Back again! This time it was just Mick and I.
Good morning K-Town.
Good Morning K-Town
Started off doing a tour of one of the more yuppie art districts, Samcheong-dong.
Really only one of the galleries let me take pictures.
Studio That Let Me Take Pictures
I wandered some more, and grabbed some street vendor food. Mmmm mmmm good.
The pancake that’s in the cup is filled with this sweet, cinnamon bean paste that’s just fantastic. It’s like a mini-elephant ear almost, but somehow it feels slightly more wholesome (I know that’s not saying much). Accompanying the bean-paste-mouth-party was some home-made rice drink.
I hopped on the orange line train and headed to Leeum, the Samsung Museum of Modern Art. Unfortunately, again, no pics allowed inside, but some pretty great works.
I had been following many of the suggestions in the NYT article “36 hours in Seoul” (many thanks to Emily Aune for suggesting the article). In the article they recommend you check out the Leeum, but then compare to the more raw “hovel” called “ggooll” created by the now somewhat famous Korean artist and architect Choi Jeong Hwa. I spent about 2 hours trying to find this place. Right around the time I lost hope, I knocked on the window of what I thought was sort-of an abandoned coffee-shop / bar to ask, as a last hope, for it’s location, and the man inside turned out to be Choi Jeong Hwa himself. He most graciously showed me around the place and even sat down with me to have a couple beers. Here are a couple pieces that he had on display:
Lee Kyung Eun: "The Seoul Lady Glancing at a Pin-Up Boy"
Here’s a look at the bathroom:
Lucky for me, a few of his friends (Joona and E in particular) had planned on eating dinner with him that night and they invited me to tag along. Many thanks to them for making me feel welcome.
Choi Jeong Hwa and Joona
I followed them to an art show afterward and E was kind enough to give me a ride home.
A few days later when I had a day off work, Mick, his Mom, and I went to check out one of the preserved historical villages. I guess the queen was carried around in one of these things:
Honestly, I’d kinda want to lie down flat rather than be forced to sit upright. We also saw a historical collection of Kimchi fermentation vases called Onggi. For those who haven’t tried Kimchi, check it out. Definitely an acquired taste.
Kimchi Fermentation Vases (Onggi)
After checking out a bit of Namdaemoon with Mick, I hopped on the blue line to the Seoul National Museum of Modern Art (where E was a curator). Once again, no pictures, but a bunch of very cool exhibits. There was an exhibit of a mural called “Korean Modern Day Love Story” done by Shin Hak-chul. I can’t seem to find a picture anywhere on the internet, but you’ll have to trust me it’s a must see if you make it to the museum. E says that Shin was imprisoned for painting the mural. Another piece that impressed me documented the life of a soap bar. Reminded me of this poem written by Sahand Rabbani.
That night I headed over to Hongdae for some fun. After a few hours of searching I found Tadak–another NYT recommendation. Wow, definitely going back.
Dinner at Tadak
On the recommendation of the host, I swung by “Page A” cafe and “Rolling Hall.” She left me muttering, “Rolling Hall? Really? Really….” I was unprepared for a 12am subway shutdown, and I headed back to the hotel and lamented my non-rolling early turn-in. After reading a bit online, I discovered that pretty much all the clubs were open 8pm to 6am…. Time for a re-match Hongdae.
The next day I wandered through Seoul National University. In one of their buildings they had both and audio and an RF anechoic chamber (neither of which Stanford had while I was there). In a couple of their buildings they had full size Hyundai engines and transmissions with cut-aways to show the inner parts. I kinda had a nerdgasm.
Hyundai Engine Cutaway
Afterward, I wandered through Itaewon. The wrong section–no red-light district, just multi-million dollar homes. Some of them were pretty sick though.
Copper on Wood?
Some day my garage door will look like this ^; I love the copper + wood + tile look. Who needs concrete when you can drive on tile.
That night Yul had agreed to meet up for dinner for some K-Town BBQ. If you ever read this Yul, can you post the name? Great Food; thanks for hangin out. Hafta do it again next time. Yul recommended a few places in Hongdae and I was off. On my way, I ran into a couple American English teachers who were flying for Four Tet (basically one of the best DJ’s in the world). In exchange for helping flyer, they showed me around the best places. We had a couple Johnny Walkers in a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar and they recommended I checked out Club Verra. I wasn’t disappointed.
By the time I looked at my phone, it was 5:20 am. The place was still pretty full and the girl I had been dancing with hadn’t slowed down. I caught the 6:20 am train back, fell asleep, woke up 7 stops too far, flipped a b, and got off at the hotel just in time for my co-worker Mick to call me and meet up for breakfast.
More-or-less comatose on the bus to the airport, I didn’t get to wave goodbye to the unidong this time. The free beer in the business lounge totes tasted good on the way out though.
Moral of the story: if you go to Seoul, stop through Hongdae.