2:07 pm in [3WF] Kristen Hoosier
I know it’s been a while since I last posted something new, and even then, I sorta promised to blog about my experiences while exploring Korea. Many of you know I was sick for like a week or two, so I guess that’s enough proof to show why I’ve been largely absent. As for the title of this entry, you’ll find out a little more about it as you read on.
So today, my mother and I went to Itaewon for a few hours. I mentioned it a while back when mum asked where I’d like to go inside Seoul, but it never really was at the top of my list. Nonetheless, I did have some curiosity as to what the area was all about and why it’s so well known, especially to foreigners. And anyway, my mom had her own reasons for wanting to go to Itaewon.
Since we currently reside in Apgujeong, we had to walk about 13 minutes or so to the nearest subway station, which was apgujeong yeok. From there, we went to Yaksu, and then transferred to another route to our destination, Itaewon. I was so tempted by the small ddeok jib vendors in the subway area. If you don’t know, I’m a huge glutton when it comes to ddeok~ But since I’m already kinda fat, I think it’s best to stay away from it when I can control my stomach lol.
When we arrived in Itaewon, I really didn’t know what there was to do, but my mom gave me a little insight as to what it’s all about. She says it’s home to many foreigners, and that’s very apparent once you emerge from the underground subway. There are Turkish shops, American shops, Italian, French, Japanese, Pakistani, Indian… And there are even little squares along the sidewalk that show what nationalities you can find in Itaewon, kind of similar to what you’d find on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I eventually found out why my mom wanted to come here. For those who don’t know, which is probably all of you, since I don’t say too much about my mom personally, she grew up in Seoul, though she lived a few years way down south in a place called Geochang, which is another place on my mom’s list of areas to visit. Anyway, when she was in her late teens, she’d go to Itaewon every few days to visit her friend who lived there, and they’d eat at a nearby chicken restaurant. When she came of age, she met my dad, and they’d go on dates in Itaewon, and one of their favorite places to eat was a place called Twilight Zone. So my mom took me through some streets and down memory lane; she directed my attention to the fire station she always passed, to the shop which used to house one of her favorite hair salons, to the same vendor who sold her an oriental jewelry chest as a gift for her mother-in-law so many years ago. And she took me to Twilight Zone, the restaurant which holds so many memories of my parents on many dates.
I was pretty surprised to find that it was still there, considering just about everything else she remembered from 20-some years ago was no longer running or in operation. I especially loved Twilight Zone’s advertisement – Open 25 Hours. xD Unfortunately, it wasn’t open at the time, as it usually opens its doors in the afternoon. So we just settled for a nearby noodle shop. Since it was really quite hot, I ordered naengmyun, which I’m sure you all know I absolutely love! Afterwards, we purchased Turkish ice cream, which is so deliciously unique and strangely sticky. It’s got to be the funnest ice cream I’ve ever had, for sure!
We walked around a bit more, and then headed back the way we came, down the subway and back to Yaksu.
On our way from Yaksu to Apgujeong, something interesting happened, though I suppose it wasn’t at all the case for the old man involved. As you probably know, many of the subway carts in Seoul are very packed, and finding a seat is almost as likely as winning the lottery. The cart my mom and I were in was just about filled to the brim, so I was kind of stuck to the area immediately in front of one of the side doors, which isn’t the best spot to be in since each stop means more people want to cram in past you. And since it’s a subway, not much time is given between the time the doors open to let people in and when they close, so you’ll see people running down the stairs and across the platform to catch the subway if they’re not already in front of the doors when it comes by.
At one of the stops, an elderly man took his time getting to the doors, and I guess he wasn’t fully aware of the situation, because he got stuck in the doors and he hardly noticed! He attempted to walk forward a bit, but the doors wouldn’t let him pull much further! I looked around at the cart, which was full, mind you, but no one moved. They just stared, some with a bit of fright in their eyes, ultimately deciding to just continue looking. As I was standing right by the doors, I pulled and pulled on him, and eventually the doors let him in a bit more, only to snag onto his backpack, so I pulled and pulled more, and he finally got through and walked on over to the elderly section of the subway, which still had no more vacant seats.
I felt good, though. Some people even smiled at me, while others gave me strange looks, probably because I’m another one of them dumb foreigners who don’t know much about subway etiquette. I’m sure the doors would have sensed that someone or something was stuck in-between the doors and would have opened for him anyway, but I wasn’t going to count on that! At least I tried and did something.
So that was basically my adventure for the day. I ended up eating more ice cream later on lol. Thank goodness for the heat! It gives me plenty of excuses to buy ice cream.