Monday, August 17, 2009

Installment 4: To the Palace!

Installment 4: To the Palace!

Chandeukgung Palace
Jos woke up with a wicked hangover so I went to get her some gatorade and DAWN. (Dawn is a hangover drink with an ajusshi [middle-aged man?] on the can) Thanks KMP for sending me Sam unnie's phone number. I called her and although she is superbusy, we made plans to meet at 6pm yesterday. We tried to get to Insadong, but we ran out of time, b/c the English tour at the palace started at 3:30 p.m.

The entrance cost 3 dollars and of course, there were many foreigners. This palace was the most well kept of all the palaces here and we were able to see the Huwon (secret garden). Last year I missed the tour b/c of rain, so I was happy we were able to go see it together. Palaces are huge and beautiful. Did you know that when the emperor would go to the washroom to do a number two, they would take it and analyse it?! hard core! The tour was 1h 30mins long and after that we rushed to drop off our stuff before meeting Sam-sun unnie.

We called Robin, who was terribly hungover and although had the day off, couldn't manage to work on his script. He said to call him before 10pm.

University of Seoul
Our driver didn't know where exactly we wanted to go and I told him the station that Keonmi told me about...but he heard Seoul University and he thought it was the national university. I assured him we wanted to follow KMP's directions. The only university he mentioned was Kyunghee and even a bystander told us about it. So we asked the driver to drop us off at Kyunghee since we were under the impression that was the only one in the vicinity. We were a little worried, but we had no phone. During the ride, I got supertired...I fell asleep several times and kept "blinking"...I didn't even know I fell asleep, but Josie told me I did.

We got to Kyunghee University finally and could not find a phone. The first student we approached for help just looked at us and then waved us off when we tried to speak in English. I was told later on that although most students know some English, they are shy to use it. The next people we stopped looked like a couple. They were both good looking and very nice. We asked them where a "chonhwa baksu" was (phone box). They said there weren't any and then we said our friend was at Seoul University. We looked so worried and so the girl offered to lend us her phone. We were really grateful. The both of them were really kind and the guy would talk to us in broken English. I managed to get hold of Sam-unnie. The funny thing is she answers as Sam and then I tell her I'm Sam and then we get kind of confused at first hahahaha. Anyway, she asks us where we are and we tell her we are at Kyunghee and she says we're in the wrong place.

I asked the girl to write the university name in hangeul (korean) b/c the taxi drivers never understand our romanized writing. She wrote it down for us and we thanked her and her friend. We ran off to catch another cab and of course he was an older man who needed to pull out the magnifying glass to read where we were going. Did I mention majority of our transactions with taxi drivers have been like that? It's always an older gentleman who has to use a magnifying glass and my bad Korean to figure out where we are going. Oh wellz! He got us to University of Seoul! Woohoo!

We called Sam-unnie and it was really cold. I was wearing short sleeves b/c of my mosquito bites. They get irritated by long sleeves. Sam-unnie came with Seo-Ryeon-unnie who I met last year too. We all hugged each other and were happy to meet again. We went out for food. I think we ate something like spicy squid/octopus and then side dishes and then the waitress came with rice that she cooked in the same sauce.

We talked about coming to visit again and I gave them some gifts. I was really happy to see them even though I know they are extremely busy. Sam-unnie took us to her campus to look around and we had 100 won coffee which was really good.

To the Bus
Called our cousin Janelle and planned to meet for dessert since she ate and so did we. I told her we'd call when we were done. I was supposed to call Robin too, but I didn't want to take up more time when Sam-unnie had to go back so soon. We talked for a while on the campus and then Sam-unnie had to go, so we said our goodbyes. Seo-Ryeon-unnie took us on our first bus ride to the station. Holy moly Koreans have strong arms. Bus rides are bumpy and rough!! How do the elderly do it?!?! She also helped us by playing cards.

We went on a second bus and then headed to Nowon. Once there we called Robin. He told us he was waiting for our call and Gus was with him too. When we didn't call, they ate and then Robin went home. I felt sooooo bad!! I apologized and he said it was okay. He told me to call him after meeting with Janelle b/c we were far away from where he was. I aske him if he was sure, b/c it would be late, but he said to call anyway.

It's A Small World
We met up with Janelle and went to a bakery. We bought a small cake and they are awesome. They pack it up, give you candles, a plastic knife, matches, firecracker thingies and a birthday hat! We took pics and we sang a song and blew out the candles. Janelle and I pulled the firecrackers and WAHHHHH! Actually fire sparks, a really loud noise and streamers go flying hahahahhaaha. So much fun! When the bakery was closing we headed off to Beewon to call Robin and Janelle went home. We gave her a big hug. It was so nice to see her for so many days in Korea!

Taking the cab to Beewon, Jos fell asleep and even made snoring sounds, but I didn't want to wake her up b/c she was tired. She took a nap while I tried to contact Robin. He didn't pick up...he fell asleep. I read my manga and watched some tv.

Installment 4 to come next. Sorry for the delay but I gotta board the plane. We're leaving for singapore. Jos says hi.


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