Thursday, April 12, 2012

Deoksugung, Namdaemun and Mug Shots

Hey look, another post that's actually relatively close to the other one being posted! A shock!

A little over a month ago (oops) my new friend (my hairdresser and language exchange partner) and I headed to Deoksugung Palace and she took me to a famous Samgyetang restaurant.

Samgyetang is basically a small chicken with rice and ginseng and it is wonderfully delicious. We went to a restaurant that is in an old traditional house. Well actually, it's 5 old traditional houses put together into one giant restaurant that still manages to have long lines because it is so delicious.

We ate and talked for a while, then headed to Deoksugung. Or Deoksu Palace. We watched the Changing of the Guard, which she had never seen, even though she was born and raised in Seoul. I had seen it with Jen and Todd in December at Gyeongbokgung.

Here are the pictures. Please notice the Dunkin Donuts truck in the background, which takes away a bit of the authenticity.

We wandered around the palace a bit. She told me about some of the history and architecture.
These doors are apparently special...If you notice they are currently horizontal above the door frame. They are made of paper (?) and unfold and pull down in order to close.

Hae Jung told me about the wall around the palace. The path along the wall on the outside of the palace has a legend. The legend is if you walk along the path with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you will break up in the near future.

This is a statue of a famous musician.
Well, his face at least.

There was a building nearby that was built by the Japanese during their occupation. The style of architecture is unique to Korea, even though it was designed by the Japanese. My friend told me that a lot of Koreans hate the building because it is Japanese, but that they would love it if the Japanese government collapsed, because then it would be something that is only found in Korea. I thought that was kind of interesting.

We grabbed coffee, then I headed to work.

That weekend, Carrie and I went to Myeongdong which was horrendous. Why you ask? Because apparently the other 10 million people in Seoul also decided to go to Myeongdong.

No really, look.

We had intended to go shopping, forgetting that, yes, we had experienced Myeongdong on Saturdays and it's always like this. We got lunch (at the dumpling place I went to with Bree last year in April (!!!!) then went to one store and then escaped Myeongdong. We barely made it out alive is all I can say about that!

A few weeks ago, I made a new street friend.

Aka, I met her on the street near my apartment. Her name is Whitney. We've been going to coffee/lunch fairly often. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Namdaemun, which was another Myeongdong event. It's a big market not too far from Myeongdong. Maybe that's the problem.

Here are some pictures:

And here is a horrifying fox scarf that I think might actually be real.

Another day, Ben and I wandered over to the Seoul Museum of History, which I wrote about in this blog when I went last year, but here are some pictures of the model of Seoul, which is pretty cool.

Also, here's my mug shot:

Aka, the passport photo I had to have taken to get my new medical check for my visa. Thankfully, it was not a repeat of last years medical check. Well, actually it was, but I was prepared for the EKG more than I was the time before.

For those of you who don't know, I have officially signed on for another year. If I didn't tell you, I apologize that you're finding out this way. I forget who I've told and who I haven't. I renewed my visa a couple weeks ago. Yikes!! I had a mini-panic attack about it.

Not really, it just suddenly seemed like a long time. But I've been here for 1 year officially and it went SO fast, so I know this year will go quickly too! I have been making new friends and am excited about staying, even though I of course miss everyone at home!

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