Gyeongbokgung Palace, Haesindang Park and Hwanseongul Cave!

Ola!!!

So I am writing this on Lunar New Year Feb 10th! and have less than 2 weeks left in South Korea! So I am trying to squeeze in as much Korean as possible in my last couple of weeks.

Last weekend I went to the infamour Penis Park. But first, as I like to do things in chronological order, the weekend before! When I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace with Neci (a coworker). It was absolutely freezing, and we actually showed up too late to walk around within the Palace, but I have now seen quite a few Palaces, and was fine with taking a few pictures in front of it and heading off to supper.

The Palace:

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And it was freezing so then we headed to Itaewon to have dinner. We went to this little Thai place which I’ve been to once before with Syd, Charlie and Alex. Its really nice. And we shared two plates.

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Oh, I almost forgot, i also brought Neci to High Street Market, and on our way we passed by this Cookie place which has just opened up. Its called Bens Cookies! the Cookies are like 3$ a pop, but are huge and fresh out of the oven. You buy them and go th eplace is just big enough for the oven and the display window. They are absolutely delish!!!! We had a milk and praline one, which we split  before supper. And then we went back after supper to get our own, and i had a triple chocolate one! I wrote to Derek afterwards and apologized for cheating on him they were that good. Since then, I stopped by again on my way back from getting my cambodian visa and had a double chocolate one. It instantly made me feel like i was having the best day ever. I plan on trying each type before I leave. And i only have like 12 days left, so I gotta get a move on! hehe

And yes, now for the Penis Park! Jesus and I took a 4 hour bus ride to Samcheok. The bus actually made a stop at Donghae adn we got off, not sure if we were at our destination or not, to realize we weren’t and have to chase after the bus to keep it from leaving us 1 half hour from our actual destination. We got to Samcheok with just enough time to grab a decent motel right by the bus stop and catch the last 50 min bus ride to the Park. It was actually warmer in Samcheok than it was in Seoul, and Samcheok and the Penis Park are right along the ocean, so the air was fresh and beuatiful. We had a blast walking around the park, commenting on the statues and taking pictures. We also got to wander through the Folk Fishing Museum which explains the story of how th ePenis Park originated.

Story goes like this: a couple were about to be wed (both virgins obviously seeing as they werent married yet) but the bride drowned before they were married and therefore died without ever having seen a penis. Angry that she had never seen a penis before dieing, the waters became cursed and no one could catch fish. However, one day a man took a pee in the water, and finally having seen her first penis, the dead bride was appeased, and from that day forward there were abundant fish. Therefore, they have erected a park with a bunch of fish statues to please the dead bride and make sure there are fish in the village.

Needless to say, it makes for a very interesting park. I stopped at the souvenir shop on the way back and have a few funny gifts to bring home 🙂 And then we got directions on how to get to the bus stop where the bus was supposed to come pick us up. Now this is February, in a small, and from the looks of it, pretty poor fishing village. We waited around an hour, at a small bus stop in the cold, and as it got dark we prayed that the bus was actually going to pick us up. If not we would be knocking on a door hoping ot get a taxi home. Thankfully teh bus did show up, and the bus ride back was much faster and much more interesting as this bus driver was on a mission. It was one of the fastest buses I’ve been on in Korea, and the roads winded along the ocean.

When we got back home we were told to check out this Korean BBQ place around the corner from the motel, which turned out to be amazing. It was a small place, with only about 4 tables that seat 6 ppl, (no chairs tho, cuz this is Korea, and we sit on the floor). And it was filled with a bunch of locals. We got 3 servings of meat (apparently that was the minimum you could order) and a WHOLE bunch of sides. Your reg green onion salad, kimchi, salad and dressing, raw octopus salas, raw mussel salad, seaweed. I wish I had of taken a picture. I didnt touch teh raw mussels mind you seeing as the last two times I have had mussels I have been extremely sick. So Jesus had to eat them all. Then we wandered around looking for a place to have a drink, most things were closed unfortunately. But then we noticed a bar on the 2nd floor of a building. Went up, we were gonna head out after our first drink as it was only us and a table of 4 Korean men and the woman bar manager, but as we were leaving we fell in conversation with the locals, and from there, one beer turned into a whole bunch of beers and Sojus. And they kept feeding me strawberries and oranges. It was really a great time. Jesus and I both said as we were leaving that that is the kind of experience that you want when you visit a new area. In Seoul, it is a big city like any other, where people are busy working, shopping and running around from place to place ignoring each other. But Samcheok was much more homey, and it was probably the best of most “Korean” experience I’ve had here.

There are also two caves that you can visit in Samcheok, and seeing as we had travelled 4 hours to get there, we figured we might as well get in as much as possible. So we got up in the morning and headed to Hwanseongul Cave. Pretty cool. It was huge! But we both noticed that it may have been nice had it not been filled with metal staircasaes and bridges. I’m pretty sure people would be able to visit it on foot. It was just like at Seoraksan, you go hiking, expecting to be hiking in nature, and they cover most of the trails with metal staircases, I would assume to make it more accessible to a larger number of people by making the terrain easier to tackle. But it would be so much cooler if things like that, the trail and the cave were left alone in thier original state. But nonetheless, it was awesome. The whol weekend was fun.

And I spent my weekday mornings this week running back and forth to Cambodia embassy and Laos embassy to get my visas.

And on Friday, our owner bought us all gifts for Lunar New Year; a 100$ gift certificate fo reht Shinsegae department store and a permium wine collection set of 2, which is extremely nice of him (seeing as friends of ours who also work at a different Chungdahm branch recieved socks). So I went to Emart yesterday and got any last minuet things i need for travelling, liek a travel towel, water bottle, mini flashlight, toothbrush case, etc etc. I treated myself to a piece of Pizza from Emart which I ahve been wanting to try because everyone buys them. So I was curious to see if it was any good. And I was pleasantly impressed. Then I came home to go through all my stuff and figure out what I am sending home and what I am bringing with me. So at one point I was sitting in the middle of a heap of clothes. I made myself a home made soup (tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers, garlic, spinach, yam, green beans) and had two glasses of my gift wine. I also had a chocolate covered cinnabon for desert which I picked up form Shinsegae. 🙂

And i woke up this morning and did some cardio with my skipping rope and then went for lunch with Jun, a Korean coworker, who helped me a lot when I first got here, with the language and buying things off the interent. Unfortunately, we were going to go for Korean BBQ, but everything and I mean everything (that is not an American chain) was closed! We drove around here, Migeum and Ori and eventually had to settle for a cafe. So I had a chicken salad, with a cheesecake (which I have been craving for the past 2 wks).

And then he dropped me back off at home, and I have simply been putzing around. Packed one box to send home. Downloaded some music for my Ipod and will prolly go outside for a quick jog before I head into Suwon with a few others to hopefully have Indian food for supper. 🙂

Next weekend is Alex’s pre bday and going away party (Alex is the girl from England who I will be travelling with). And on the Sunday Neci and I are supposed to do a girls day, and get manis/pedis etc and go for supper probably. If I can I will write one last post before I leave. I am sending my computer home. But will def keep everyone updated while I am out and about 🙂

I miss you guys soo much, but am SOOO excited to travel again. As i typed that a huge smile spread across my face. Love you all!!! Big Hugs!!! xoxox

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