Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Korea Part 1: Myeong-Dong

To this day, there has been so much hype about Korea. Korea this, Korea that. Korea is great! I love Korea! I was told on many, many occasions that shopping and food in Korea is second to none. The price is not even an obstacle.

Rightfully, rightfully so.

It's beautiful. The people are friendly, and to my surprise, I'm not having nearly as much trouble getting around as I anticipated. I knew that I had a lot to expect when I came here, but I honestly didn't expect this. I was sick the day before and thought that my days here would be miserable.

Boy, I was wrong.

The only real hang-up I have about here is the cold. It is so, so cold! Seriously. Anyway, enough of my bickering, and more recounting! Mum was still feeling pretty sick, so dad and I spent the day at Myeong-Dong. I didn't think we were staying so close to town. By taxi, it takes literally about 5 minutes (unless there's peak-hour traffic, which I fortunately experienced today..) to get there from our hotel. The concierge guy (I don't really know the technical term) is extremely helpful! His English is pretty great (just comparing it to my Korean, which is restricted to "anyeong ha seo" and "sarang hae yo"- not even sure about the spelling #yolo) and he showed us exactly how to get everywhere!

I only really wanted to see a cat cafe, but we ended spending the entire day in the complex. The first thing we saw was Zara. Right next to it was H&M in Noon Square shopping centre. The quality of Zara clothes is actually really good. I saw literally about 10 things that I wanted, and almost cried trying to restrict myself. I'll get things on the way back. I promised myself that much.

The cat cafe that we went to was actually quite difficult to find. We had ask to like 5 different people for directions. Maybe it was just a really bad sense of direction running in the family, but usually I have a pretty decent one. Oh well. An off day for me, perhaps? It ended up being on the 6th floor of this pretty small building next to Pizza Hut. There was a helpful sign but I totally missed the actual building.

I must say I kind of hyped up the cat cafe more than I should have. A lot more. The cats were gentle but definitely not keen to be petted. Like, if you petted them they usually just ran away. Or fell asleep. Either or, they weren't too affectionate. I don't blame them though. If I were a cat, I wouldn't want to be taunted with toys and chased after all day. No way.

The entrance fee was 8000 won, which is just under AUD$8.00 and it came with a free drink. I got a hot chocolate because it was actually freezing. The hot chocolate was amazing. I think they put in condensed/carnation milk because it was actually great. There were also a set of rule outlining what we could and couldn't do. Basically, you could pet the cats and play with the toys while taking photos and that's about it. THEY WERE SO CUTE THOUGH. Upon entrance, we had to exchange our shoes for slippers and sanitise our hands. I'm pretty sure this is standard procedure in any sort of pet cafe.

We spent about an hour here just taking photos while slowly sipping on our drinks and then it was time to take off. I spend the next allotment of time browsing the skincare shops along the strip. When people say Korea is really big on skincare, you should really believe them. I saw at least 3 of each skincare shop in the precinct. Seriously. I went to Etude House and almost died there. I'd never heard of it before, but apparently it's pretty popular.

Masks with hyaluronic acid, collagen.. BB cream, eyeliner, concealer, brushes, more masks, nail polish.. you name it and it'll be there. Everything is so cheap too! The packaging is adorable and I will definitely come back there and buy my heart's content on the way back to Australia. No way am I missing out on that! I just didn't want to weigh myself down by buying everything first and then having no weight in America and.. it'll just be messy. Most of the shops give free samples just for browsing the shop. I spent legitimately like 3 minutes in each and took the sample. It's great. They also give samples when you buy stuff! Love it. So different to home. I'm pretty sure you have to squeeze and beg to get samples back home.

Before leaving Myeong-dong, I went back to H&M and bought a pair of these awesome jeans. I didn't get to take a photo of it, but I'm sure I'll be wearing them in the next couple of months and take a photo. Getting back to it, they were 13000 won, which is about AUD$13.00. LIKE. SERIOUSLY. Pretty much everything was on sale and discounted very reasonably too. I will certainly be visiting it on my way back. I guess their old Summer stock is on sale. Oh well. More for me!

We were about to get a taxi home, but I pointed out that there was an underground shopping centre in the subway. I'm glad we went down that way. It was amazing. All Korean souvenirs, lighting shops, suit shops, watch shops.. pretty much everything, was down there. Somewhere along the line, the underground shopping centre connected to the Lotte Plaza underground centre, which was absolutely stunning. Completely surpassed my expectations. There were literally like a hundred shops there - most of them were eateries, but there were some bakeries, macarons, mochi and these beautiful cakes. Not to mention a complete supermarket. Ugh. Totally amazing.

I dragged mum out to come with us to dinner. Needless to say, we returned to this place and had the most amazing dinner. It was so cheap too! I had to sleep early in order to wake up at.. 6:30am (!!!!!!!!!!!!) for the DMZ tour. In -11 degree he- cold. Absolutely freezing. It was snowing and I couldn't even feel my fingers.

I'll be catching up on Vampire Diaries for now! Lots of love. <3

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