Sunday, December 23, 2012

Korea Part 3: Gyeongbokgung/Hongdae

Greetings from LA! Apologies for the late post. I've been jetlagged and genuinely just exhausted. I'm still completely used to Australian time, so I fell asleep at 6am this morning local time which is about right.. midnight in Australia. Gahh, it sucks. ANYWAY, I should be complaining about LA in other posts. I hate being so behind and wanting to be up to date. Oh well. My fault completely.


It was a beautiful day. We were originally going to take a palace/temple tour but lol.. to be honest I don't mind visiting landmarks and monuments, but personally, if I've seen one palace, I've seen them all. Not the biggest history fanatic - all Asian palace/temples look somewhat similar. Sure, the architecture is beautiful but like everything else, I get sick of too much of it. I'm so thankful dad decided to just visit the biggest palace - Gyeongbokgung. God only knows how you pronounce it, but somehow we convinced the taxi driver that we knew what we were talking about. A+ for effort?

It was actually really grand. I'm glad we went. Despite the biting negative whatever temperature, it was a beautiful day. I still can't believe how cold it is. I said that I'm a temperature tolerant person!

We were fortunate enough to see the change over of the guard protecting the palace. I'm 100% sure that this is now just a tourist attraction, but it probably has something symbolic in there too.

-hours later-

I'm still jetlagged. It's literally like 5am in the morning and I haven't slept since I woke up at 2:30. I've had literally about 2 hours of sleep tonight and I'm actually dying. On a side note, I absolutely hate the internet here. Part of the reason this post is delayed is because the photos wouldn't upload. Like.. they did, and then the connection cut out.. and then along the way the photos disappeared from the uploaded list and blahblahblah just.. yeah no.

We weren't allowed to go inside the palace but I don't think we needed to. We could take photos from the outside and peer in and that's pretty much all that mattered. Let's have no quarms about it - this place is absolutely huge. There's literally like 5 gates to every building and a billion other gardens and rooms and what not. I'm 800% exaggerating, but you get what I mean. There was a folk museum about 100m past the main building. Outside it were these zodiac figures and my being me, I decided to take the opportunity to my advantage.

There was even more walking to be done. Just when we thought we'd seen it all, more monuments just popped out of nowhere. Photo opportunity, no? I attempted to imitate the facial expressions on the statues. I think I did a pretty good job imo.

ANDDDDDD that was the end of Gyeongbokgung. We finally took a cab to Hongdae because Fi told me to go there and she said there was a Hello Kitty cafe in the precinct. No freaking way was I missing out on that! I googled it up a few nights before and I saw mixed reviews. "Slow service, mediocre food/drinks but cute interior"seemed to be the general consensus I gained from reading everything. Oh well. Take everything with a grain of salt!

Hongdae was.. different to what I expected. It was much less tourist-oriented and I certainly wasn't expecting cars to be driving down the street as we were walking. They weren't going all that slowly, either. Slightly worrying. Like, we went to a place for lunch and there was absolutely no English on the menu. We had to get someone eating there to help us order. #touriststatus

After lunch, I went to Etude House because we forgot to buy cleanser. I bought a whole lot of other stuff too. It was so crowded. I think there was another tour group there or something because like no one in there was speaking Korean. They were rude and pushy too. Oh well. Outside, there was a guy WHO HAD THE CUTEST DOG. I'm pretty sure it's a husky. Oh man. Can't deal.

And after walking around for a bit, we decided that it was time to give the Hello Kitty cafe a visit to escape the cold.

One thing is definitely for sure: the presentation is immaculate. I loved it! I'm a real sucker for cute things, if you haven't noticed already. I had half an expectation for below-average food, so when I bit into my caramel waffle, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe everyone else had gone on a bad day, or maybe I was the exception. Who knows. The service was a bit slow, but then again, there were 2 people working and the entire place was full. The upstairs area was nicer, but there weren't any seats.

Actually, if anything was disappointing, it was the hot chocolate. Maybe it was because I was taking a billion photos while it cooled down, but even so, it should have been able to stay hot during that time. I wouldn't even call it a hot chocolate - it was more of a lukewarm, tepid chocolate. Oh well. It was still cute.

We spent.. I don't even remember how long.. a long time there. Mostly photo taking, but hey, how many Hello Kitty cafes do you see around?! By this time, it was pretty much time to go home. I had a quick look in the Zara but I quickly realised that it was overshadowed by Myeongdong's Zara and made an escape. I saw the world's nicest pants though. Will definitely be going back there to collect!

Did I mention that cars are just casually parked in the laneway?

It was dinner time. We went to Lotte Plaza and there were the most beautiful lights outside the building.

And with that done, I'll see you all in Las Vegas! .. to post about LA. Wow. Yep. Totally behind.

Lots of love! <3

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