Sub-title: People-watching has never been this fun.
Since we got home quite late from MTV Wow and we haven’t really re-charged from two days of gruelling trips, we decided to take it easy on Saturday. RizzaB. was able to ‘escape’ from her boss, so she dropped by the hostel to join us to wherever we’re going. Actually, it’s also her excuse to check out how cute Terry really is. So before we left the hostel, we made sure we cornered Terry for a much-anticipated photo op.
Apparently, he doesn’t photograph well. But trust us, he’s cuter than that in person.
Around lunchtime, we strolled around Jongno area, which is walking distance from our hostel (Rizza and I actually walked around these same streets at 3am on my very last day in Seoul). We first had some food tripping at the numerous food stalls on the streets. Udeng, sausages, prawn cakes, etc. certainly tasted better when eaten at the streets (with all the dust, smog, etc etc etc ).
Several people had already told us we have too much guts trying out street food in Seoul. But we’re still alive and our stomachs are still intact, so…
After which, we went to the real reason why we strolled around Jongno: to have a photo op with the statues of Rain and Jang Dong Gun at Giordano.
We arranged to have dinner with Helena and Weilin at MyeongDong. But since they won’t be there until dinnertime, we decided to spend the day lounging around Chonggaecheon man-made river, a favorite hang-out in downtown Seoul.
Traditional Korean pose
Traditional Voltes Team pose
Goofing around the man-made river:
You know what’s the best thing about being a stranger in a strange land? You can do running commentary on everything around you in your own language, and practically no one would know what you’re talking about. Since all 5 of us are known for ‘colorful’ running commentary, and the people around us are certainly very interesting to do commentary about, you bet we all had a grand time killing 5 hours doing nothing but people-watch.
We don’t really know what exactly is this man doing there. He stayed there the entire day, listening to the sound of falling water. Is he studying the level of sound the water emits at a certain time? Are we expecting his report on the internet, soon?
Aside from being a family place, Chonggaecheon is a famous hang-out for lovers. We saw an assortment of lovers, from very young, to young, to kinda old, to really old. Girl and boy, man and woman, man and man. By the time the sun sets, you can see lovers in various states of “closeness”. From the classic walking on the streets hand-in-hand, to the hiding from the bushes type (not that there’s adequate bushes to hide from, and it’s not like they’re really hiding…). But what I really like about Korean lovers is that, they’re really nice to look at. When you see them holding hands, they’re really holding hands. They don’t kiss in public, but they look and act really sweet. (Can you tell I’m green with envy? hehe) And you gotta give it to these Korean guys, they are never ashamed to be seen in public holding a large bouquet of flowers or a bunch of orange balloons. They even do major productions when proposing to their girlfriends. That thing we see in dramas where they wear couple outfits and take photos or videos of themselves? It’s true! The only thing I didn’t see is the classic piggyback ride.
Come dinner time, we walked (and I really mean we walked… I thought the walking would never end) towards MyeongDong to meet Weilin for dinner. Helena is still stuck at work, so she can only join us for after-dinner coffee.
We had dinner at this restaurant serving a specialty dish called Andong Steamed Chicken. Rizza had dinner there with Helena before and she was raving about it, so she wanted us to try it, too. The restaurant was full when we got there, and we had to queue just to get in. When the large platter carrying the chicken dish arrived and I instantly sampled it, I knew why. It was the best damn dish I’ve tasted in my entire stay in Korea. At first, you won’t feel the spiciness of the dish, but after several bites, the heat will creep on your ears and face and pretty soon, you’d need tissues to wipe the tears and sorrow, as Tita Susan would put it.
But the tears and sorrow are worth it. The food is kinda pricey, but we were so full and satisfied, so it’s all good.
After dinner, Rizza, Tita Susan and I decided to sit out and rest for a bit while the shopaholics (Tita Remy, RizzaB. and Weilin) went on to do some shopping. They came back with really happy smiles on their faces, with Tita Remy and Weilin clutching a pair of boots each which they got at a bargain price. Tita Remy found a soulmate. We then met up with Helena to have coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which was the biggest coffee shop I’ve ever been to. As in it’s as big as a department store. But the place is full. They’re not really addicted to designer coffee, aren’t they?
Helena was telling us that she got a call from Joseph as soon as we parted ways in Chuncheon, and she said the first words Joseph told her was, “noona, I wanna go to the Philippines”. She got curious why, and of course we had to tell her what exactly went on in Chuncheon. She was freaking out at our stories. She said she kinda knew her brother was a naughty boy when he was younger, but she never knew he would hit it off with four strange older women on a trip. But everytime we pitch in the idea of taking care of him if ever he goes to the Philippines, she would freak out some more and would even scream “stop! time out!” as if she can’t stand it anymore. We had a good laugh trading stories about the trip. Too bad it’s getting late and Helena needs some rest, so we didn’t have much time to chat some more. I think, if ever Weilin, RizzaB. and Helena (and our other international friends) would all be in the Philippines at the same time, for whatever reason, they’d fit in perfectly with the Voltes Team. Is it time to organize new chapters, chinggus?
(Additional photos courtesy of Rizza)