Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 6

The last night of the trip.
Let's see what Seoul Sellers liked about Seoul.

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 5

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 5

Our first activity of the day was visiting the Seoul Design Fair at the old Olympic stadium.  It was really impressive to see all of the exhibits and examples of how Korean’s are implementing creative design techniques to solve problems or improve society.  For example, they had a “bench” design contest where Korean designers competed in making an environmentally friendly, efficient, attractive, and comfortable sitting contraption which would be used somewhere in the city.  There were so many unique solutions to the “bench” design and I was blown away by some of the prototypes.

*see Seoul Design Fair video

Another thing that I found really interesting was the term “Upcycling”.  I had heard of recycling before but upcycling differed because the whole point was to use materials that would normally be thrown away to create something new and more valuable than before.  They had an upcycling flea market where people had created clothing, jewelery, household décor, and other objects of value from old “throw away” materials.
I also really liked seeing the culinary design entries.  They had so many interesting platings and they definitely made me hungry for lunch.  I wished I could read the signs that described what each entry was exactly.

We got in a cab and headed for Myeong Dong which was another busy tourist area where people enjoyed shopping and other tourist activities. We went to a restaurant where the wall was covered in post-it notes that patrons had left little messages on.
After lunch we took a cooking class to learn how to make our very own Kimchi in Kimchi Academi House.  I didn’t realize what an important part of the Korean diet Kimchi played but apparently many Koreans eat it for every meal of the day. 

*see Kimchi Academy video

We then headed over to the Seoul Medical Tourism Center.  Apparently the prices for various medical treatments including plastic surgery are very affordable here.  People travel from all over the world to have various medical procedures performed.

*see Seoul Medical Tourism Center video

We concluded our day by taking a long stroll down Cheonggyecheon which flowed right through the center of Seoul.  There were a lot of people walking the path next to the river and we saw examples of Korean art on display and even a live art expression piece where a woman was walking through the icy stream and braiding colorful ribbons of fabric.  It was very unusual but a pleasant surprise to see a public display of artistic expression amongst the city streets of Seoul.

*see Cheonggyecheon video

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 4

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 4

Today we got to visit a Buddhist temple, Bongeunsa.  I knew right when I entered that I was going to like this place.  The buildings were so beautifully designed and I could see they paid great attention to detail.   I was told that there were no nails used in the construction of the temple and that each piece was crafted to perfectly fit in with its neighbors to create a sturdy and smooth appearance.

*see Bongeunsa video

As we walked through a lush landscape past various prayer rooms and colorful streamers overhead, we eventually came to a courtyard with a fountain in the center.  We lit a candle and placed it into the fountain followed by lighting a stick of incense and making a wish for the future.  I was told this was a customary ritual often performed at Buddhist temples.  In the background I could hear a monk leading a group of people in their morning prayers.  I remember feeling very calm and relaxed as we explored the temple grounds.

After the temple we ventured to COEX which is Seoul’s largest underground shopping mall.  I could tell right away that this was no ordinary shopping mall.  It contained hundreds of stores, a multiplex movie theatre, aquarium, two food courts, and several stages for live performances.  We explored the mall and I particularly enjoyed checking out some of the new cell phones, mp3 players, and other gadgets at the Samsung store.
Brandon, our tour guide, also took the opportunity to introduce me to my new favorite beverage, “banana milk”.  Banana milk tasted just like the name implies,  a sweet flavor of bananas with the smooth consistency of milk which created a refreshing and flavorful experience that made me smile with each gulp.
*see Hyundai Department video

After a couple hours at COEX we headed to Itaewon to visit the famous Hamilton Shirts custom tailor shop.  I was told Hamilton Shirts was the best place in Seoul to get custom tailored clothing made. Celebrities and international travelers alike chose Hamilton Shirts because of their wide selection of fabrics, their great prices, and quality of work.  I wound up getting two custom shirts made and an Australian wool suit.

*see Itaewon video

After Itaewon we went to a small café overlooking the Han River called the Rainbow Café. They had an assortment of organic teas and treats for us there.  It was a nice view of the river and nearby parks and trails where we saw locals biking, running, and working out.
That night we checked the Hotel Popgreen.  We got settled and then walked to a nearby restaurant where we ate a spicy yet tasty dinner and drank a few bottles of a sweet Korean wine.

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying various flavored soju drinks and exploring the nightlife around our hotel.  It was a great way to finish the day and I began to feel a lot closer with my fellow Seoul Sellers.

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 3

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 3

Our first stop was a cultural experience in progress – the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park that is currently being built on the grounds of an old statium with the goal of being one of the worlds largest fashion centers. It was stated to be finsished already for the world design fair being held while we were visiting, but the ETA has been pushed to 2011. Sadface.

*see Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park video
Dave and I almost got lost but thanks to the hospitality of the locals in Seoul we got right back on track to meet the rest of the crew.
We went to the mall in the Dongdaemun Market where Crystal bought pretty much everything except for the extra luggage she would need to haul it back home. The only thing I picked up at the mall was food, which followed the trend so far of being better than what we have in the US, and that's not just American-mall-food standards.

We went to Unhyeongung which was formerly the residence of Prince Regent Daewon-gun, ruler of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th century. Dave and I got to parade in full royal attire and waved to all of our patrons (or other tourists depending on one's perspective). I wish at work I would have someone to carry me on my mobole cubicle chair but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

*see Unhyeongung video

Then we all watched Korean-pop until we died:
This was a rediculous experience that got me pumped like a boy-band-love struck 16-year old girl whose only Christmas wish was a sweaty discarded garment from her favorite band member. DID WE GET TO TOUCH THE LEAD SINGER?! Yes.
That was an exhausting day its only day 3, but we're all still excited for the rest of this week which is already going by too fast. See you all soon.

*see Hongdae video

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Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 2

Sell Your Seoul Trip 5 - Day 2 We woke up this morning with the sweet smell of bacon and toasted bagels emanating from the kitchen.  The lady who owned the guest house was kind enough to make breakfast for us after our long voyage to Korea.  After breakfast we went to CALT to rent some iPhones which we could use to help us find tourist attractions on our trip.

*see iTourSeoul iPhone video

We had a special treat for lunch in store for us.  Our guides took us to a restaurant that specialized in octopus dishes.  We ordered octopus soup and spicy Bulgogi Octopus. I was amazed when our waitress approached our table with live octopus in a dish. She then cut up the octopus in front of us and put it in our soup. I can’t imagine another way to enjoy the freshest octopus possible. In another words, it was awesome! The soup tasted flavorful and filled our bellies.

We went to the Creative Arcade in Shindang Dong. Shindang Creative Arcade is a project to help educate the public about arts and culture of Korea. We saw lots of school children doing all sorts of arts and crafts. We were very lucky to join the group of children where we made our own design using glue and seashells fragments.

*see Sindang Creative Arcade video

Despite warnings from our friends and families, we partook in some of Seoul’s finest street food. One item in particular stood out. It was a fried pancake injected with sweet syrup. It reminded me of Saturday mornings and cartoons. It was AMAZING.

We went to N Seoul Tower and took an elevator to the top floor. Then we got to see the whole city in one place. It was BEAUTIFUL!

Then we went to Namsan Gugakdang. We dressed into traditional Korean garments and learned the secrets of the Korean tea ceremony. It was quite an experience because we drank hot tangerine green tea and fried sweet potatoes with rice pieces. The tea was very calming!

*see Namsan video

We went to go eat Bulgogi for dinner which was marinated beef with garlic and mushrooms. It was one of Korea’s most famous dishes. It tasted sweet and tender.

We ended the evening at a prestigious private karaoke club where we danced and sang our favorite songs. It was great to watch our cameraman rock out to a Korean pop.

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