Farewell To The Dontgogay

As many of you know, I’ve become more Asian than any of my legit Asian friends back home, as I have signed on for a third year of life on the peninsula. I know, I know I’m crazy, but I really enjoy this whack continent that has become my second home! Who’d have thought!

One of my conditions for staying was that I had to move out of the no-man’s-land Danggogae, and into a lively, poppin place with more excitement and people walking around than just the barreling ajummas and drunk ajussis. In June I had to sign away my studio in North Korea and begin my hunt for an apartment elsewhere. I was a little nervous at first because I knew I’d be broke as a joke and that I wasn’t going to find an apartment as nice as the one I had been living in.

In Korea, when you rent an apartment you will typically go through a realtor and then have to pay them a realtor fee if they find you something, AND put down something called key money, which is essentially like a deposit, and when you move out you get that money back. Most apartments require anywhere between 5-10 million won in key money (roughly $5,000-$10,000). Some people’s schools will pay this amount, or some people just have a crazy amount of money in savings, neither of which I had! So, I was working with a measly 2 million won, plus the 500,000won/month that I will get each month for housing allowance. It didn’t help that the area I wanted to live in is super expensive.

Luckily I had Jee to help me apartment bargain hunt, and we found a a great little 1 bedroom apartment in the Sungshin Women’s University neighborhood just two subway stops north of Hyehwa, where I originally wanted to live. I’m just between two great subway lines, which now brings my commute to anywhere down to a huge fraction of the time it used to be.

Not to mention, I’m way more centrally located, my friend Matt is a 5 minute walk away, there are TONS of amazing shops and cafes, AND there are YOUNG HUMAN BEINGS walking around everywhere!!!! HELLZ NAE. When I walk to the subway in the morning, it’s about a 10 minute stroll along the river, which is a nice little cherry on top that I’m convinced has made me more wide eyed and bushy tailed at work. Ka-ching!

With that said, last weekend with Jee’s help, I packed up the bed of a Bongo truck with furniture, boxes and about 20 backpacks, threw the last of my unorganized trash in a pile for my crazy maintenance man to sift through, and kissed apartment 603 at Bernard Vil a hearty SEE YA NEVER AGAIN!

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I’ll post pictures of my new abode as soon as it doesn’t look like a college dorm.  In the mean time, I have a lot of Pinteresting and organizing and interior decorating to do, so you’ll get to see once it’s pretty.

For now, know I’m happy and moved and settled, and am now off to go explore some more of my new hood! YAYAYUYUH!

Seoul Dance Project: Dream.Flashmob.Success!!

When I first got to Korea I signed up to receive Meetups about dance classes and such around Seoul, but until about 2.5 months ago nothing ever quite tickled my fancy, aside from a Tango class that Joshua and I were supposed to go to until monsoon season interfered with his umbrella and our general morale, and we called that a no-go.

I had been feeling in a little bit of a funk and needed a way out of it, and then I got the Meetup event for Jazz classes with the possibility of participating in a flashmob. HELLO SWEET BABY MOSES count me in! The class ran for 6 weeks, every Saturday for 3 hours at a dance studio near Hansung University.  Twas perfect and super close to me! Nothing is EVER close to me!

The class was taught by a really sweet lady named Cheryl Obal, who has lived in many different countries, including Italy and India, and everywhere she goes she spreads her love of dance through dance classes.  Turns out she teaches charity classes every Saturday in Gangnam as well, with all proceeds going to the volunteer group Justice for North Korea to rescue North Korean refugees. She put those on hold for these weeks, as this particular class was for Seoul Dance Project, which is an effort by the city of Seoul to spread happiness to the people of the city through dance. Several classes are held around the city, and this was the only one specific to foreigners or Koreans who like to speak English. The class had people from America, Malaysia, Korea, and Uzbekistan to name a few, and was open to all levels, as long as you wanted to dance dance dance!

During the 6 weeks we learned two dances: 1 “Theme Dance” which is specific to the Seoul Dance Project, as it is the number to be performed with alllllll the other groups around Seoul in several giant flashmobs, and “Raise Your Glass” choreographed by Cheryl to be performed whenever and wherever there is an event to perform it.

Since Cheryl volunteers with Justice for North Korea, we performed at one of their awareness street campaigns on July 27th in an effort to draw attention to their cause.  Fun facts: July 27th also happened to be the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice Agreement signed by North and South Korea after the Korean War, AND National Dance Day in America! To top it off, Cheryl also donated the money she raised from her classes, totaling around $1,200.00, which is enough to rescue 1 North Korean refugee. Amazing I say!

We performed “Raise Your Glass” twice in Insadong, and I must say, it felt damn good to perform again! I also had the biggest cheer squad in my corner which pumped me up even more!  Jee, Josh, Katie, Matt, Tim, Veny, Andria and Steven all came to watch me NOT FALL, therefore Jee owes me 500won, and Joshy and Jee got pulled up to boogey down with me at the end.  Teehee suckas!

You can see in this video that I messed up a couple times, which pissed me off considering I nailed it in class, BUT, nonetheless it was soooo much fun and felt so awesome to get out and dance again (without falling…..).  I even accomplished my cherry-on-top wish of scaring Koreans with public dancing by ripping a girl’s hand right out of her boyfriend’s and forcing her to dance with me. She frightfully came, nervous laughed and then ran away. Ch-ch-check it OUT!

I will definitely be frequenting Cheryl’s donation classes going forward! Dancing and raising money for a wonderful cause is the perfect combo of feel good 🙂

Freaky Friday: The Day I Broke Into The Abandoned Gonjiam Insane Asylum

Since school is out for summer, as English teachers last week and this week consist of  teaching a 3 hour a day English camp.  That means we get off work at 12:40pm everyday! Not too shabby!

At around noon on Friday, Jee texted me, Josh and Tim asking if we had any plans for the rest of the day. Our plans basically consisted of errands and laundry.  That is until Joshy remembered reading about an abandoned insane asylum and threw out the crazy idea of breaking into it. Of course we were on board….except for Tim, who gets a bad case of the willies when anything scary is involved. Scaredy cat.

From what I’ve read briefly on the World Wide Web, the history of this particular asylum is hazy. It officially shut its doors in 1996 after a slew of mysterious patient deaths, and the head doctor fled to the states. From the looks of it, they ran in a hurry because the place is in complete disarray with overturned chairs, jackets dangling from closets, patient files scattered all over desks, and towels still hanging in the public shower area. The abandoned building gets about 1,000 bold and daring adventure seekers per year, and made it onto CNN’s list of the freakiest places on the planet!

Our Friday was about to get a whole different kind of CRAY!

Jee had Mama Kwon’s car for the weekend, so she fetched Josh and I from Hyehwa, and then we sat in traffic for about an hour before even getting out of the center of Seoul. What was supposed to be about a 30 minute drive to Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, took about 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Am I back in LA??

The only real directions we had as to the location of the Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital were a pair of coordinates that Joshua kept telling us to plug into Google Maps: (37.362433, 127.33474). Well, those didn’t help us much, but thanks to our resourceful Korean, after arriving in Gonjiam, we crossed a bridge and continued up a narrow street which felt creepier and eerier as we got closer. Then, low and behold, there was the barbed wire enshrined gate and a massive DO NOT TRESPASS because CCTV has its eyes on you, sign. And voila! We had arrived!

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After jumping out of the car, not forgetting Josh’s mom backpack fully equipped with the necessities:  whisky, candle, bloody props and tarot cards, we came face to face with our first creepy sight of the afternoon. Looks like somebody was sent running for their life and poor Havaianas got left behind.

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And after rounding the corner of the building just past the barbed wire fence, we stumbled upon a shed filled with mannequin heads and busts.

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Just a wee bit spooked by now, we found the trail that would lead us into the unknown. Note to future trespassers: Wear runners because your feet will get MUDDY. Don’t dress in the name of fashion with studded sandals like I did.

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After trekking through spider webs and muddy forest, we reached the road that leads up to the building.

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When we finally got to the building, we were greeted by broken glass everywhere, cigarette butts, broken windows, swampy moldy stairs and the ever present predicament of how on earth we were going to break in!

To the right of the main staircase, there’s a wide green ladder perched to one of the top windows.  This ladder is secured in place by nothing but what appeared to be a heavy duty airplane seat belt, or belt used to buckle crazy people to their beds.  When Josh took the lead to try and climb in, he got a little freaked and thought it was going to fall or break, or that we’d contract some disease from the rust and dripping something coming down from the window.

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This ended up being the way we broke in, but for now we decided to put a hold on that way of entry and scope out the rest of the building for an easier way in. We found a window on the lower left side that we climbed through.  We scoured past moldy chairs and glass to go up a flight of stairs, only to find that it was shut tight.

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Not ready to give up, we walked to the far end of the building and found some rusty bars and old bed springs blocking what we thought was maybe the entrance to a dining hall.  We shimmied on in there, tiptoed over a path of junk on the muddy floor, and found tons of graffitied walls, an old table and overturned chairs and trash.  Unfortunately this was as far as we could go from this entryway since everything was boarded up tight. LET US IN!!!!!

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Two fails behind us, we went back to old faithful Mr. Wobbly Ladder. Josh went first to forge a path for his ladies. After getting caught in the seat belt fastening, making lots of strange man-grunts and moans, he had successfully moved the tetanus filled desks, chairs and cabinets that were barricading the door shut. I had a moment of panic while climbing through the window. With my history of falling in Korea, I saw my life crashing down 30 feet below me. But alas, I set a new record and successfully made it through, only to have a chair fall in front of the door forcing me to flex my muscles and move it myself in order to get into the asylum halls.

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AND WE WERE IN!!!! Once inside, saying it was creepy is an understatement. The halls were so swampy and wet and reeked of the stench of mold, cigarette and hospital having a baby together. The Dr’s office was cluttered with piles of old patient records, overturned cabinets and jackets on the floor, and the bathrooms still had towels and buckets and blankets scattered everywhere. We even found a letter on the floor of one of the bathroom stalls, though it looked freshly written, so was probably placed by one of the other 1,000 sneaky daredevils.

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We ended up squishing through all three floors before heading up to the roof with a view. Too bad we didn’t have any makkoli to cheers our daring feat and ward off any ghosts.

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After coming down, we went back into the “KILL ROOM” for a seance of sorts. Remember those Spanish Tarot cards and candle Joshua brought with him in his mom bag? Well, our fortune teller took those out, handed out props and had us pick our fates in card form. With a swig of whiskey, a light of the candle and a knife through Jee’s head, fortunes were told.  Looks like Jee will be getting a visit from the Devil and/or a douche bag disguised as a gentleman. Or so the spirits told him.

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Of course we left behind our candle. The marker of our presence there, and a token in hopes of no spirits following us back to Seoul.

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We ended up getting out a much easier way than we got in. We went out this door that was thrust open from the bottom up, saw where a massive tree had fallen and brought the whole structure down with it, and then shimmied ourselves out between some rusty bars.  Cue second mini panic attack as I thought the bench we had to step on was going to fall forward as I stepped.

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With the spirits, tetanus and mold behind us, we forged our way out through the spiderwebs and muddy pathway back to the car, where water bottle and hand sanitizer showers were in order. You can’t really tell here, but my feet and sandals were covered in mud, and not to mention, dirt and mosquito bites all over my arms and legs. It was well worth the adventure though!

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This was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve done in Korea, and really ever! I love reading stories and watching shows about haunted places, so to actually have the chance to creep through one was awesome! Thanks Joshua for the random Friday jaunt suggestion!

For those looking to do something spooky in Korea, you have to head to Gwangju in Gyeonggi-do (NOT the one in the South). We didn’t take a bus there, but I know you can get one from somewhere in Gangnam.  You have to get to Gonjiam, and from the center of town cross a little bridge and turn right and keep going up the narrow road.  It’s a ways up, but the path starts just after you pass a 2 story brick house (pretty vague, I know). If you want, you can try and plug the coordinates into Google Maps: 37.362433, 127.33474. We weren’t too Google Map savvy, so we didn’t figure out how to do that, but it’s worth a shot if you know what you’re doing!

Happy Haunting wild thing!!

WTF?! Wednesday ~ Would You Like Some Pig Midriff?

I’ve been super busy the past couple weeks, so apologies for my neglect on the WTF?! Wednesday front. I’m going to be moving when I return from Bali at the end of August, so Jeewon and I have been lugging our sweaty asses threw dingy shoebox apartment one after another until I finally found a cute little one bedroom to call my own! Praise all that is glorious and holy in this universe! My Vice Principal can finally lay off the overbearing mother role.

Now onto the weird.

This week and next week I have English camp, so that means I get off work at 12:40 everyday. This leaves lots of time to run errands and mosey around town in the sweltering dumpling cooker weather. On Monday I had to visit the US Embassy to add 48 more pages to my passport (!!!!), so I went on a long stroll after I was done with that.

The Embassy is located in my favorite part of Seoul, the Gwanghwamun/Jongno area. As I was just wandering down one of the tiny side streets in search of a naengmyeon restaurant to cool myself down, my eyes caught this awesome menu item.

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Yes, would anyone care for some PIG MIDRIFF for dinner? I don’t know about you, but when I think of pig midriff I think of a pig dancing around in a belly shirt circa the Britney Spears hey day era. It also comes by the “slaughter expert’s recommendation”.

So yea, instead of some pork belly, you get a PHAT slab of midriff. I hope it tastes sexy.

Get Yo Retro On: Shindig & Gopchang Jeongol

I’d like to take a moment and highlight what I believe to be two of the greatest hidden treasures of the glorious Hongdae. For those who aren’t in the know, Hongdae is a very lively part of Seoul with a really great art university, and some of the cutest coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques around. It’s also where a lot of dignity goes to die every Friday and Saturday night at places like Zen 1 & 3, “The Park” and Papa or Mama Gorilla…. if you’re really feeling like making some mistakes.

Of course I love a good solid night of awful 1,500won tequila shooting and dancing to the same songs over and over again, weekend in and weekend out, but I do enjoy a change of pace every now and then.  Well, I recently discovered the bar Myoungwolgwan (MWG) which holds a Shindig night once a month, where all they play are tunes from the 50s and 60s. And let me tell you, that tiny little wood paneled bar gets all kinds of dirty dancing up in thurrrr! I don’t think I’ve had more fun during a night out in Hongdae than I have the past two times I’ve gone to Shindig! Hatches new visions of Richard Simmons’ sweatin to the oldies.

The first time I literally stumbled on it because my friend Dustin, who recently came back into town for the summer, had a friend DJ’ing. We went, we sang jovially, and we got way down with our bad selves.

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This last one in June was a Tiki/Beach theme (perfect opportunity to rock my dress adorned with palm trees), and was their first foray into live music with a girl group called The Barberettes, and a little Korean man who tried desperately to imitate Johnny Cash. They played some jams to kick off the night, and then the tunes started bumping and the dancing got underway!

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For those who are looking for a way to boogie down and can’t get enough oldies in their life, MWG’s Shindig is located just behind Hongdae Park. When you walk out past the bathrooms, keep going straight and pass Exit and it’s just past it with a lotus sign. It’s 8,000~10,000won cover, and that gets you a free beverage as well as lots of burned calories once you start shakin your groove thang.

My other favorite hidden gem of Hongdae is a poppin retro bar called Gopchang Jeongol.  Andria, Jee and I started our birthday celebration here earlier this year, since we are ajummas and all.  It was only suiting we spent an evening celebrating our long lives to the tune of Korean rock n roll from decades past.

This place has the coolest vibe and is decked out with hundreds of records, photos of old groups, vintage radios and clocks covering the walls.  Granted I can’t sing the songs that play because they’re all in Korean, but they still have that awesome oldies retro vibe that I totally crave in my life. But then there’s that glimmering moment when I recognize an American song redone in Korean and belt it out in my own English bubble. Assa!

This last time I went before Shindig with Josh, Andria and a few of Andria’s friends, for an evening of retro. There was this one table of 2 Korean couples who were so out-of-this-world jammin’ along to every song that came on.  They were having the best time (and as we found out later, smashed out of their minds!) At some point in the night, they got up and came over to our table, where Josh and I put on our ever-present dancing shoes, and started jumping and awkward dancing and singing right along with them.

Here we are all happy-faced out with our new friends of 15 minutes, before the girl in black irked Josh out and fell off her chair. Oopsie daisies!

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We have tried to find this place a few other times, and Josh and I always got lost.  But, should you chose to navigate Hongdae and treat yourself to a feel-good evening (which you totally should), here’s how to orient your internal compass. Go out exit 4 of Hongik Station and walk towards the main street.  Turn left down the street and make your first left. Keep going to the end of the road and take a left and walk until you come to a roundabout. Take the first right, and keep walking down that street until you almost come to the end of the road. It’ll be on your left down a little staircase. You have to order some food too, along with your drinks, but that’s pretty standard for most Korean bars/hofs.

I seriously hope you go, boogie down and enjoy both as much as I do!

Dokdo & Ulleungdo: Where I Got Lucky

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but my luck has GREATLY increased over the past few weeks.  Why?  You ask? Well, because according to Korean thought, if one lands on the island of Dokdo, you are a very lucky person. And well, I am of the less than 1% of the Korean population to have stepped foot on the sacred and prized and heavily disputed over island of Dokdo in the East Sea or Sea of Japan.  It’s all relative depending on your location in the east, or the map you chose to peruse, I suppose.

SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education ~ my employer) was generous enough to take 36 of the almost 700 native English teachers in Seoul, on an all-inclusive 4 day 3 night trip to Samcheok, Ulleungdo, and the mighty Dokdo.  Dokdo is comprised of 2 islands that have been in heavy dispute with Japan for many years over who’s territory it actually is.  So, we knew that in signing up for this trip we were in for a weekend fueled by propaganda and many a botched map to take many ganders at.  And it was and we did.

I actually didn’t know much about Dokdo prior to my trip to Japan back in September, when Josh decided to jokingly shout “TAKESHIMI TAKESHIMI” everywhere we went. TakeshimA is actually the Japanese name for Dokdo, so of course this was a controversial stance for a giant white man to make whilst being employed by the Korean government! 😉  Both Joshua and I, and our friend Art, ended up being part of the lucky (highly weird) few to go on this trip, so I was very happy to be in extra FUN company on a long weekend to Takeshimi. 🙂

Our first stop on the trip was Samcheok, where we struggled to listen to the translation of the first propaganda lecture regarding “the correct understanding of Dokdo for peace in East Asia”.  We ogled at some artifacts from the Joseon remains and General Isabu’s time, and took a walking tour down by the water, which was really beautiful.  I felt like I wasn’t in Korea which was amazing on my peepers and lungs.  Being stuck in a concrete jungle can really wear on you.  We also visited a temple which is said to be the coolest (in temperature) place in Samcheok.  Many people would come here to pray before traveling to Dokdo because they didn’t know if they would return to the mainland alive due to the roughness of the water.  Many also used to walk through this rock in hopes of being impregnated with a son, so I took the liberty of forging my way through (without falling) said rock.

Looks like I’m having a boy guys!

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When we finally checked into our pension for the night, we were shafted to the one next door to the “nice” hotel we were originally scheduled for. This place gave me and one other interesting fella bed bug bites for days!  I also got cursed with a ridiculously bitchy roommate who got an overdose spoonful of the “Schaeff’s-not-listening-to-you-sideways-up turned-head-tilt”.

Bright and early the next morning, we had Korean breakfast of gamjatang, AKA pork spine soup, and kimchi.  My breakfast therefore consisted of rice and the few bits of kimchi I struggled to shove into my mouth that early in the morning.  With an awful taste in our mouths, we were off to the Sunflower 2, our ferry over to the beautiful island of Ulleungdo.  This journey was about 3.5 hours.

My first thought after landing on Ulleungdo was that it was so strikingly lush and gorgeous. The abundance of green had me feeling like I was in Jurassic Park. We were taken on a tour of the entire island and heard many age-old myths about the different rock formations, the volcanic origin and the people who call the island their home. Currently, less than 7,500 people live on Ulleungdo, and it houses 3 (if I remember correctly) elementary schools, 1 high school and oddly enough, 3 universities.  It’s special delicacies include dried squid (sold in Dokdo packaging), and a sweet pumpkin type bread and pumpkin candy similar to taffy. Brought some of that goodness back for my Principal and Vice Principal.

Here’s me, Josh and Art Turtle Rocking out. This rock is said to have many tiny formations that look like little turtles climbing all over it.

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The walk up to our pension overlooking the ocean.  Seriously beautiful and nothin’ but fresh air for days!

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We went to this temple where we heard an old Korean myth about a young boy and girl who were left behind by their families.  They never came back for them and both ended up dying here. Or so the tale goes.

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And we walked along these massive cliffs overlooking the sea. Super gorge!

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The next day was the BIG day! After all the praying we were told to do, we guzzled down our seasickness drugs, filled out our tickets and hopped aboard our righteous boat to the beloved Dokdo! We took one of the 45 journeys per year that the boat makes, and got inducted into the tribe of the lucky.

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Here’s an aerial shot of the islands that make up Dokdo.  The eastern island is where we went, and the western island is home to the two people who actually call Dokdo their home.

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2.5 hours and no seasickness later, we made the arrival of a lifetime.  We were ushered off the boat and told we had 30 minutes to take pictures with the Liancourt Rocks, signs and guards that protect the land. I’m not quite sure why our stay on the island is so short, but let me tell you, Josh and I with our “DOKDO IS OUR LAND” signs made fantastic use of it! If two grown adults could run around an island like kids in a candy store, that is what we looked like.

We gained some enemies along the way when Joshy “bali bali’d” an old Korean woman to hurry up and take her photo in this exact place.

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We also acquired a fan club of Korean women who wanted to hop in every photo with us. Here is the sign mandating that this here is Korean territory.  We saw nothing indicating it was otherwise Japan’s. Questionable I tell ya!

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These are the guards who live on Dokdo.  The only time they have other human interaction is when a boat reaches Dokdo.  So, any of the less than 45 days a year the boat actually docks.  You can also see stairs behind us which we weren’t allowed to climb up.  I’m not sure what is on the other side, maybe something Japanese?

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And with that we were off, but not without bidding some fond farewells.

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The 3 of us were the last ones to get back on the boat, as we kept getting whistles blown on us to hurry up! Round trip, the entire journey consisted of 9 hours spent on a bus, 7 hours on a ferry and 5 hours on a boat, so we definitely make that 30 minutes count!  That night we met up with our groups to think up a speech to give on our final day.  Josh and I must have been sipping happy water, because when we told our group members that we had so much fun on Dokdo, they looked at us like we were crazy faces from another planet. Sour puss foreigner freaks.

Later we celebrated our new found fortune by noraebanging our hearts out. We bonded with a few others on the trip and shoved ourselves into a massive VIP room for what seemed like 3 hours. I broke a glass, there was table dancing, and no shortage of mic hogging on my part, per the usual.

The next day we were forced to eat fish and tofu soup for breakfast (awful to begin with, more awful when you’re hungover), and then were given a tour of a South Korean Coast Guard ship where we learned that they do not skimp on their entertainment, event whilst at sea protecting Korea’s oceans. This ship was fully equipped with a jjimjilbang (sauna) and a noraebang (karaoke room).

Our last stop was to a little ocean side town.  We stopped to look at some more historical Isabu sites, but we opted to check out the ocean view and vibrant murals instead.  I really find myself appreciating how beautiful Korea is whenever I get out of Seoul and visit places so tranquil and remote like this. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often.

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The trip was really wonderful, and I’m extremely grateful that SMOE was so generous in offering such an opportunity to a group of us foreigners. I know we look at the island of Dokdo much differently and with less seriousness than Koreans do, and mostly viewed this as a chance to A) get out of teaching for 2 days, B) take a free trip out of Seoul to a couple islands that we probably would never seek out on our own, and C) a weekend filled with propaganda. However, seeing as so few Koreans actually have the chance to make this journey, I’m very grateful to say that during my time in Korea I got to check off such a huge cultural experience from my list. As far as who’s territory it actually is, I don’t know. I think there has to be something more than fishing rights and lines being drawn on a map, but I think Koreans are so passionate about it because the Japanese have been so awful to them.  So, they want the right to that land. Or there’s oil.  Who knows.

Here’s a video that Jon Pak, the SMOE head coordinator, made of the trip.  See if you can spot me for the smattering of nanoseconds that I make an appearance.

And just for good measure so you can see how serious Koreans are about this island, and because who doesn’t love a flash mob set to the Dokdo song.

WTF?! Wednesday ~ The Saucy Scarf Sales Gypsy

Hi everyone! This is a day late on my clock, but according to the rest of the Western world it’s still WTF?! Wednesday!

I had an old friend, Robyn, and her new husband stop into Seoul on a layover on their return home from honeymooning in Thailand, so we went to dinner and ice cream and I showed them around my favorite area of Seoul, Jongno.

So, my (I think) 12th and 13th visitors to Seoul are my excuse for being tardy!

Now onto the weird!

Earlier this week I went to Namdaemun Market looking for a travel pack backback for my upcoming trip to Bali in August. Namdaemun is a very traditional Korean market where you can buy souvenirs and trinkets, and pretty much anything, and bargain bargain bargain (if you have cash).

Well, I didn’t find a pack I liked, but I did find this gypsy drag fella/heShe selling scarves with a new twist. This is SO bizarre for Korea, and I just started cracking up when I saw him standing in the middle of massive piles of scarves shaking her hips and groping his breasts. I stopped to take the photo, he posed, and asked me where I was from. All I could slam back was “Where are YOU from?!”

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