Odds and Ends

I realized the other day that I haven’t posted in a while. On the one hand, it’s been a (mostly) quiet week, but on the other hand, I’ve got a grab bag of pictures and experiences to share. So, while I try to work off my hangover from last night’s excursion to the British Embassy for drinks, I will write up a quick post.

Last Friday, Domingos and I went to Philonature, a spa in the U. S. Embassy Association building. We had really incredible massages. The experience really deserves its own post, and maybe I will do that next time we go. Those young Korean ladies were really strong, and although I was extremely sore the next day from the deep tissue massage, my body felt incredible and all my knots completely disappeared. They also threw in a free facial which felt wonderful. Hopefully, I will pay a little more attention next time and describe all the many different steps of the massage experience.

Saturday, we went to the National Museum outside the visitor’s gate. It was a gray day with intermittent rain, so an indoor activity seemed advisable. It’s a huge complex, and we decided to just do a small part of it and come back again for more. The museum is free, and we enjoyed looking at the Sculpture & Crafts Gallery as well as the Calligraphy & Painting Gallery.

Plaza outside the National Museum
Plaza outside the National Museum
Inside the museum
Inside the museum
Beautiful gold writing on black paper
Beautiful gold writing on black paper

 

On Monday, Domingos was off for Columbus Day, so we decided to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace. We took the subway from the station outside our gate, Noksapyeong, and transferred at Yaksu to take the 3 line to Gyeongbokgung station. We arrived just in time for the changing of the guard.

Changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Then, instead of touring the palace, we decided to get something to eat first as we were pretty hungry. We walked a ways and stumbled upon Om, an Indian restaurant that was pretty much deserted. We had an excellent lunch there, a thali with chicken tikka, butter chicken, and saag paneer, as well as mango yogurt, rice (but short grain Korean rice, which was weird), and naan.

 

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Then we went back to the palace. We thought we might do one of the free tours, but we were in a more desultory mood, so we just wandered the grounds and looked at the beautiful buildings and decided to come back again and be more dedicated tourists next time. One interesting item was that entrance (cheap, less than $3) is free if you’re dressed in a hanbok (auto correct wants that to be handbook). There were many young teens in hanboks, which was fun to see.

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I could take a million pictures like this, but this scene in particular made us giggle, as two young women took selfies for at least 5 minutes. Yes, I have taken selfies since I’ve been here, but Koreans do indeed take it to a whole new level of awesomeness.

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On Wednesday, I ventured out to get my viola fixed at String-in, an outpost of Reuning & Son. It was a long subway ride with a transfer, and then a 10 minute walk to the shop, which is right across from Seoul High School. I felt very proud of myself for venturing out alone and finding where I was going!

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Prices here are much, much more expensive. It cost me almost $200 to get a seam glued and my fingerboard dressed. I asked how much bow rehairs were so that I can budget properly and was told they are just over $100. Yikes! The shop is owned by a Korean woman and her American husband, and they were very nice and did a great job with my instrument, which I picked up the next day.

We found a decent pho restaurant in Itaewon one night last week.

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And now I think I’m all caught up! We’re still dealing with the leak, supposedly they are coming next Thursday to finally fix it. We did get our unaccompanied baggage yesterday, but there’s not much of use in there since we didn’t expect that shipment until November. No sign of household goods yet. *sigh*

Last night we were invited to the British Embassy for drinks. It was a fun night with fun people but I learned to never trust anything purple in a shot glass. Oof!

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