Saturday, September 30, 2017

Day 39: Fireworks festival!

Our day was spent chilling in the dorm but I didn't feel bad about it since we went to the Hanhwa Seoul International Fireworks Festival (한화와 함께하는 서울세계불꽃축제) at Yeouido in the evening!

I'd read that a lot of people would be attending the event. This was 100% correct.
Once we hit the transfer station, there were a lot more people than usual and, once the subway came, it was so full that we had to wait for the next.

At Yeouinaru station where we got off, there were many many many many many people! They were all being guided out by subway personnel with what I prefer to think of as short light sabers. You can see the man to the right holding one.

For a moment we escaped the mass since Celine had to adjust her false eyelashes (we'd dressed up all fancy tonight) but once we got up the stairs, we got stuck in one of the largest crowds I've been in. There were so many of us that the air quickly grew humid and I saw peoples' hair turning wet from it. We were almost standing still since few people could pass through the subway gates at the time and as we were making out way out, a group of young Korean boys tried to bring up a conversation in English with us. That was cute.

I have to say that the big crowd was handled well. There were loads of police both inside and outside the station and outside they had made a human wall to lead people in the right direction. And they all kept repeating over and over to the people coming through that we should watch out for the stairs that were seriously hard to see due to the massive amount of people.

There. Were. People. EVERYWHERE. People were moving in all directions and it took us a little while to find a place we could stand still and watch the fireworks. The festival had been going on since 13.00 or so and further down, near the park area, people had put up tents and laid out blankets to sit on. Those people had probably been there all day to secure good spots.
Although we couldn't see THAT much, what we saw was really amazing. Somehow the sounds of the explosions sounded louder than I remember them to during New Year's Eve in Denmark.
Looooud music and enthusiastic multi-coloured strobe lights coming from the scene areas could be spotted in the distance.
Eager to get a better view, we walked down towards the park area and away from the street.
We still had trees blocking and couldn't see the ground-based fireworks but the big ones were much easier to spot now. I saw fireworks I have never seen before. Rainbow, golden and silver glitter, heart shaped fireworks. Everything!
I'd pointed out the giant while 'balloons' in the trees not long before a voice announced something over the speakers and THEY ALL STARTED GLOWING.
So prettyyyyy! After I took these pictures, they started changing colours ever so slightly to red, pink, yellow, green, etc.
We enjoyed the rest of the show and luckily didn't have to spend too long getting back down to the subway.
If I get the chance again at a later point in time, I want to go here again for the entire festival and also participate in some of the day activities.

When we got back to Sinchon, we felt hungry and stopped by Burger King.
Before that, Celine had bought some apples and carrots because we feel like we don't eat enough green here. There we were, looking all fancy, eating Burger King with Celine's carrots and apples.
While Celine went to the bathroom, I discovered a secret door!
And once she came back, we had a little laugh watching the two girls in the building on the other side. One of them was going all out and it was great to watch her dancing around happily.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 38: Sinchon Flower Market

My morning started out a bit disappointing.
When I woke up, I remembered that I should look up the dates for DAY6's concert. I found out that they were playing here for 3 consecutive days - the first day being today - but it was completely sold out ㅠㅠ
There was something bittersweet about knowing how close I'd be to them but at the same time unable to hear them play <//3

The rest of the day was better, though.

After class, Celine and I walked down to Sinchon. A couple of days ago I'd noticed flyers being put up about a flower market starting today and Celine also wanted to go to Hongdae to buy underwear.

On our way there, we walked past a couple of parked cars. Celine pointed out how she'd only now noticed that Korean license plates features a syllable between the numbers.
We proceeded to read the next 4 cars' syllables out loud and got 러 나 조 수 (reo na jo su), which, if said fast, sounds like you saw 'raw nachos' in Danish. We agreed that this must have been the cars' way to tell us that we should eat nachos soon.
The last car, a red mini, had 'please do not tease or annoy the mini' written below its licence plate.
I wish I had gotten a picture of it!

The flower market, ladies and gentlemen!

There were several stands with different flowers and it looked like you could put together your own bouquet by picking out whichever you liked.
I saw a group of 3 guys around our age, 2 of which were talking about and pointing to one of the flower stands. One was eagerly trying to persuade the other to walk over to look at flower and the second one really didn't seem to want to. They third guy was laughing at both of them but they ended up dragging the second guy over to a stand and all ended up studying the flowers in awe.
I like how Korean guys are so in touch with their feminine side. It really is a unique thing compared to America and Europe.
And other stands were purely for aesthetics~
Further down the street, closer to the subway station, were smaller stands selling little plants, decor, and other flower and plant related things.
As Celine walked off to look at one of the stands, a Korean guy named 순리 (Sulli) greeted me and asked if I spoke Korean. He told me he was taking some time off from his studies to practice English and that he'd like foreign friends to practice with. We had a little talk before I pulled Celine over and we exchanged Kakaotalks. Neat guy.
Also perfume!
This is Korea so of course there were several photo points. Celine and I stopped for just one.
Look at this couple! We were watching and going 'aww' at them. As I took this picture, Celine was by my side rushing me to get a snap of them kissing.
Our picture! I don't know why the girl insisted on taking it from that downwards angle.
There was also a lounge area and a guy close to it, holding a flower frame that you and your friends could take pictures with.

We moved on to Hongdae to get Celine her underwear and afterwards had to surrender to our cravings when we passed a crepe stand on our way back to the subway. We thought we were getting half a waffle but nope! We got a whole!
Now that I look at this picture again, I really want one more!

They were still setting up the market when we'd first passed by so once we returned to Sinchon, we spent some time looking at the sections that we hadn't seen earlier today.
It felt magical to walk on all these pink and red flower petals. It reminded me so much of the Romance Festival in my Sims 4 game.
There was flower inspired artwork as well.
We spent more time in Hongdae and at the flower market than planned and had little time before Korean class.
There was a big line of girls waiting outside the concert hall even though it wasn't before 20.00 tonight. That's dedication.
Oh and it turns out that the cat we've seen here has an actual home on campus!

In the evening, while Celine was working out, Junhaeng suggested we go out for a beer to cheer me up since I couldn't go to the concert.
We went somewhere that had fridges filled with beer from which you could just grab whatever you liked and then bring the bottles to the desk and pay once you leave.
I was super excited to find that they had Danish beer!
Koreans snack when drinking and when Junhaeng told me to choose what to eat on the side, I chose nachos to fulfill the wishes of the cars we passed earlier today ㅋㅋㅋ

Today our break started because of the upcoming 추석연휴 (Chuseok holidays)!
We'll be out of school until October 10th ^^

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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