Sunny Day Adventures

Sunny days are rare here once fall hits. That’s one of the reasons everyone is constantly talking about the weather. We all appreciate the sun to its fullest, since we normally only get it during the summer.

Today was one such day.

Waiting for my ride in the warm sun and cool breeze

Waiting for my ride in the warm sun and cool breeze

With only one class to teach in the evening, I was free to procrastinate on my writing, and spend a day gallivanting around.

We started off with dim sum. It was a bit far away from my house, but totally worth it.

Western Lake Chinese restaurant on Victoria and 34th. Absolutely delicious. 20$ per person, with leftovers for everyone.

So much good food

So much good food

After a delicious start to the day, we decided to pamper ourselves at a nearby salon. Pedicures for all!

My feet have never been so soft. Nor have they been tickled quite this much in ages. None of us was able to resist laughing.

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It’s worth it for clean, massaged feet and pretty nails!

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Food, glorious food.

The best days are always the days that are filled with good food.

I love eating Korean food. It’s delicious.

But sometimes I get foreign food cravings. Yesterday was one such day.

I spent the day traveling around Seoul with my friends, eating amazing food, and sneaking in some shopping in between.

I started off in Gangnam at Butterfingers, where I ate the most amazing buttermilk pancakes.

Vanilla butter. Mmm.

With Vanilla butter. Mmm.

Then I went to Myeongdong, where I got Red Mango frozen yoghurt.

Red Mango

So yummy

And finally I ended in Itaewon, where I got amazing Thai food at Wang’s. The Green Curry and Pad Thai were delicious, and not Korean-ized, which is what I find happens with a lot of foreign foods such as Vietnamese Pho. The restaurant was really busy, and we waited quite a while for a table, but the food came very quickly, and it was well worth the wait.p20130324-000105

A happy stomach means a happy me.

I had to travel pretty far to get such a variety of foreign foods, but it is definitely worth it!

How long can you hold it?

In Korea, you can’t judge a restaurant by its bathroom. If you did, you’d never eat out.

I have to say that a lot of the bathrooms here are a little bit sketchy.

Not all of them, of course, but a great majority. Especially the public ones (though that’s not surprising. Most public bathrooms around the world leave much to be desired).

My favourite cafe has an awesomely clean bathroom.

The restaurant just up the street has one that’s barely presentable.

The bar across the street doesn’t even have a bathroom. You have to go outside and into the main building. This is unfortunately common. During the summer it’s no problem, but during the winter… well, just don’t drink too much beer and you should be able to last till you get home. Especially since they often have no toilet paper… or soap.

Back home, I definitely judged restaurants by how clean their bathrooms were. But here… it’s not quite a fair judgement. Amazing restaurants, and not-so-amazing bathrooms.

Not to mention how easily they get backed up. I flushed the toilet at a cafe in Gangnam, and it definitely overflowed. Scary stuff. It’s a countdown to see how quickly you can wash your hands and grab an employee.

Moral of the story? Always carry tissues and hand sanitizer.

And I think the squatting toilets are more sanitary, since you’re not actually touching anything. A least for females.

On a positive note, every subway station has multiple bathrooms, and most major attractions are around a subway station, so for anyone else who’s like me and is perpetually in need of a bathroom… you’re in luck.

And if your kid really has to go, but don’t want to trek all the way to the bathroom, well, you can just hold her up over the tracks while she pees.

Next thing you know, they’ll start using storks.

Everything is so ‘빨리빨리’ here. No time? Get it delivered! I bet they’d try to get time itself delivered if they could.

I bought a ring, but they had to resize it, so they delivered it to me a couple days later.

I get so many flyers for food delivery on my door. Chicken, pizza, you name it.

Can you imagine if they started delivering McDonald’s?

OH WAIT THEY DO. And you don’t even have to call them and use your worse than bad Korean.

Hmmm, why not use that as your 7:30am alarm? “Knock knock, breakfast is served” sounds like a great idea.

It’s so convenient. I love it. Even if it’s dangerously tempting all the time.

But seriously, next thing you know, they’ll start using storks to deliver babies right to your doorstep.

Beautiful Cafes

Standard Cafe

Standard Cafe

I come to this place often enough that they smile in slight recognition as I enter. And they speak to me using as much English as they can, because they know that I don’t speak the local language.

It’s warm inside, very warm. My glasses fog instantly. I shiver once as residual cold air kisses my skin farewell.

I order in broken Korean. They smile patiently.

It takes too long to translate the cost in my head, so I just hand them a large bill. The change I get back looks about right.

It’s a cozy cafe. The floor is dark, but the multi-coloured glitter embedded in the tiles makes the light dance. Rustic chairs and tables occupy the walls, surrounding the island bar.

Self-serve water and a chalkboard menu waves to me from the right. A raised platform of tables greets me from the left. I choose a window seat so that I can see the cloudless sky. I prefer summertime when I can sit outside.

Finally I am warm enough to remove my scarf and jacket. I settle down comfortably, and open my laptop. I love how fast the internet is here.

My order takes a while; they’re meticulous with their drinks. But when it arrives, it’s beautifully designed. A soft thank-you passes my lips. Any louder and I worry that they’ll be able to pick out even more mistakes in my pronunciation.

It’s a little bit more expensive than the other cafes around here, but I come here anyway. I like it here, though I’m not quite sure why I prefer it. Maybe it’s the good memories, maybe it’s the atmosphere. Or maybe it’s just the fruit and ice cream waffles.

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I love cafes. I love relaxing and writing, or reading, or studying, while sipping a delicious drink. Cafes here also tend to have amazing desserts, such as waffles or thick toast.

I was debating whether to post this here or in my Creative Writing blog, but in the end I decided that it fit better here.