Taken during one of my “I’m awesome!” moments.
I awoke at six, and the force of realizing where I was hit me like a train. I was so excited, yet also nervous, wavering between “I don’t want to DO this anymore!” and “I can’t believe I’m this awesome. Look what I did!”
First I went to the convenience store and had banana milk and coffee for breakfast. Then I was off to I-Park Mall, where I figured I could find a converter. That was first on my list, since battery levels were running low.
It was a little confusing once I was there, since the mall is on multiple levels and the digital mall area is across a broad crosswalk. Oh yeah, and I spotted a Hooters. Way to go, Korea. I’d be curious to see the staff, actually…
I was too early, not remembering that malls open later than 8am (durr), so I sat at another café nearby and ordered peach sweet tea. For those of my readers who are familiar with the American South, the drink tasted like Sonic’s peach tea. Weird.
After the mall opened I walked around the shops and restaurants, got some severe sticker shock, and finally headed down to E-Mart. I had decided against navigating the enormous digital mall with its thousands of booths, but I knew E-Mart was basically a Wal-Mart, so I thought they’d have converters. After getting one, I headed to my next destination – Times Square Mall.
Outside Yeongdeungpo Station.
I arrived in good time at Yeongdeungpo Station. I was starving by then, but I was overwhelmed by foreign-ness, and was wary of trying to figure out a Korean restaurant. So I went to the TGI Friday’s by the Lotte Dept. Store. I know, American food while in Korea. But I hadn’t had that in almost a year, and it sounded good. Plus, there was some drunk dude lying on the ground outside. Gotta be a good sign.
Actually it was a really awkward experience. The waiters spoke pretty good English but I think they were afraid of me – and I’ve heard that Korean etiquette requires the customer to actively get the attention of the waiter, but this was an American restaurant, and I was foreign, so…I was confused. I just sat for a while after eating, pretending to be doing things and really just waiting for someone to notice me. They did, and I skedaddled as fast as I could. Also, that restaurant was dang expensive. I got the lunch special for under $10US, but the normal prices were anywhere from $10-$50, and most were in the $20-$30 range. What? I thought TGIF was a casual place.
After that I headed out to find Times Square Mall. It was a large mall, similar to I-Park, full of too expensive boutiques and outlets, lots of restaurants, and beautiful people. I found some souvenirs at a stationary store and then decided to see Man of Steel. I had planned to see a movie anyway, since it was supposedly a really nice theater. I wasn’t over impressed though. The movie was terrible, which didn’t help, but the 3D made my eyes hurt and the screen wasn’t that big. At least it killed three hours.
Then, finally, I had Korean food. For dinner I headed down to the basement level where they have many little counters that you can sit at and eat. I passed by some kimbap and dessert places and was staring at a meat bowl when the nice older lady smiled and nodded at me. It was all the encouragement I needed. I ordered the shredded beef bowl and sat down.
The meal consisted of beef, rice, and ginger in the bigger bowl, kimchi, and miso soup. It was goood. Just what I had been wanting. Only $7US too!
So that was my first full day in Korea. I spent it in malls, not getting lost, figuring out the Metro, and getting used to hearing Korean.