Someone asked me what my favourite things to do in Korea were. I have a lot of favourite things to do so I narrowed them down to 10. Before we read, I think we should listen to Julie Andrews and her favourite things, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_PjaKkmTgQ
My list isn’t half as interesting as Wild Geese that fly with the moon on their wings but here it is anyway;
1. Drink tea with my friends; Monday to Friday is a haze of school and study and randomness so when the opportunity arrives to sit down, drink tea and have a laugh, I take it. I have so many great memories that have stemmed from all of us in one apartment drinking tea and having the craic. Since your friends are your family here and thankfully I’ve got some great friends, tea time is a great catch up time. As you can see in the picture, you never really know what’s going to happen at tea time……….
2. Play at a session; I love to play to my walls and I’m sure my walls appreciate it but there’s nothing like playing with real people. Having a few pints, a bit of craic and playing a few tunes is the most ideal way to spend any Sunday afternoon.
3. Be a tourist; There are loads of places I’ve never been to in Korea. I love nothing more than heading off to some museum, exhibition or random city, getting lost, play the tourist and encourage the people to practice their English. ” This picture was taken at Chuseok when we all headed over to Paju Samneung to check out the tombs. Just us and our cameras and Spuddy.
4. Fly Kites in Imjingak; Imjingak is an area with a park right before the border with the North. Tours to the DMZ usually stop there are there are interesting things to see like the North and stuff but the park there is fantastical. It’s a giant green area with a stage, some statues and it’s an ideal place to pass a day. It’s an even better place to fly kites. My friends and I went there recently on our day off and spent a wonderful afternoon picnicking and listening to the free concert. No kites in the pictures below I’m afraid but we look like we’re having a great time anyway.
5. Eat Galbi; Has anyone ever noticed that the most epic conversations always start over some delicious Galbi? Delicious meat, lots of side dishes, good people, random conversations. Galbi is where it’s all at. The picture below is as close to a Galbi picture as I could find.
6. Sing at the Norebang; I don’t know one person who doesn’t love the Norebang. Actually, I do, I just choose to ignore them (more singing time for me!) A night out is never really over until you’ve hit the Norebang. Cheap, cheerful, you can play the tambourines, dance, sing. You can sing in English, you can sing in Korean or Japanese or just play the tambourine. If you are at a luxury Norebang you can eat the snacks. Good times. I’d like to thank Cindy or Leana or whichever friend took this photo of our last trip to the Norebang.
7. Go to the cinema. For everyone who asks, yes the movies are in English. Well the foreign ones are. Apart from all that delicious popcorn in all those flavours, the thing I love best is being the only foreigners in the theatre. It’s 50 or so Koreans and 5 expats and you can tell because only we get the jokes (I guess they don’t translate well) so while we’re falling around laughing, the Koreans are laughing at us laughing.
8. Have random conversations; I’m not one for talking to strangers but sometimes you just can’t help it. You’re sitting on the subway and suddenly the person next to you wants to practice their English. I’ve spoken to some great characters. The adjummas who think I’d be a great match for their son, the old guys who tell you stories of the war, the adjusshis who are a little disappointed that you’re from Ireland and not somewhere they’ve actually heard of, the other adjussis who actually know loads about Ireland. The list goes on. Good times. Like the guy below. I met him in Malaysia, he was all over the red hair. Shame he knew nothing about “Iceland”
9. Learning Korean; I do complain about having to memorise all the vocab and grammar and so on but learning Korean is a hoot. Koreans are so shocked that you can say 안녕하세요, Wow amazing! I said hello. Imagine that! After 4 years, I can say hello. For my next trick I can speak an entire sentence. When I do my homework on the subway, Koreans will chime in when I make a mistake making it look like I magically got all the answers right all by myself. More good times. No pictures because I actually study as opposed to taking pictures of my books and posting them on FB.
10. Bombing around in Spuddy. I simply adore my car. Not because it’s a Porshe or anything just because it’s mine and it fits everywhere. Honestly, you could lift it up and bring it inside it’s so small. In fairness to Spuddy it’s deceiving big. On the last road trip to Daegu we fit 4 adults, 3 overnight bags, a harp, a whistle, a concertina, a bodhran in there. That whistle really took up all the space……
I also get a 50% discount because I drive an awesome yellow car ( or because it’s a 경자). Whatever, my reason is better. AND it’s yellow so I can find it in that sea of monochrome. Win win right there.
Then there’s Norecar. In the morning on the way to school, I throw turn on some music and just sing as I drive. Great times. (for me, not for anyone who may be unfortunate enough to hear me!)
If you live in Korea, let me know if there’s anything you would add to the list. Otherwise, leave your comments below!