Monday, August 12, 2013

Investigating Insadong

We spent a few hours today poking around Insadong, an area within downtown Seoul that's celebrated for it's arts and cultural history.  That, and having a mecca of souvenir and antiques shops that draw foreigners out of the woodwork.  We really enjoyed popping in and out of shops to see what they had to offer but we didn't have to buy a new suitcase to lug all of our new purchases around in...

One of the things that the girls were most curious about were some long, twisted 'cakes' that you can purchase stuffed with ice cream.  I was almost tempted to succumb to their requests of buying one until I heard another passing foreigner describing the taste & texture to his mate: "It tastes like Honeycombs cereal.  No, wait, Corn Pops.  It tastes just like Corn Pops!".  Thanks, but no thanks ;-)

Toward the end of our stroll through Insadong, we were becoming overwhelmed by the heat.  The girls and I popped into a convenience store for another jug of water and when we came back outside we caught Jennifer mid-interview.  A couple of students had stopped her to ask some questions about her experiences thus far in Korea.  One girl was the assigned facilitator and the other was the videographer.  I got a kick out of one of Jennifer's responses to what kinds of food have we tried while in Korea.  When thinking of 'bibimbap', Jennifer replied that we really enjoyed the 'bimbapbop'.  The interviewer just had a puzzled expression to this response but neither girl burst out laughing.  

Once we left Insadong, we had to do something to try and beat the heat.  We walked and walked and walked until we finally found the fountains where we'd seen a number of kids splashing around on our first day in Seoul.  Once we found it, Rachel and Abby wasted no time getting soaked and loving every second of it.  

Late afternoon, we wanted to make our way back to Gangnam as we had our hearts set on a unique experience that (we think) can really only be found in one location throughout this great city.  I led us on a bit of a roundabout hike to catch a specific bus to Gangnam and our route took us up and down more streets than were necessary.  And, after all that, once we arrived in Gangnam we couldn't even find what we were looking for...

We've heard about these 'fish pedicures' that are popular in some Asian countries.  We'd found one online called "Dr. Fish Cafe" that many people have positively reviewed on their blogs.  After enjoying a coffee and a pastry, you can spend about 2000 KRW (about a toonie in Canadian funds) to dunk your feet in an aquarium for 15 minutes.  Dozens of fish start nibbling on the dead skin and leave your feet feeling silky smooth.  Even the girls said they were up for trying it out.  Well, everything but the coffee.  But, unfortunately, we weren't able to find it.  

All the blogs talked about how poorly it was marked and how challenging it was to find.  We found the building where Dr. Fish Cafe was supposed to be, it just wasn't there!  After arriving back at Jonathan and HJ's place and finally having access to the Internet, we discovered that they moved to a new location in late May.  If time permits over the next couple of days, we'll try to track down the new digs as this is an experience that we've all been looking forward to...

All in all, it was a good day.  Lots of walking and too much heat but an interesting and very worthwhile experience just the same.

Thanks for reading,

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