Monday, June 25, 2012

Korea Blog: When Does One Find Time to Sleep?

도덕산 (Dodeoksan)

Part of an ongoing series about my trip to and discovery of Seoul...

Just off another very busy week in Seoul and the fatigue is starting to settle in but then again I've probably been pushing myself a little too hard!  After my initial few weeks of discovery here it is time for me to find the right balance between work #1, work #2 and play.

After a long week I made my way into Hongdae on Friday night to meet my friend Matt we were both hungry and looked around for a place to eat. After a while Matt recognized somewhere he had been to before so we went in, were greeted and sat down. Only then, we were told that this particular establishment specialized in the parts of a cow that as a westerner you wouldn't think to eat. Oh well, said I, when in Rome!

곱창 (Gopchang)

Cow's intestines, known as 곱창 (Gopchang), is a popular dish in Korea and is served along with things like stomach and liver. I found it quite tasty but I have to say I couldn't really get over the texture, is is extraordinary chewy. I'm glad I tried it but for the moment I probably won't venture into such a restaurant again. Though at some later point I'll have to try it again.

I had a lot of fun in Hongdae on Friday but made too much of a night of it as I wound up home at nearly 7am. Unfortunately the taxi driver tried to get me to pay an exorbitant fare but I stood my ground and told I would only give him w10,000, the standard price of a cab from Hongdae to Gwanmyeong.

Hazy view from 도덕산 (Dodeoksan)

After getting up far too late and a doing little work I was off Itaewon to meet some new people. Had a great time up on a terrace and discussed the finer points of the 2nd amendment among many other topics with a great bunch of people.In the morning I woke up at a far more reasonable time and decided it was time for me to seek out a local peak for some hiking.

I did just that by finding 도덕산 (Dodeoksan) but was confronted with the sweltering 35C temperature! Definitely got a good work out of it and though the mountain's high point didn't have a clear enough view for good picture, it was beautiful. I was also an opportunity to walk around my neighborhood a little more thoroughly. It's a rather poor area and many sections of it are rundown. It's quite an experience to walk through the windings mazes that make the clustered hillside residences. Further along on my way back I walked through the Gwangmyeong market, an interconnected series of densely packed alleyways.

The Gwangmeyong Market
Later on Sunday I went to Gangnam to meet Marc Raymond, a professor specializing in film studies who has been in town for a number of years. It was great to finally meet him after many discussions on witter and we had some delicious Korean BBQ!

I was a good week though I am completely exhausted and there seems to be no end in sight! I have a few dinners organized during the week and then I am having my birthday party in Gangnam on Saturday where I am hoping to bring together a wide group of people. I'm not complaining though as I am having a great time, I just need to find a little more time to sleep!


Gwangmyeong hillside residences 

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