Exploring the Myeongdong Shopping Streets in Seoul

Let’s do a recap of the day where I ordered enough fried chicken to feed a small family and took creepy photos on the subway in Seoul. I’ve been having a minor breakdown in Seoul and I’ve realised that six weeks of Korean lessons prior to arriving here was in fact, not enough. Seoul also appears (to me) to be a very social city and so it feels quite isolating to wander around on your lonesome, eating fried chicken by yourself and getting sauce all over your face without having anyone there to tell you. However, I’ve discovered that the cure for said lonely feelings is to sit in a cafe surrounded by other lonely people. As we speak, the people around me are all studiously tapping and writing away, reading furiously and I even saw a group of people downstairs coding in a big nerdy huddle. The future of this country is literally being developed in this very Starbucks, it feels so exciting. Here are some photos snapped on my journey of doing nothing but everything at the same time.

IMG_0061Streets of shops and restaurants go on for days in Myeongdong. 

IMG_0063Phone case frenzy

IMG_0070It started raining lightly and everyone went into full panic mode, people were practically throwing money at umbrella vendors and taking shelter.

IMG_0073Cleaning supplies so colourful that it would almost make me want to clean. Almost.

IMG_0045Here is an entire chicken I ordered and a giant bottle of beer. I wanted to try the real deal here in Korea considering I regularly eat Korean Fried Chicken in Melbourne. I successfully ordered in broken Korean and even asked for a bag so I could take away the other three quarters of the chicken that I couldn’t eat. Hello, left over fried chicken for dinner, anyone? I think I might sit in the shower and eat it so I don’t leave sticky-handprint-chicken-crumb marks all over my apartment. 

IMG_0047A sea of fried chicken restaurants in Myeongdong.

IMG_0037From one train, looking out to the other platforms.

IMG_0076City Hall Station.

IMG_0077I accidentally bought the T Money card bundle that is meant for couples. I now have an awkward matching train card for the oppa that I don’t have, so sad. I can’t imagine Myki coming out with a couples range. (Update: Shortly after I posted this, I fell in love with my now-Oppa!)

IMG_0081Reflection

IMG_0098Seoul Station

It’s my first time in Seoul and I’m already drunk

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My trip to Seoul started on a high note when my camera decided to be on some kind of freaky dystopian setting (see pics below). Schlepping my bags from Hong Kong to Korea was more of a hazed nightmare than a ‘this is real life and I’m alive’ situation. Yo, cities of the world, get some escalators? Get a lift? Just one or two? By the time I’d reached the train station near my Seoul Airbnb I was about ready to just leave my suitcase on the train. I mean, I didn’t have much hope of carrying it up the stairs anyway? Surely I can just pick it up on my way home? Alas, I pushed on with a level of strength and resilience that I wasn’t aware I possessed and arrived at my adorable apartment in Dongdaemun. I’m currently in shock and have had several existential crises today. It’s always so fun to realise just how BAD your language skills are! Just look at all that room for improvement and learning! More Seoul snaps to come once I figure out how the heck to get anywhere. Peace

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Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong

When I saw the queue to board the Victoria Peak tram at 10:30 this morning, I ducked and rolled for my life and got the hell out of there. Not because I don’t love waiting in the scorching heat to board an un-air-conditioned, clunky heap of metal, it’s just that I didn’t have a hat or very much sunscreen on and I’d seen a sign for the botanical gardens just minutes beforehand. It would be rude to NOT see which types of plants and birds they had. (Truth be told, I’m a huge fan of zoos and I can’t turn down a free inner city zoological experience). I quickly realised that my pale Irish skin and my weak little chicken knees were not so keen on zoological and botanical gardens, but I pushed on and found some red bin chickens and a beautifully mouldy stairwell. There were also a few instances where I wasn’t sure if I was sweating profusely or just crying a little bit (probably a cocktail of both).IMG_9846IMG_9885IMG_9889 2.jpgIMG_9899IMG_9901IMG_9908IMG_9872IMG_9888

Getting on a ferry without knowing where it was going in Hong Kong

… and I was hoping everyone else knew where they were going so I could pretend to fit in and just follow the crowds. I’m a huge sucker for a boat trip, I just love boats. I think it’s because I get the opposite of sea sick, I get sea-soothed. I just love the crusty taste of sea salt in my hair. If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong, I highly recommend just jumping on a sea vessel and praying you end up on dry land and not in the middle of a seedy pacific pirate drug deal. I think I had the other boat passengers fooled, they definitely looked at me and thought ‘wow that girl really knows where she’s going in life’. They weren’t wrong.

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I’m 85% sure I caught a ferry to Kowloon and I’m 15% sure that I will always make sure I know where I’m going when boarding a sea vehicle.

Arriving in Hong Kong

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I have arrived in Hong Kong and I have already sweated away half of my body fat. I only have one full day here so I am going to go out and make the most of it! I just spent an hour walking around the streets in Central Hong Kong taking photographs, which will be posted soon! So far, I’m loving the colours of the city and the work ethic of old people just pushing heavy things up steep hills! Where are they going with all of those heavy boxes? Do they all hang out together at the top of the hill and celebrate their good health? So many questions. So little time to find the answers!

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I drew this during some really minimal turbulence on the way here but I decided to exaggerate just how turbulent it was for the sake of a cute drawing.

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Blue city on the airport express train!

The Pre-Departure Post

img_0013-1Monday the 14th of August is the date I’ve been throwing into casual conversation a lot as of late. The date that I would fly to Hong Kong and begin my 6 month trip abroad in the hope that I would be challenged terribly and grow exponentially as a human being. Before I embark on this daunting experience, I wanted to write about my obsessive tendencies and introduce you to the organised chaos that is my brain. I’m not a spontaneous person, I mean, I’m writing this blog post well before I even do anything interesting… I’ve been packing for months, cleaning my clothes, editing my packing list, making sure that I have the perfect amount of clothing for each seasonal change I experience and ensuring that my skincare routine will not be disrupted throughout the trip. I will also be keeping a meticulous journal of every significant and insignificant thing that happens to me on this trip both digitally and paper-ly in an attempt to mark the exact moments that I felt I grew as a person and ultimately became the best version of myself. Don’t expect spontaneity on this blog, it will make it all the more exciting when something spontaneous does happen!!!! I hope to document my journey from Melbourne to Hong Kong to Seoul to Daejeon to Tokyo with photographs, illustrations and terrible English posts! Enjoy!