this weekend, we had a jam-packed friday and saturday, and i just now realized that we didn’t take one photo. i guess the endless hopping of cabs, subways, taxis, and trains has become somewhat routine for us. this certainly was the weekend of endless travel, in and out of the city.
friday night we had double-booked ourselves with 2 different groups of people. first, we joined a group that was eating at the chosun university backgate. we hadn’t yet traveled to that area of gwangju, and we heard rumors of a “mexican grill” that had piqued our interests. after a hectic hour or so of mixing up buses and meeting points, we made it to our destination. the little mexican place was cute, clean, and cheap, but a far cry from what i’d been imagining. let’s just say the “chicken” was unrecognizable, and the burrito had a healthy dousing of thousand island dressing on the inside. i suppose in a pinch the quesadilla could satisfy a cheese-craving, but i don’t see david and i traveling back there anytime soon.
after dinner, we went to a board game cafe. we ordered drinks and debated endlessly about what game to play, settling finally on phase 10. it was a long, rather anxiety-inducing game, so we quit early and left there around 9 with our friend sarah, destined for the far west side of gwangju and another group of friends who were hanging out on a rooftop. we wandered downtown, hoping to catch the subway out their way. our walk was rather aimless through the maze of side streets, but we were having a fun time, until we realized we weren’t too sure where exactly we were. sarah asked a nice korean gentleman waiting at a crosswalk and he proceeded to walk with us all the way to our subway stop. only in korea.
we finally made it out to andrea and graham’s apartment building almost an hour after we’d set out. such is the curse of living in a big city. by the time we met up with everyone on the rooftop, it had started to sprinkle. so, we agreed it was time to dry off and find a noraebang. we had a hard time finding a suitable place, and the one we settled on was unimpressive at first glance. it smelled like a dank, musty basement and the TVs were not the flat screen Samsungs we were accustomed to; instead it was a wall of boxy TVs stacked 3×3. it looked like something out of the early 90s.
but in the end, all you really need to have a successful “singing room” experience is some english songs and a large group of good-natured friends, willing to sing along. it was hilarious and lots of fun (once we figured out the remote). all the traveling added up and we were out way too late. it took us awhile to get home too, but we shared a cab w/sarah and split the cost (which still only added up to be about 7 or 8 bucks, no complaints).
saturday morning we took the bus to the gwangju train station. it was our first day taking a train out of the city, heading north to daejon, a city comparable in size to gwangju that sits almost totally in the middle of south korea. 2 other couples traveled with us, and a third was going to meet us there for lunch. the train ride was peaceful, and it was lovely getting to see the countryside with its endless hills and colorful fall foliage.
once in daejon, it was another subway ride over to a nice italian restaurant where we met our friends who were teaching not too far from daejon. we’d met them at orientation, and it was fun to reconnect and hear about their experiences. they teach in very rural south korea, and their experiences sound so different from our own, it’s fun to compare notes.
after lunch, it was time to conquer costco. yes, that’s right, korea has 2 costcos (one in busan and one in daejon), both that were rumored to carry lots of western goodies. we shared a membership with another couple and got swallowed up in the massive aisles for a couple solid hours, debating what to buy. we didn’t get a ton of food (figuring lots of the meats/cheeses wouldn’t keep well on our 2 hour train ride back home, and plus everything is just so massive, we wouldn’t be able to finish half of it before it would go bad), but we walked away with a few treasures (chips and salsa, a huge frozen package of hash browns, frozen green beans, and some fiber one granola bars) that we have been enjoying this week.
after a ride home in the evening, we grabbed a quick dinner with one of the couples before unpacking our bounty and settling in for the night. sunday was a calm, quiet day where we cleaned, listened to a podcast, and worked on our lesson plans at a nearby coffee shop. i’m coming to really enjoy our sundays. it’s nice to be able to really treat it as a “day of rest.”