Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 6 - HanaTour

WARNING!! Extremly LONG reading!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day 6 started the best way!, I woke up around 6am because I was about 1 hour away from the Ramada Hotel where I was supposed to meet with the Hanna Tour Guide and the 2 other girls that were on the tour. I got up and started getting ready at Kim's house, around 7:30 I was almost ready and was waiting for Kim to be ready so we could go, she took a bit longer because she was cooking something (I thought it was her lunch), that something was 2 Ham and Eggs sandwich and some fruit, aww isn't she and her mom cute¡?, they made breakfast for me and it was a sandwich wich the night before I told I was craving for!!, just before 8am we were ready to go, I said goodbye to her and her mom and we agreed to meet later for dinner (wich sadly we didn't get to do), we were on the Elevator not because we are lazy and I had a 20kg suitcase, but because she lives in the 20th floor!!!!! and with my luck the elevator was acting weird, it stopped at the 8th floor and just stayed there, opening and closing the door... when I asked Kim if this was something that often happend she said it was the 1st time EVER...see? Oh my luck!! you've gotta love it lol.

I was decided to take a cab to the Ramada Hotel due to my laugage, but when we stopped one he said it would be too much traffic and we would never make it to be there on time (9am)... ugh!! I had to take th subway again and it's not that I don't like the subway (at least Seoul's subway) but I had my backpack, my lunch, my suitcase, hat, carf, gloves, etc... it wasn't easy, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do, right??... we went to the subway (Line 1), good thing is...I didn't have to transfer at any point, on the 1st batch of stairs Kim helped me with my laugage and it was fine... until the train came and it was PACKED!! (of course, rush hour!!) *by the way... did I mention it was fr**kin' freezing??*, I don't know how I did it but I managed to get on the subway with my huge suitcase and noticed the windows had ice on them... it was probably frozen sweat.... it was so HOT inside the train and this line is not undergrownd... it's on the outside so I was literally sweating like a pig (lol). I counted the stations because I had to get off at City Hall station... of course to get off I had to battle and managed to say Sorry and thank you in Korean like a thousand times... and finally I was OUT!! wait wait..just OUT of the train... I still had to get out of the SUBWAY...and City Hall has LOTS of stairs... I sweated even more! it was 8:45 when I went on the last batch of stairs and I was about to give up, leave my laugage there and just go hahahaha,,,, I admit the idea did cross my mind,,,so when I finally saw the street that gave me the strenght and hurried on the last batch.... after that it was easy, I just had to run about 3-4 blocks to get to the hotel... and I did it!!! 8:59 I was arriving to the Ramada Hotel... when I saw Melly she was next to our Tour guide... our ONNI (her name i Lina... Onni=Big Sister), we greeted and she checked me in..just 2 mins later the 3rd girl came in.... her name is K Jin and she is Korean but she lives/study in Ireland. After checking in and some of us changing from boots/Heels to something more comfortable (we had to!, we were going to Lotte World!!) we met our driver (A super nice Ajosshi who gave us some Japanese Chocolate) and we were ready to go.... that's the moment I got my KOREAN NAME... I kinda had to since my name is not so easy to pronounce for Koreans...I tried with Gisela... Gis (like geez), or just G...nothing seemed to work so they named me Happiness (행복) Haengbok and I got this name because I gave all of them Mexican Candy...I gave them ALEGRIAS (Alegria = Joy) and that's how I got my Korean name :) 

Our 1st stop was the Samsung Delight Room, we arrived there around 10am... we were really excited and that's where OUR journey began, I bet a couple of my friends would've loved the place.... it was full of gadgets, cameras, computers, and more geeky stuff... for me... it was Cool enough. The first thing we did was to take a pic of the 4 of us (K Jin, Onni, Mell and Me) the pic was then displayed in a BUNCH of TV's on the wall and when we saw it we got EXCITED ...we were like schoolgirls loud and crazy (lol), despite we didn't know eachother we bond very easily... then we typed a message on a computer and this would be displayed on the floor-screens (Again A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!) after this we were taken to the 2nd floor (we didn't have MUCH time to hang around due to our buy schedule) on the 2nd floor we found a a WORLD MAP, you had to grab a sticker and stick it in YOUR home country, for America it was a red sticker... wich I grabbed and put in Mexico :), Melly put her's in Italy and K Jin in South Korea... we then went to see the Samsung Galaxy Tab and got to play with them a lil bit, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S Phone, computers, cameras, 3D TV's, Games, Hard Drives and much more.... I was having a lil prroblem with my camera (A samsung) so I thought I would ask someone there because...well... they work for Samsung at the Show room!!..I asked a K-Girl...she didn't know how to fix it, she asked another girl and then they asked another guy... it was time to go and Onni was trying to get us going... I had to ask the 3 guys to leave the cam as it was and that I would try to fix the problem later... turns out they did fix it :) we hurried to the Van (yet again!) and we were off to our 2nd destination... COEX
Can I have it??? n_n

Look for Mexico there ;)

Can I have it too??

Melly, K Jin and Onni

Does any1 knows who my housband is??...

Screen-floor n_n


COEX Mall and Acquarium... this is the same Mall I went on Day 3... so I will just skip to the Acquarium, we went to the Acquarium wich was crowded, there were 100's ok lil kids, each group dressed with the same uniform, same backpacks and lunchboxes... they all looked pretty cute and they were really loud.. we got our tickets and headed to the Acquarium.... what can I say?, the place is big, plenty of fishes, animals and so on.. to describe it better I'll leave you with this pics :)

Coke Machine with the Little Mermaid and Fishes!

Fridge with Fishes!



I ran out of battery almost at the end of the Acquarium and out of SPACE on my memory was just my luck!!!!!!!... I didn't care much because it was an Acquarium...nothing you can't see in other acquariums, right? well... I was 
Sam Soon Tunel :)
Sam Sook!!!!!!!!!!     
WRONG!!,,,suddenly I found a small Tunel...the same tunel where they Shot My Name is Kim Sam Soom (wich by now, you should know I love and that's what started my "affair" lol with Korea) was the scene where MOMO finds the Turtle and take her with the Professor ...this professor the the Sam Sook Pig (like the one I got @ Namdaemun)... I had no choice but to take the pics with the loussy camera of my phone.... but anyway it will always *I'm hopping!* be on my mind. After that I found the Exit where Onni was waiting for us, while we waited for Melly and K Jin I wondered around the Gift Shop but I didn't buy anything because there was nothing really AWESOME-OMG-YOU'VE-GOT-TO-HAVE-IT ..... and now it was time for Stop #3... LUNCH!!!! 
We had lunch at the TODAI restaurant, it was a buffent... since it was only 1pm we werent really hungry (I ate my lunch at the Van...) but we were not going to waste what "they" payed for us so we went and tried a bit of almost everything... keeping enough space for Icecream Yogurt and Cakes...LOTS of cakes. I tried about 7 dif kinds of cakes, but it's not your regular size of cake...the cakes were small and cut into SMALL pieces (about 5cm?) at 2pm it was time to go (AGAIN!!) because we had to go to LOTTE WORLD and then we had to visit some "VIP's" Offices...

Stop #4 was Lotte world were we arrived around 2:30, Onni got our tickets and once inside we were told to meet her at 4:45 at the entrance.... the place if HUGE... is like a Korean Disneyland...they had a Xmas parade that we didn't get to see... the first 30 mins we spend them at the Gift Shop so we really only had like 1 1/2 hours to have "fun" and I say "fun" because i'm not an Amusement Park person, I'm not into that AT ALL so it was Melly and K Jin's time to choose what we were going to do, 1st we tried one of those booths were you can take pics and add funny/cute images and then print them... we really wanted to do this but the booth wasn't working, so we went to the Outside park.. it was there where Mell realized she did not have her iphone with her... we all panicked a bit and started looking for it EVERYWHERE... I asked if she left it on the Van but she wasn't sure, K Jin called Onni and she called the 
driver... turns out the phone was at her seat on the Van.. phew!!! so after freaking out we ran trough the brigde that connects the Outside park with the inside... only to realize it was Packed... there was a line full of kids on each one of the rides..... when we finally decided what ride we wanted to try we stayed in line for a bit until we decided it was gonna take too long and we went to the back to the Inside park... we walked around taking pics (Ok... Melly did it) and then we went to take the monorail that goes around the inside of the park but close to the cieling :) , we only had about 30 mins tu burn so we went to a room full of those machines where you can "win" prices (like the one in Toy Story? where the lil green martians were found...), I ofcourse couldn't catch anything u_u but melly got a stuffed "sushi" was really cute!!! we then went back to the entrance to meet Onni and go to out meeting with some VIP's (I'm not sure I'm allowed to name them lol) 

View from the Monorail

Back at the Van I fixed my hair a bit (imagine how it was after a crazy day...) then we slept for a bit because
we were stucked in traffic... and we finally arrived with the VIP's... I can say the 3 of us were really nervous
and didn't know what to expect but it turned a very nice visit/dinner... two of these VIP's speak Spanish and I
loooved it!, I missed my language and it felt good to use it at the other side of the world ^_^ , then we went
to dinner to a very well known restaurant that I Don't know the name, but apparently is a very famous place where a TV show was recorded... it was a really nice restaurant, our table was in a private room (oh la la!) and we had a VERY traditional Korean meal with a "home-made" wine.
Comfy isn't it?

The band's practice room

This was close to the Kpops practice room


Subway b4 they kicked us out lol
In korea is rude to pour yourself your own drink, you have to do it for others and others will do it for you...
and let me tell you... the wine was being poured!! it was really good so I drank and drank...ofcourse there
was always someone there to pour me some more (lol)... by now we were really tired so the wine had a nice relaxing effect on me lol, we tried LOTS of different kinds of food, I didn't get to take pictures, I was so into the conversation that I totally (well...all of us) forgot to take pictures. We had a fish dish called Hongeo when the 3of us saw this we were a bit shocked and neither of us wanted to try it of course... but the VIP #1 said he would "teach" me the correct way to eat this fish... so I couldn't say no, right?,,,, everyone was staring at me just waiting my reaction after I took a bite of the fish... and you know what?,,, it wasn't that bad... VIP #2 told us it was not as strong as they usually prepare it, so it was OK... after the feast we had some tea and a biscuit that it's traditionally eaten with tea... after our tea it was time to go back to the Hotel were we will have "time" to do whatever we wanted (it was around 8-9pm), when we went out of the Restaurant it started snowing (Awww!!!), I know i'm being cheessy and maybe weird but it was my 1st snow ever o_o ... I was really excited, VIP #2 went with us in the VAN and he said we HAD to try Noreband (Korean Karaoke), we had this conversation at the restaurant and VIP #1, #2 and #3 agreed it was something we HAD to do in order to have the REAL Korean when we were in the Van we agreed to go on saturday night for some drinks and then to a Norebang... I had mixed feeling about this..I wanted to go and see it for myself but I didn't want to sing... but we had made plans and we were sticking to them!, we arrived to the Hotel around 9:30 went to our rooms to freshen up a little and then Melly and Me would meet at the lobby at 10pm.

We met at 10pm to go to some Kpop band's practice room, so we took the subway, for Melly it was really excited because it was her 1st time... for me it was like the 15th time (lol), we went to City Hall station and then we transfer to the Orange line... a few stations later we got off and walked... I had no idea where we were nor where we going and when we finally arrived I asked Melly how did she know how to get there... she said "I saw pictures" O_o I remember I actually said she was scarry and that it was a bit (much?) of a stalker lol, the building was open but the "practice room" was closed... she left some letters, pictures and whatnot and took some pics of the building and then went back to the subway... it was 11pm (I think?) and we were not sure if we were going to catch the subway and we were going to take a bus... since we were infront of a store (like a 7/11) we went in and asked if there was a Bus we could take... HE said there were no buses at that time, so we shoped some Junk food (Each got a "gift" box with 6 pepero boxes!! it had a bow, a gift card and everything!!!), we also got candies, gum and I don't know what else hahaha, so we went back to the subway and they announced it was the last train... we did it!!! we thought... hahaha 2 little 2 soon!!, we got on the train and sat then they announced something in Korean but we didn't stop everyone got off and there was a Security Guard going trough each train asking people to take off and we realized it was CLOSING time and the traing was not going to the final stop... :( we got off and walked and walked... then went out in City Hall but I didn't know where we were... Melly said she know where we were so we walked back to the hotel.. we got to the Hotel around 12:30 and stayed at the lobby for a bit to use the WiFi :) ... I finally went to my room around 2:30am, I was really tired so I turned on the watter on the tube, put the soap, made my bubbles and took a nice, long and relaxing bath!.... I arranged everything for Day 7, watched some TV and fall asleep at 4am............. FINALLY!! it was SUCH a long, crazy, busy day but I loved it, the pain my feet where in was totally worth it!... bring it on day 7!!!!!!!

-Gisela V.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!!

A person born in the year of the Rabbit possesses one of the most fortunate of the twelve animal signs. The Rabbit, or Hare as he is referred to in Chinese mythology, is the emblem of longevity and is said to derive his essence from the Moon.

So,,, Enjoy!! and have a great one! n_n

-Gisela V.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 5 - Insadong

Day 5 was a pretty relaxed day,  I didn't really have anything planned so the mission was to Go out and Explore a bit... I wanted to go to Kimchi World in Insadong, so I left my laugage ready to go @ Jeff's house to pick it up later... I went out round 10am and took the subway from Euljiro4ga to Jongno3ga (Line 5), I got off to find a subway map that I obviously wasn't able to read because I went on the wrong direction..... a couple of streets later I found a big Avenue full of Jewelers and started walking just checking the bling bling LOL.... Not!!!
The Map I was not able to read (as always)


The Avenue with the Jewelers

So,, I was alking just looking and found the Street Museum, the museum is quite small and it's right infront of a Park where Jongmyo is located BUT I was not allowed to enter since according to a sign by the ticket booth "Foreigners" are only allowed with a Tour Guide and one of the visits was at 11 and to my luck it was 11:15 u_u   so.. No Jongmyo for me ... instead I kept walking  until I decided I was lost and freezing, so it was time to have some hot coffee and something to eat... the 1st thing I found was a Starbucks... I know I know!! I shouldn't aste my money there but I was freezing!! so I went in and got a coffee and a cheese bagel witch by the way was REALLY GOOD!!, while I waited for my food I decided to use their Wi-Fi to use my GPS, take out my maps and see if I was able to find Insadong (left alone Kimchi World... lol) .. I kept myself warm for a bit and after my coffee I went out to the cold again and took a bus (all by myself!!) lol ... that bus took me to the same street that goes to Jongno3ga ....once there I called a friend to see if he had time to meet me that day,,,, then just walked around and guess what.... I found Insadong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay!!! the best thing is... it was Empty!!

I didn't see that many Churches...

Can you read this?...
The Park where the street museum is located

Street Museum

Street Museum

When I finally found Insadong I went to  Ssamziegil is like a small plaza with stores... I saw this place on the 1st book about Korea I got and I was so excited to be there!!!! I was like a kid in a Candy Shop ... I went to every store and took pics even thou it wasn´t allowed ;)  finally I got to the rooftop and just "chilled" in there for a while... I had time since I had to go to City Hall Station at 4 to meet with Melly (one of the Girls from the Tour) @ the Ramada Hotel....
See? almost empty!

Cute, isn't it?

I made it!! I payed for it but the money went to a Charity!

Then just hang it in there n_n

This is the miniature store

I left my mark in Seoul! YEAH!!!


I like the Art and the Flowers!

 So I stayed there for a while walking, looking, taking pics and just minding my own bussines... until.............. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!! I heard an Alarm ..I didn't know what it was ..suddenly people just stood there and for the 1st time I was scared... FOR REAL!!! I thought about the news about North Korea, the attack and all of that.. I could see myself running, screaming and whatnot... Lol it only lasted a few minutes but I didn't know what to do (Fail... I know!) after this ..I decided it was time to (escape) go meet Melly.

Ah!! I forgot!! when I was at the subway in the morning I found a Missha store inside the SUBWAY!!.. Ofcourse I went there to buy everything n_n   wiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!

Finally I arrived to the Ramada Hotel and had about 30mins to do.... practically nothing  really... I was there using the hotel's Wi-Fi and this guy came and started talking to me and he made ME follow him on twitter!!! he then followed me back and then he left (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!!!!!???)  ...after 4pm I went to the front desk to ask for melly ...guess what .. I didn't know her full name,,, but I guess they just typed Mell (not very common in Seoul, huh?) and call her... I went up to her room ,,,chat for a bit and went out... this time it was time to go home (ok ok Jeff's house), pick up my laugage and wait for Kim (my last CS )...we had to meet at the subway exit #9 but turns out... I wasnt in the right exit... and we found about 1 hour later (keep in mind I had a 20kgs suitcase, a backpack, a 2kgs jacket, hat, gloves and that was it hehe ... 1 hour, 2 phone calls later I found Kim and we went to her house about 40 mins away (by subway) from Jeff's ... I met her mom and grandma and I love them! they are super nice, her granny is SOOO CUTE!! and they cooked me breakfast the next morning...a sandwich because I told Kim that was my biggest craving (weird!!) ..they put a bannana, a mandarin and 2 sandwiches on a bag!! aww!!!!!! I only met Kim for a few hours,,but she's really nice, speaks Spanish and her family is awesome!!!
I waited for Kim here...

My dinner!! Ramyun and Kimbap

Bathroom @ City Hall Subway station lol

And that was it for day 5... my last day on my own.....  I'm glad I got to relax a bit :)

-Gisela V.