Ok, I admit that I have been a little out of whack since July 10 and I admit that I probably should be going gung ho here, here in Seoul lapping up all the sights and sounds. I am, albeit at a slower pace. I knew when I planned this trip that I was picking the time of the year where it most probably rains the most – but is kind of fitting for the task that was hand, right?
July 12, 2013
Discharge day came and went. For those of us who spent the entire night at the West Gate, it was a two-day ordeal. I am still trying to ease all of the emotions of those two days (and the days leading up to it, come to think of it) to a manageable level. So instead of maybe taking in some sights, a couple of us Clouds decided to pay a visit to Rainy Entertainment.
Our purpose that afternoon was to leave some gifts and letters for Rain. Isn’t that THE ultimate fangirl thing to do??? It seriously took us two hours to find Rainy but when we did we were relieved to have been able to drop off our things and ask the team manager there how Rain was doing. She assured us he was doing good. Good to hear. We left our gifts (and our love) and decided we needed to make our way to Myeondong for what turned out to be a Rain blow out coupled with a side of K-pop.
I am so going back to Myeongdong, even if between me and the gals from Spain, we cleared out the shelf filled with Rain items! (I am serious….we cleaned them out!) I am sure I will find more if I give Myeondong more of my loving attention!! Myeondong is known for its shopping. I admittedly compare everything to Commercial Street in Bangalore, India but Commercial Street literally has NOTHING on the markets of Seoul. I will likely visit Myeondong at night just to take in the sounds, sights and lights!! I think one of the things I am truly adoring about Seoul is the penchant for the ‘WOW’ factor that goes into just about everything. There is just this in-your-face quality that I am so digging out here. Seoul gave us Rain, after all and you really cannot get much bigger than what he has accomplished over his 10+ year career and he is not nearly finished!!
Now admittedly, shopping the streets of Myeondong would have been so much easier had it not been raining. It has been raining daily since discharge day. I guess it is kind of fitting….that, and the fact that it is apparently the rainy season here in Seoul at present. But nevermind, we managed and still enjoyed our outing that day. We capped it off with some Korean food. Me and bibimbap get along very well! 🙂
July 13, 2013
On my own today, I decided I should get to the South Gate as I had previously planned! This also gave me the opportunity to take in the sights of the oldest market in Seoul: Namdaemun Market. Once again it was raining which always poses a problem when trying to take pictures while holding an umbrella! Delicate maneuvering, I tell ya!
Straight from the internet:
Namdaemun, officially known as the Sungnyemun (literally Gate of Exalted Ceremonies), is one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall in Seoul, South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty.
The gate, dating back to the 14th century, is a historic pagoda-style gateway, and is designated as the first National Treasure of South Korea. It was once one of the three major gateways through Seoul’s city walls which had a stone circuit of 18.2 kilometres (11.3 mi) and stood up to 6.1 metres (20 ft) high. It was first built in the last year of King Taejo of Joseon’s reign in 1398, and rebuilt in 1447, during the 29th year of King Sejong the Great of Joseon’s reign.
Adjacent to the Gate is the expansive and duly overwhelming Namdaemun Market. Yes, yes, yes, I happened to find some more Rain treasures but I think I have hit my limit now! My suitcase will most assuredly be way over the appropriate weight and I haven’t even begun to pick up souvenirs for family and friends!!! The streets and alleyways of Namdaemun are lined with just about anything you can think of….anything. I saw octopus, I saw ginseng root floating in glass jars, I saw K-pop cushion covers!!! You name it, it’s probably there! I apologize for the lackluster pictures. Rainy day at the market.
Later that day I emerged from Exit 11 of the Gangnam Station and was bowled over. I liken whatever this major thoroughfare was to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue only way bigger and way bolder!! My senses were overwhelmed and the people….where on earth did all of those people come from?? Ok, so it was Saturday night and date night and all – but we moved in a wave, a sea – at times I felt as if I were just floating being carried by the ebb of people around me. It was kind of cool.
Totally intrigued with this area of Gangnam and will go back! Really, there is so much to see and do here. The rain puts a damper on things sometimes but I still have been enjoying my visit very much. Coming into my final week so let’s see how much I can cram into my remaining days!
More Seoul on the horizon……