Monday, October 15, 2007

Seoul International Fireworks Festival, Night out in Itaewon/Hongdae, Day in Insadong

These pictures are in very random order, so I will outline what I did this past weekend and label the pictures accordingly! First, well... there are no pictures from Friday night, but Kerri and I went to Now Bar and met up with some people and ended the evening at a fancy Norabang place in the same building as Now Bar. We said we would leave by 2 AM, but when we looked at our watches it may have said... 4. Oops. I got up later that morning and since we were all planning on seeing the international fireworks display (from the US, Japan, and of course Korea) I thought I would go into Seoul on my own first and get some early Christmas shopping done in Insadong. It was a beautiful day and I strolled along the streets seeing the sights and smelling the smells (some are better than others... I will miss a lot about Korea when I'm gone but I will never miss the smell of grubs boiling at the street vendors). When I finished shopping, I sat at a Paris Baguette and had coffee and studied Hangul for awhile.

Then I met up with my friend Eric in Itaewon! He just arrived in Korea a few weeks ago and this was the first time we had been able to meet up, so we went to Gecko's for some food and then made the (nearly impossible) journey to meet up with my Suwon people at the fireworks festival. This festival was so busy we couldn't even get on a subway! We managed to get a cab and slowly made our way through the traffic to an island in the middle of the Han River. In the end, we couldn't find my friends. There were just too many people! We arranged to meet them in Itaewon later and found a place to sit and enjoy what was left of the fireworks. Whose were best? Well, in all fairness we missed the Japanese display and half the American display, but I still think Korea blew America out of the water. They were the best fireworks I have ever seen!

Afterwards, we went to Itaewon and met up with my peeps at Subway and then said goodbye as they were heading back to Suwon before the subways closed for the night. Eric and I made our way up the street, gorged ourselves on street food and then bought some soju from a convenience store and drank it on the street, simply because it isn't against the law to drink in public here and because we can buy soju for $1.30 whilst it would be a little more expensive to drink in a bar.

We met some of Eric's friends and arranged to meet them in Hongdae; and after a gruelling 25 minute cab drive (some drivers like to take foreigners for granted in this country...) we met up with them and went to the TinPan bar. Hongdae is a university neighbourhood all the way, and one of the coolest places in Seoul if you're looking to hit the bars. Unfortunately, Eric and I were in no such mood at this point! We had a drink and then made our way back to Itaewon to stay the night in a jjimjilbang (Korean saunas... for ten bucks you're safe for the night- they have separate saunas for men and women, and they give you pajamas and a mat for the floor and full use of the facilities- if you don't mind getting naked in front of 50 othwer women). And so ends my day in Seoul! I woke up refreshed in the jjimjilbang and hopped on the subway back to Suwon!

Beautiful Korean fireworks

There were constant bouts of cheering...

On the way to Itaewon after the fireworks- finally, a subway not packed to capacity!

While drinking our Soju in the street we realized we were sitting right outside a police station. Yes, we really are that smooth.

In Hongdae: I thought this bar was called "Ho Barn" but really it's just "Ho Bar IV"

At the fireworks display: twin view blockers

Eric at the fireworks display...

Can you see all the people down there? This was our view from the bridge. Then we decided to get down there ourselves.

More view blockers

American fireworks

In Insadong: drumming performance

Even the livestock joined in the fun!

This picture was accidental, but I kinda like it.

Beautiful, busy day in Insadong!

And.... da da daaaaaa! My first cafe au lait in Korea! It wasn't very good, and I had to walk them through it in my very limited Korean, but it really did hit the spot.


Debo Hobo said...

Fireworks are so hard to capture aren;t they. This was a great post.

Janinel said...

I feel like I need a crash course in photography sometimes!