Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day 37: Raccoon café

Last night, I had a moody moment and decided that the time between our morning and afternoon classes today should be spent on something that'd make me happy - so I asked Celine to go to a raccoon café in Hongdae with me!

The first place we went to, Bonita Di (보니타디) seemed to be closed due to reconstruction of the 3rd floor of that same building so we found a place called 맹쿤 라쿤카페 (Maengkun raccoon café)

After having watched numerous Facebook videos of raccoons, going to this kind of café was something I'd been looking forward to for a long time. I can't really say it lived up to my expectations though. I don't think want to go back.
Don't get me wrong. Whenever I got to touch the raccoons, I had the most happy moments. But Celine and I both agreed that there was something there that didn't feel right.
I'll try to explain it with the pictures I took~

Unlike the cat and dog cafés I've been to, there was no drink included in the entrance fee. It was, however, at a cheaper cost of 7000₩ (≈ 7$ ≈ 42 dkk) compared to the usual 10000₩ (if I remember correctly).

The raccoons were EXTREMELY happy to search people's pockets so we were asked to put our belongings in the lockers provided.
They featured a dangerous mistranslation.. No no no no, do not bring cigarettes, lighters, or hot packs with you!
The café was split in two parts: a normal café area and this other, bigger part enclosed by glass where the raccoons and dogs were kept.

The moment we entered, 3 dogs ran over to us; a REALLY BIG CORGI HOLY COW (I didn't know corgis were that big!!), a brown husky, and a middle sized black dog with a fluffy tail. They were all super friendly and the brown husky decided to throw itself at my feet and lean on my legs so that if I moved, it'd fall over. Oh yea, it wasn't just a raccoon café but a raccoon AND dog café (although the signs said raccoon café).

It was a minimalist café, which I normally like, but seeing as there were animals kept in here, I feel like there should have been more things for them to play with than just this slide and shelves.
When this woman entered, the raccoons swarmed towards her! I think she was kept company by 4 of them at some point! Now imagine my envious stares    【・ヘ・】
There were 2-3 staff members in the room with all us guests; two guys and a girl. Sometimes they'd play with the raccoons (the dogs kept busy with the guests or each other) but a lot of the times, you'd see the girl making faces and grunt as if she was generally tired of being there. I didn't like that. And if they didn't behave, she'd slam a toy hammer into the floor. I didn't like that way of scaring them either.

Regarding the dogs.. I don't know much about raccoons so I don't know whether it's a good or bad thing to put them with dogs but it felt wrong for me. At some point when the staff members took one of the dogs out for a walk, the other dogs freaked out and started barking really loud. It was so loud and I don't know if it disturbed the raccoons.
I got so so happy when two raccoons finally came over and stayed with Celine and I for a couple of minutes! One kept walking over my lap and another hid behind my back.
One if them was extremely interested in Celine's phone sticker, got its claws on the ring on the back of her phone, and would not let go.
Meanwhile, the biggest dog in the café, a brown husky was busy trying to stand on my lap.
This one was really busy eating off the floor. It grabbed one piece of food at the time with it's little hands and put it into its mouth. It's nose would move up and down really fast as it chewed and it was adorable.
The raccoons really liked to chew in the slippers provided for the guests.
One was much bigger than the rest! I was amazed!
I chuckled a bit when I saw this sign.
This staff member sat down to brush a couple of the dogs but the raccoons were too curious and wouldn't leave him alone.
Our visit to the café today was definitely a culture shock. You so nowhere as close to as many people with their animals in Seoul as you do in Denmark. Having pets is a very very common thing for us and often times, we live with animals from a very young age. It's a bit hard to word this right but Celine and I felt like it was easy to tell that many Koreans don't grow up with pets. The relationship between some of the staff and the dogs/raccoons felt more like a master/random animal than a family bond.

After our visit to the café, we had lunch at a restaurant we ate at last time we went to Korea as well.
They have the most delicious ramen!
We'd forgotten exactly where to place was so we spent some times searching. On our way, we found this inspirational sign.
If you want be strong, learn to be alone.

It was time to return to school for our afternoon class. As we walked through campus, Celine noticed a couple of people standing still and taking pictures. She just finished her question when it hit os: the trees are turning red! It was a beautiful sight indeed.
I bit further up, I noticed this banner on one of the buildings. DAY6? That's one of my favorite bands! It seemed like they were having a concert here at school in October. I had to look this up once we got home.
We also walked past the strings with pictures from Yonkojeon (연고전) to see if the rest had been put up. They had!
We studied every single one as we made our way up the road. The happiness is radiating off these pictures. I can't help but feel so happy when I look at them.
At the end of the walk, we found what I believe to be the biggest spider I have seen in my life!!

As we were about to cross the road and ascend the hill leading up to our dorm, I heard a voice call out to us. It was a French and a Korean woman, who introduced their organization BibimPals - an international organization in Korea working to bring foreigners and Koreans together - and invited us to join their next trip to the Ginseng Festival in Geumsan (금산인삼축제) either this or next Saturday.
I was pretty distracted in the moment but after having given it some thought, I really want to go! I just have to discuss with Celine which date to go.

Our night was spent in a super lazy fashion. We were actually supposed to have gone to the extra ISF Korean class in the evening but I found myself surprisingly tired after class. tired and full from our lunch that neither Celine or I felt like going out for dinner. Late in the night, we figured that it would probably be a good idea to eat more than one meal that day and so we walked down to the convenience store, attached to our dorm, to find something to eat.

Korean convenience stores have some surprisingly good pre-made microwave food! I was pretty pleased with this!

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