Today is a sort of unofficial holiday in Korea, called 빼빼로 데이(Pepero Day). Pepero is a very popular snack, which outside of Korea goes by the name of "Pocky" - something people into Japanese culture may recognize. Because 11/11 looks like four sticks of pepero, this day has become similar to Valentine's day, in that people buy sweets for their sweetie. At every convenience store around here there are large displays of fancy boxes of pepero, many decorated in pink with hearts just like a valentine's gift.
Today I set out with the intention of exploring Daehangno, a famous street where many scenes in Korean movies and dramas take place. So I walked to Sinchon station, took the subway to Dongdaemun Stadium, switched to the blue line and got off at Hyehwa station, which is located on Daehangno. I looked around for a while, but there really wasn't anything to do, so I decided to walk towards Changgyeong palace.
Right before I got to the palace, I noticed a different large building, the Seoul National Science Museum. Of course I wanted to check that out, so I crossed the street and decided to buy a ticket. It was only 1000 won, quite reasonable for a museum, but for just 500 more I could get admission to the Palace as well, through the side gate next to the museum, so of course I got that. The museum was quite interesting. Most of it was obviously oriented towards kids, but since most things didn't have explanations in English, that made the Korean descriptions easier to read. My favourite part was of course the space exhibit. It had a timeline of important milestones, which was very interesting to see from a third-party perspective; since Korea wasn't in the space race it had no achievements to glorify, and the facts were presented as is. Most places in America would make anything achieved on the American side seem wonderful, while ignoring or diminishing what the Soviets did. In any case, a new perspective is always refreshing.
After exploring the museum I went into the palace. I am very glad I waited to go there, the area is especially beautiful with the fall colors. Most of it was paths through trees and a small lake, with all of the ancient palace building elegantly inbetween. I didn't stay very long in the palace, but I did enjoy walking through. There was some sort of ceremony going on, but I left before I could figure out exactly what it was.
I got on the bus intending to return to campus, but the traffic was so bad that the driver opened the door in the middle of the road and suggested people should take the subway instead. I took his advice and headed to Angak station. I didn't really feel like going anywhere special, so I took the subway back towards Sinchon, but ended up getting off at Ewha Univ. Station instead, the stop before Sinchon. Ewha University is just across the road from Yonsei, so I thought I would try going that way, since I hadn't yet. The road towards campus was filled with shops and cafés, including a Caribou Coffee where I stopped and had an iced tea. It was really nice, I sat by the fireplace inside and felt at home - from the inside it looks just like any caribou in the states.
I then attempted to get to the Ewha back gate, from which I could get back to my dorm. The campus of Ewha is very confusing however, and it took me a lot longer than I thought. It was very peaceful there though, I hardly felt like I was in the middle of a gigantic city.( Pictures!!Collapse )