Golden Week

So in Korea, and also Japan, Golden week just passed. Golden week is a holiday season in these countries that are sometimes clumped together, or not, and people usually have a couple days off from work. This year’s Golden week in Korea was especially nice because Thursday was Labor day (day off), then the weekend and Monday was Children’s Day (day off) then Buddha’s Birthday (day off). So some people were able to have off from Thursday to Tuesday completely. Unfortunately not me, I worked last Friday. But overall, the time was fun.

That Thursday, however, I wasn’t feeling good. I had an upset stomach and a problem with my throat so I just stayed home. I tried to make plans for dinner with my Bassoon teacher, but he stood me up. Hmph.

As for the 4-day weekend, my friend Rina came for the weekend! It was so wonderful! She arrived Saturday night and then we hung out at home for a little bit before getting up early. We had to catch a 6:30am bus to Andong on Sunday! That trip was nice but tiring. So Andong is a town in the south of Korea, famous for their Jjimdalk (Boiled Chicken/찜닭) and a traditional village called the Hahoe Village (하회마을). From Seoul, it takes about 4 or so hours to get there. We left at 6:30 and got there around 11am. Most of that time included sleeping. We got up and left early to grab something for the busride. When we went to sign in, the guy looked at us and automatically knew my name. Oh, the perks of being the only foreigner on the trip. So we get onto the bus and then leave. We were a little bit late due to traffic but no biggy. They tell us to go to this one famous bakery that’s famous for their cream bread. But the line takes forever and there’s no bread available to buy really. So Rina and I decide to head to get some chicken! We search for about 20 minutes or so, and finally find one place to go. This dish is actually our favorite Korean food. Except we like the Bongchu version, rather than the Andong.

And here I will give a brief explanation. There are two different styles of 찝닭/Jjimdalk. One is Andong-style, the original, from the town of Andong. Then, in Seoul, near the Kundae University or some university, somebody took this dish and altered it a bit, called it Bongchu Jjjimdalk. There isn’t a Bonchu region that this came from, like is so popular in Korean dishes. (Hamheung Naengmyun- Hamheung is place in North Korea famous for their Naengmyun/cold noodles, Chungchun Dalkgalbi – Chungchun is a province in Korea, etc). Andong-style is very sweet, the sauce. Bongchu is spicier and sometimes includes rice cakes/dduk. And more potatoes. The potatoes are the best part.

So we ate our jjimdalk and it was good but not as good as our beloved Bongchu. Also, time was a bit limited so we couldn’t finish it and ran out the door. Next was onto a bridge from somewhere. It was nice. And our tour guide took pictures for us. He was a very nice, though slightly odd soul. But I liked him. He was a great guide. He did his best and was always very kind and calm. Then onto the Hahoe Village. From here, it should take about 40 minutes by bus. However, due to our wonderful luck, it took 2 hours or so to get into the village. Traffic was horrible. And so we were stuck in the bus. We got out and were able to walk around for two and a half hours. They even had a playground with swings and a standing seesaw/teetertotter. It was nice. Except for some reason, a group of young kids standing behind us started talking to us in English. It was odd. Then suddenly they asked for a picture. So we oblige them with one. It was really awkward. We did the seesaw a bit and then walked around some more, taking pics all the while. The way back was cold and rainy and we didn’t get back until 11 or so.

Monday, we went to Dongdaemun to look at the new Dondaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and it was okay but nothing amazing. It’s a giant spaceship-looking building. That’s it. With overpriced goods and exhibitions. Then we went shopping. The most epic part? I bought clothes in Korea! Yes, I was finally able to do it. Now, most clothes are a bit small and don’t fit too perfectly but they arr good enough! And I’m happy. And that’s all that matters. I will go again later for little things. Most things I would still buy from the USA. But I might be able to get a t shirt or something.

And then we watched Frozen at home. She had never seen it before. We both loved it. Then we went out to dinner. Here is the most interesting part of the day. We go to a bbq restaurant since Rina wants meat. We go and get started. 15 minutes in, two older foreign gentlemen sit next to us. They look at our stuff and talk to each other, In German! I’m excited and make excuses to say little things. We end up in a full discussion with these men for hours. Until like, 1am. Turns out, they’re Germans working for the international branches of Mercedes Benz. They’re having a directors meeting in Korea for visa reasons. One man is stationed in New Jersey! In Bergen! And thr other lives in the apartment next to mine. It’s awesome! So he gave me his card to message him. I did but no reply yet. We shall see what happens. And that was basically my vacation. I’m glad it was fun.

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