Monday, November 8, 2010

Namsan Tower & Cheonggyecheon

Namsan Tower
(Namsan Tower surrounded by the beautiful autumn leaves)

Today started off pretty rocky. After a long hike with absolutely no sleep the night before, I went out and watched some of my friends participate in a beer mile. In case you don't know, this event consists of drinking a can of beer, running 400 meters, drinking a can of beer, running 400 meters, drinking a can of beer, running 400 meters, drinking a can of beer, and running yet another 400 meters. Yep, that means drinking four beers while running a mile. I passed due to the fact that I was really tired, and also, I really didn't feel like vomiting. That was the result for a couple of them. Yikes.

The plan was to wake up and goto a coworkers wedding, but this didn't quite go as planned. I woke up at 8:30 to three of the other wedding guests banging on my door. I slept right through four different alarms. I told them to go ahead and meet the bus that was to take all of us Suwon folk to the wedding in Yangpyeong (about 2 hours away), while I take a shower and cab it out to Suwon Station. I got ready quicker than I ever imagined I could and jumped in a taxi. I actually managed to beat the three of them to Suwon Station, but this did us no good. Upon arrival, we realized that our directions were less than helpful. Either the bus wasn't where we were told it was going to be, or the bus didn't show up at all. After our time was up, we jumped on a bus and headed towards Seoul to take a subway. After a number of calculations, we realized that we were going to be considerably late, so JC and I decided not to make the long journey, just to miss the ceremony, we hopped off the bus and headed towards home.

The two of us stopped at our favorite cheap restaurant Hansot (AKA the guy: he really is one of the nicest men in Korea), where I enjoyed some BIG치킨도시락. On the walk home, I decided to finally check out the Coop that is a few blocks from my apartment. It was less than I imagined, but I may pick up some goods from that place at some time. We walked home and parted ways.

Namsan Tower
After a great deal of relaxation, I decided it was time to make the most of my Sunday. I looked up directions to Namsan Tower and made my way into town. When I found the cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain, I found a giant line that took me about an hour to get through. I thought about hiking up to the top of the mountain, because it is a mere 200m, but I was feeling lazy after my hike yesterday and waited it out. Sadly, it was very foggy today, and I didn't get the greatest of views. Therefore, I decided not to pay the 7000 to go up to the observation deck of the tower. I will save that for another day; a clearer day. Even though I didn't get the best view ever, I still enjoyed the visit. The autumn colors in the trees were beautiful, and there was this really neat area with many many love locks. One of the observation areas is lined with fences, and the fences are completely covered in locks and hearts. They each represent a couples love. It was kind of wonderful, but it also make me realize that I had visited a coupley location, and I didn't exactly fit in with the mobs of people; well, the mobs of couples. Meh, still a fun sight seeing location.

(The cable car line)

(A view from the cable car)

(Lounging area atop the mountain)

With the G20 coming up next weekend, there was an exhibit with drawings of leaders from each of the countries that will be represented at the G20

(Myself and Mr. Obama)

(Posing with a caricature of Lee Myeong Bak)

(The drawing of the Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh: I thought that the flying carpet was kind of a ridiculous addition.)

(Love Trees?)

(Love Trees 2?)

(Love Fence?)

(Some great English translations)

When I reached the bottom of the mountain, I stopped into a small restaurant for a steaming bowl of Kimchi Chigae. As it gets colder, I seem to crave this any time I've been outside longer than thirty minutes. Even though it is spicy enough to make me sweat, I eat it at least three times a week.

(My delicious meal)

Seoul Lantern Festival (Cheonggyecheon)
While I was preparing to subway it over to Cheonggyecheon stream to catch a glimpse of the Seoul Lantern Festival, I was thinking that I was going to be spending my evening in Seoul alone, but I was pleasantly surprised as my group gradually increased and became 8 people. I received a call from Amarisse, whom I had texted earlier to proposition for dinner, and she asked if I'd like to meet herself, Jill, and Rob over in Gwanghwamun to see the Lantern Festival. So obviously, I accepted her proposition. Not one minute later, I got a call from Justin, who was also in Myeong-dong (a huge shopping district right next to Namsan) with Calvin. We coordinated a meetup and headed over towards the festival. Once we arrived, Justin and Calvin sat down to eat some McDonald's, while I stayed outside to observe the hordes of police officers that were amassed for the G20. It was unbelievable. I don't even think that it is exaggerating to say that there were well over a thousand cops in this area.

(A video of some of police marching down the street)

Shortly after this, Calvin's girlfriend, Ji-seon, and her friend, Eun-jung met up with us. This brought our group total to five. Then, after the arrival of the rest of the group, we were finally up to eight. We were all separated in the masses surrounding the stream, but eventually made our way down to the festival of lanterns. Amarisse and Jill decided to avoid the crowds and get some ice cream, so the group of six ventured into the sea of people and saw a whole bunch of lanterns. They were more like fancy parade floats that were illuminated like lanterns, but it was still pretty damn cool. I took about a hundred pictures, but I will only post a handful of my favorites. Seeing as though we live in Suwon, we had to depart from the rest around 10 or 10:30. But before leaving, we all got a snack and a beer and did some dancing on one of the side streets nearby. I'm not sure why, but nobody wanted to join in on our dance party. They really don't know what they were missing out on.

(At the entrance)

(Apparently, this little guy is the Seoul mascot. He is some kind of cute dragon.)

(First set of lanterns)

(Justin, myself & a lantern deer)

(Light up lantern)


(A lantern couple)

(Rob, Justin, Eun-jung, Ji-seon, Calvin & myself)

(Same friends as before, but under a bridge and without me)

(Rotating lanterns)

(Eun-jung, Ji-seon & Calvin)

(A photo of us doing what everyone was doing; Taking Photos!)

(Kobukson [turtle boat] lantern)

(Cute Japanese cartoon lanterns)

(Me, enjoying a beer and some squid jerky. mmmmmm)

Namsan Tower: Exit 3 Myeongdong Station, Line 4. When you exit from the station, turn left and walk up the hill. Every time the road forks, follow it to the left. After about 7 minutes, you will see a set of stairs on the right side of the road. Walk up those stairs, and you will find yourself in the parking lot of the Namsan cable car (station?).

Cheonggyecheon Stream: Exit 3 Gwangwamun Station, Line 5. When you exit from the station, just keep walking straight (this is left, if you are thinking in terms of the street), you will cross a busy intersection and see a really tall seashell sculpture on the left. That is the beginning of the stream.


  1. What a nice picture~ I really enjoyed
    But that fox and penguin are characters of korean animation(aka Mhan-hwa) named The Pororo & friends ^^;; actually it's pretty famous in asia and europe these days..

  2. funny how you said mob of couples and then MEH. haha. I'm going to Korea first week of October.. will try to visit Namsan Tower :)