I tried looking for something for my triple helix piercings, but I think this was more geared towards traditional earlobe piercings and other jewelry. Methinks I will have to go to Amazon. Not that I remember the size of my piercings. Crap.
I remember my first time seeing this sort of scene in Korea. I've never lived or really explored the heart of big cities before, so I think I will forever associate crowds and busy, poster-ridden buildings with Seoul.
While M was taking the above picture, the young ladies with the posters got really excited and jumped and waved to be in the picture.
I'm not entirely sure what they were trying to advertise, but it's not in Korean. I'm thinking Chinese? In any case, M obliged their desire to be in a picture! :)
Once we finished our copious amounts of shopping, we took the subway over to Itaewon, to a restaurant called Vatos Urban Tacos. I know, we went out to experience Korean culture and we went to a touristy restaurant. Shh, when you crave tacos, you buy some tacos!
This drink was dangerously delicious. It was called Something Blue, and yes, it was an alcoholic beverage. The menu described it as a blueberry lemonade. This drink was sweet and fizzy and absolutely amazing. Not to mention it was massive. The mason jar was taller than my hand, and I have long pianist's fingers. If I had to guess how much liquid there was, I'd say between 1 and 1.5 liters.
These were the absolutely delectable tacos I got. Carné asada, or grilled beef. They were small (each taco was about 4 inches in diameter) but these two along with the drink was more than enough to fill me. The drink was more than my tacos! We paid ₩14,000/~$12.72 for my drink and ₩7,900/~$7.18 for my two tacos. Altogether M and I paid about $45 for our meal. Awesome, given the quality of the meal and drinks! He got a Texas Tea drink... which was anything but tea. It was a variety of liquors with a quirt of tea flavoring. I tried a sip of it and it was hard. Mine, on the other hand, had absolutely 0 taste of booze. It's one of those drinks I love because I can't taste the alcohol, but I have to be careful with or I might drink too much and turn into a loopy gooney.
We all finished our food, then M and I showed M & E some good places to get trinkets to send home. While there, we picked up a few things for M to send home to family.
By the end of all that it we were all feeling a little sluggish and decided to head back to M & E's house. We got there and spent a few hours talking before M and I headed home.
Tuesday (the 4th) was a little rough for me. I woke up with a bad headache and my face was extremely flushed. Ah, heat exhaustion. I've had a really bad case of heat stroke before, so I'm glad this wasn't anything worse than what it was. I drank lots of water, filled up on food, and rested for most of the morning. I felt mostly normal by the time M and I left to do some errands. As part of our errands, we picked up a Korean language program offered at the local Post Exchange so I could put more effort into learning Korean. We also went to Yongsan and picked up groceries. By the time we got home, it was almost 8pm and I was exhausted again. M and I had some sushi (not Korean kimbap), watched some Bleach together, and crashed.
Yesterday was a productive day at home. I cleaned and took pictures for blog posts that I'm incredibly behind on. I also made some bastardized pancit like the one I posted to Instagram. A post shall be coming soon™. I also finally got to dig into the packages I received over the past week. One was from Julie (thank you!), and two were from my parents. One was my Bathing Garden order, and the other had the planner I've been waiting on for almost two months now.
In the middle of working on my blog posts, I decided that I would take a break and look at the Korean program and what it had to offer. While I wouldn't say the program was a complete waste of money, I do not care for the way it presents some of the information. It concentrates more on giving me the romanticized version of Korean words (ouija for chair, as opposed to 의자) and each bit of information is given via a recording or video that takes waaay too long to present the appropriate information. It also teaches phrases before it teaches you the alphabet, which isn't what I'm going for. I want something that teaches the language as if I'm aiming to become fluent and continue to expand my knowledge beyond my time here in Korea - which is my intention. This program is geared more towards "here's some stuff to help you get by while you're here."
So I messed with that program for a bit before deciding that I wanted to find something on the internet that would help me learn the alphabet more. From there, I found other games that are aimed at helping you learn Korean through Hangul as opposed to roman letters.
Five hours later M came home from work to find me spewing Korean at the screen with about a million different tabs and programs open.
So that's where I'm at today. I finally decided to dish out the money to help me learn Korean in a way that fits my learning - through 'games' and flash cards more than reading paragraphs of information and memorizing a piece of paper.
How are things in your corner of the world? Has the weather finally cooled down yet?