Monday, May 4, 2015

4 May 15 – Day 4 (Edae, Hongdae, Yeouido Park, Lotte Mart)

We then went out about 8+am to walk around the Myeongdong area before taking the subway to Ewha Womans University station to explore Edae area. Reached the area about 10:30am and SWT had to use the toilet before we started walking around. Asked if she was ok and she said the sugar coated cereal provided by K-pop II caused her to run again. Told her perhaps we should try to look for plain cereal at the Lotte Mart over at Seoul station at the end of the day since we would passby it. As per what we read from the TA posts, the shopping area of Edae was in front of the big Ewha Womans University compound and we just walked around the area without any maps. Popped into any shops we fancied and just browsed. Passed by The Face Shop and suggested to SWT that she should try to check out the price of the foot peeling masks that she was tasked to buy by her family.

The sales assistant said a package of five boxes cost W35,000 (if I remembered correctly) and we asked how many pieces there are in a box and she told us ten. Both SWT and I thought what a bargain and decided that SWT should get them back in Myeongdong area later the evening so she would not have to carry them around for the entire day. Then we popped into Olive Young and I saw the Berrisom My Lip Tint Pack Lip Tattoo on offer and contemplated if I should get one more of another colour but in the end, I didn’t. Saw a lot of shops in Myeongdong selling aloe vera gel, cucumber gel and bamboo gel yesterday due to the coming summer and a thought struck me that I could get those for Min, Lyn and myself. Especially Min since she will be going to Bangkok next month and Lyn because she is always training for her jumps under the hot sun. Passed by Missha and saw the price tag of W2,000 amongst the tubs of aloe vera gel so checked with the sales assistant and was told each tub cost W2,000. I didn’t want to carry the heavy tubs behind my back for the rest of the day so thought will get them back in Myeongdong. We had nothing much to buy nor were there anything that really interest us much in the area because we were not into shopping. The types of clothing available were not our style nor were we those who accessorise ourselves during workdays. So after walking around for about an hour, we took the subway over to Hongdae area.

Walked along a pedestrian-friendly walkway to browse some shops and we saw a tourist information booth, so popped inside to get a map. The helpful staff pointed to us the direction of the more popular shopping street and we headed that way. Along the way popped into a shop selling mobile phone covers to check the price of the one that I was eyeing on and turned out to be more expensive than that in Myeongdong. Hongdae seemed to be rather similar to Edae with shops selling similar things, however, there seemed to be a lot more food stalls around selling interesting snacks with long queues made up of mostly students. While walking around, I think I saw Abung, which sells ice cream bungeoppang and Hong Cup, which sells dakgangjeong. Also passed by stalls selling fried whole squid and I was really tempted to get one but in the end did not because I was afraid that I could not finish.

Soon it was close to lunchtime and SWT reminded me to look for lunch, even though she was still unable to eat. We went into this Korean dessert café called Sulbing, found a table and sat down. Since I was the only one eating, so took my wallet and went to see the menu over at the counter. Ordered the popular items of Injeolmi Toasts and Injeolmi Snowflake Sherbet, was given the “electronic caller” thingy and returned to the table to wait. It was 11+am so there were not many people in the shop yet. Noticed that people actually wrote on the back of their receipts and the shop strung them up to place over the windows as part of the shop decorations. Very creative idea. Soon the “electronic caller” thingy vibrated and I went to collect the items. My first thought when I saw the items was that I should have just ordered one item instead. Then again, I really wanted to try both and if I missed this chance, not sure when I will be able to eat again.

Besides the toast and sherbet, there was another small cup of liquid on the tray. Guessed it was condense milk of sort to pour over the sherbet. The toasts were thick toasts covered with generous amount of peanut powder, topped with some almond flakes and cut nicely into bite-size pieces. The sherbet looked like a mountain because it was completed covered in peanut powder and topped with almond flakes. Started with the toasts and the middle part was kind of sticky. After the first bite then I realized that there were melted rice cakes in between the toasts. Then went on to pour the condense milk over the sherbet and started on it. It was really soft and sweet with chewy mini tteok as part of the topping. Took a closer look at the sherbet and wondered how it was done because it definitely did not look like shaved ice as it was really white and soft.

People started to stroll into the shop and a pair of young ladies, sat at the table close to mine, ordered one sherbet to share. Another pair of young girls, sat at another table close to mine, also ordered one sherbet to share. Guessed they must be thinking “How is this woman going to finish all those food by herself?” True enough, I only managed half the toasts and the outer layer of the sherbet because I was really full from eating all those tteok. Returned the tray to the collection point and asked SWT if she needs to use the toilet before we leave. She went while I waited at the table.

We left Hongdae area around 1+pm and took the subway to the National Assembly station to look for this Yunjung-ro path that was behind the National Assembly Building which was said to be one of the popular destinations for cherry blossoms. Came out of the station and was greeted by a strange sight. A tree on the left had green leaves while the other tree on the right had red leaves. Took a photo of them and then crossed the road in search of the National Assembly Building. We did not see any signs that say National Assembly Building so we had to resort to asking the two policemen on patrol. Unfortunately, they could not answer us either. Walked along the road, admired some nice flowers along the way and we bumped into those two policemen again. This time round, we asked if we could go into the park-like compound which was guarded by another two policemen and they said yes.

We saw book stations inside the park where people can just take a book to read and return to the station later. Interesting concept and we were thinking how we this idea might flop back home. Walked further in and we came across a nice fountain beside a clock structure. We could tell that spring is almost over because most of the spring flowers have withered. How sad. Continued to walk and came across two stone structures and we were guessing that they indicate the area to be the National Assembly compound. Followed some steps up a slope and saw some trees with ground covered in pink. Tried to take a closer look at the remaining flowers that were higher up on one of the trees and wondered if they were cherry blossoms. Both SWT and I had never seen a real cherry blossom flower before and one of the aims of this trip was to see one. Despite not knowing what we saw, we still went on to take photos of them as well as the other remaining pretty flowers around the area.

While walking under one of those trees, a flower fell and hit me on the arm before hitting the ground and got most of its petals falling off in all directions. Looked up again and saw a small bunch of flowers on the lower branch so was able to take a better photo of them. Picked up a whole flower from the ground and it felt so delicate in my hand. Walked down the slope and continued around the compound to take more photos. Finally we were back to where we started and we walked back to the National Assembly station to use another exit to get to the Yeouido Park. We happened to enter the park where a food kiosk was and there were many people resting there, eating food and bicycles parked around them. We looked at the park map and were a bit shocked to see how big the park was. The park was divided into different sections such as the Traditional Korean Forest, the Grassy Field, Cultural Event Plaza and the Ecological Forest. As we were pretty tired from all the walking done earlier, so decided to just cover the Traditional Korean Forest, which was a smaller area of the park. I was really tempted to rent a bicycle to cycle around the park but I was not very good in it yet, plus I was carrying a heavy bag and my lower back was not at its best so had to forgo the idea.

The pavement of the park was divided into two by small bushes, one side for park-users to walk, the other for park-users to cycle, skate or scoot. We stayed in the park for about 50 minutes or so before heading off to the station to go to Lotte Mart. Hunted around the mart for plain cereal but they only came in big boxes, in the end, SWT went for the brown rice granola and said she could add those to her yogurt as breakfast. Before we made payment, it hit me to check the prices of the snacks that I was eyeing on back at Lotte supermarket and turned out they were much cheaper over in the mart. So I told SWT that I would settle my purchases in the mart since we were already there. After I had taken what I wanted, I went on to take a stick of dak bulgogi to settle as my dinner since I was not very hungry. Made payment and then saw the section with different counters for the different brands of facial products and told SWT perhaps she could try to check the price of the foot peeling masks and see if there are better offers.

The package that The Face Shop counter had was not in boxes but in bundle of five pieces and cost the same as what we asked in the morning. Clarified with the sales assistant and realized that those we saw in the morning were actually one pair per box so equivalent to five pairs or ten pieces per package. Anyway, this Face Shop counter was having a promotion such that for every bundle of five pairs of foot peeling masks, they would throw in a few pieces of face masks. Asked if this promotion was applicable to other branches and the sales assistant said no. So SWT went ahead to buy the foot peeling masks from this counter while I went to browse the other brands. I happened to walk over to this brand called the Love, Health & Beauty and again saw the Berrisom My Lip Tint Pack Lip Tattoo on offer. The sales assistant then introduced me to another brand that was having a one-for-one offer, which was a better deal. So I bought that brand of lip tint as gift for two of my friends. Left Lotte Mart and headed straight back to K-pop II to rest for the day. Showered, packed a little, did my recording, did some stretching to relieve my lower back and then firmed up the programs for the next day with SWT. 

Thoughts: Heard a lot about Edae and Hongdae, how these places are very popular with the local students and how there are a lot of local street food / snacks and how vibrant the nightlife is in Hongdae. The two places were indeed very popular with the local students and there were indeed many local street food / snacks. Unfortunately, the two places did not interest me very much other than the street food / snacks which unfortunately, I did not get to try a lot other than the Injeolmi Toasts and Injeolmi Snowflake Sherbet. Was happy to see the last of the cherry blossom (at least I think it was) even though most of the (spring) flowers had withered. Not able to cycle around Yeouido Park and along Hangang River was something that I regretted. I do hope I get a chance again in the future. This was my first time visiting Lotte Mart and it was huge. Hope to be able to visit the mart again as well as the premium outlet next time.

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