[Seoul] ~ Firsts on my last day

For on my last day, there were firsts. – 03.25.13

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20130327_180031-smallI originally intended my last day in Seoul to be lazy as I realize I would not want to go somewhere far. I was paranoid with being late at the airport so I decided I had to be there 3 hours before the flight and that means leaving my guesthouse at around 5PM. (When I told my friend about this, he was like, “are you going shopping?” Haha. Other guests at my accommodation were surprised as well.)

The ‘plan’ for the day was to spend time in a cute cafe. I have read in a blog many weeks back about this cute cafe called Lazy Cat Cafe in Hapjeong so I decided to spend my lazy day there. But before that, there was a place I had to go back to because I knew I just had to remember. Of the many places I intended to see, it has been my thing for the past days that I could not see it. But this place, for the first time in this trip, I looked for it and found it – without getting lost. It was such a wonderful feeling I have to say.

Last Day

Just another side story – I like to believe too that the subway never fails. But on my way to that place, we had to stop and we had to transfer. I didn’t know what happened but there was an announcement in Korean and though my subway map did not say that was my station, I noticed that everyone was standing up and going out. I silently laughed at myself because though clueless, I just followed what everyone was doing. Another first.

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I don’t exactly know what happened here. But let’s follow their lead, huh?

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I went to Hapjeong to search for the cafe and got lost again  – big time. Armed with an Evernote entry with a map with place names written in Korean only, I searched for that cafe. I got extra eager when I realized that a landmark is another location shoot of my favorite drama. I was like – “Oh, that is also the place where Mae Ri and My Kyul had their soju!”. It made sense as I realized that Hapjeong could actually lead me to Hongdae area as I started to see familiar signs that said Jandari and Hongik University. So I just let myself get lost despite a sunny but windy and chilly day.

Lazy Cat maps

What I relied on while searching for the cafe

(Photos not mine. Grabbed from an interesting blog – http://www.cuteinkorea.com)

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As usual, I just let myself get lost in the streets, occasionally looking at my Hapjeong map but never really absorbing what was there. There were moments of panic being despite being a sunny day, it was a bit windy that day that for some reason, it was a cold day and I could feel my hands again freezing. (And I discovered this technique of touching my cheeks when my hands felt cold. Turns out I have warm cheeks o_O)

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Oh boy, it was quite windy.

Hapjeong Shops

Some shops with interesting names. Coppola sounds familiar but I thought it was Sofia. And “Bobo”, by the way, means dumb in Filipino

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Psy

There you are again, Mr Oppa Gangnam Style.

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Hapjeong Cafes

More cafes in the area. I got curious most with “Cafe. Get & Show” but they were to open in 30 minutes and I was impatient so I decided to continue walking.

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Took this photo as I thought this was the Mary Stayed Out All Night drinking place which had that apple tree in the background

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Photo not mine. 

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More aimless walking until surprise! – a familiar street that was some sort of a parking space. I was feeling a bit hungry so when I saw a restaurant that seemed open (as most food places in the area were still closed and that was already 12 noon! Maybe Koreans rarely eat lunch outside?), I gave it a try. I was up for something really spicy and something to warm me up on a cold day so I chose some spicy soup with some dumplings. It was my first decent meal alone in the city and it turned out to be a good choice.

Bukchon Food

Tried this Bukchon restaurant. Saw on the outside that a TV show was done here or it was featured on a show. Anyhoo, couldn’t understand because it was in Korean and I was relying on photos only o_O

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“Who am I ?” That is the question.

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20130327_180031-smallI confirmed further that it was a familiar street because I again came across this Sangsangmadang building. It was quite difficult to forget as it was edgy. I just passed by this place twice on my first day but never really got inside though I knew from my online reading that this was a gallery slash shop of artsy but a bit pricey pieces. But I said to self, “nothing wrong with some window shopping, right?”

So after some playing with the mirrors I again found, I went inside the shop called Design Square which was on the first floor. Taking photos is not allowed so I have no souvenir shots of the most interesting pieces. It was a well-lit gallery and there was Beatles music playing so it was fun just going around the shop. What I find most interesting are the sections which feature certain kinds of do-it-yourself art, e.g paper robots called Momot. I was tempted to buy one of each but at typical prices of more than KRW 10,000, the cheapo in me just kept on disagreeing. Hence, I just grabbed one as souvenir.

Sangsangmadang outside

Outside Sangsangmadang. Was the rabbit taking a picture of the butt? Haha. 

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Play with balls

Again and again. This distraction with mirror just kept on happening.

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Sangsangmadang

I remember spending some time ‘reading’ those materials on some schedules, film showings etc.

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When I saw that there was a cafe on the upper floor, I wanted to give it a try. After all, that was my ‘plan’ for the day, right? Just sit back, relax, drink coffee while maybe write down some travel notes. So up I rode the elevator. Then I realized it was kind of a trap because the elevator led straight to the cafe. Cafe was elegant, clean but I was actually looking for something that is more unique, and probably one that is a bit more with an ‘indie’ vibe, if there is such a thing. But yes, since I was kind of trapped, I came in and ordered my coffee.

Sangsangmadang cafe

Sangsangmadang Cafe

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Cafe

Those that are hanging look like brains, right? It was a bit creepy for me. 

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I did not stay long at the cafe because my feet were again itching to walk more. I was targeting to go back to the Hongik University subway so I can maybe go to Myeongdong again when I saw what I intended to see that day – Lazy Cat Cafe!!! Another lovely surprise, it was! It took me quite a few seconds to realize because it kind of looked different on the photo I saw online.

It also did not say there that one has to take a few stair steps down to get to the cafe. So I went down and was greeted by no one. Just some really cute cat items on sale. I actually felt creepy at first because I could see no one in the cafe. I could not even see the cashier or where you order your coffee. But the items were so cute, I still spent some minutes looking at it when a girl came out. So I went to the cafe, chose a spot and asked for their menu. I already had my meal and coffee so I honestly did not know what to buy. In contrast with the outside, it was warm and cozy inside that I thought I could have some cold drink. I chose Peach iced tea then.

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WootLazy Cat Cafe!

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Here are all the cat items on sale. 

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And some non-cat items too! Like those shirts, and some handcrafted items.

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Lazy Cat Menu

Such a personalized menu. Lovely. 

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Because I already had my coffee. Refreshing.

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So I found my spot in a corner, drank and from time to time, was taking pictures of the place when the owner came near me. I had to ask of course whether it was OK to take pictures and she said it was OK. She sat down beside me and we talked. Though I intend to travel solo, I rarely speak with other people or in other words, try to be friendly. But I just had positive feelings about the owner because she seemed nice that without intending too, I can say that I met a new friend. Language was a barrier of course but we chatted for some time. She talked about her life in general, what keeps her busy, about her hometown, her love for photography and that she actually has a cat with a name similar-sounding to mine – Taeng Gu / 탱구.

I wanted to stay longer to chat more but I had to keep going as I had to buy some stuff. I checked out again her items on sale and bought some cute notebooks as souvenirs. As a gift, she gave me a postcard with a picture of her cat – one that she personally took. I was thankful. I met a friend while on travel. Hmm that was another first.

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Now that’s the ambiance and vibe I was looking for. That thing in the middle kept the place warm.

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I like the beautiful clutter of the place. I wanted my place to look like this!

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These are on sale too.

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Was that the Little Prince? 

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More pictures of the lazy cat.

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I want something like this! 

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Ya! Is this some kind of a love triangle?

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There’s an adorable lamp too. If I am not mistaken, I think the notebook and pen are for guests to doodle on.

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Everything’s so cute. Look at that house!

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And all these little stuff.

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Bye bye lazy cat

Bye bye, Cafe Lazy Cat! I hope to see you again~

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20130327_180031-smallAfter Lazy Cat, I targeted to be back at Hongdae and I could not remember how but somehow, I managed to be back there.  I did more walking, passed by more interesting grafitti in Hapjeong, finally was able to buy my friend’s Binch in two convenience stores (yes two! because the first one I went to had only one left haha), found myself a really cute cat necklace and tried fish cake from a stall with a kind vendor. I am pretty sure he could not understand English but he tried his best to tell me how to eat odeng, i.e. that I have to put in that sauce/dip. He seemed to me like a really warm person

More graffiti

Wee. More street art.

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Cute! 

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Odeng

Finally tried fish cake / odeng 

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I went back into the dorm to get my stuff a few minutes before 5PM. I said goodbye and though I have said it to my roommate Rumi before I left earlier in the morning, we still saw each other when I came back. We even got to take pictures together.

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With Brandon, the guesthouse’ co-owner. Too bad I had no picture with his sister Ellie

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That’s Rumi on the left. Hmm and the one my left is another guest whose name I don’t know. It was kind of cute though, right?

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20130327_180031-smallI had so much time to spare at the airport that I even got to eat a decent meal, do last minute shopping, take photos for a stranger (hmm it had to be two because the first one turned out blurry – thanks to my shaky hands!) and go to the museum at the airport. Yes, I actually find the idea of going to museum in an airport but I was so bored I thought it would not hurt to try it. It turned out pretty interesting though because they have this spot where you can learn about your name in Hangul. I already know how to write mine but it was funny how they were missing a very important placeholder so I could not complete mine and without that placeholder, my name is “Tae” which means “poo” in Filipino. Haha. Tsk tsk.

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Bibimbap! My last meal in Korea for this trip 😦

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Airport Museum

Museum in Incheon Airport. 

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Free Event

Hmm a free event! 

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My flight was delayed for about 45 minutes (Cebu Pacific never fails! Tsk tsk) so I just sat there listening to music, checking the usual stuff online and feeling both sad and happy – sad because I am leaving and do not know when I can come back but happy with all the memories I take with me. Goodbye, Korea!

A Tripadvisor review you may want to check out: 

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