Week 6 has ended and so has our last holiday break. This week we skipped class (once again, don’t do this kids) for a crazy Music Bank recording (read more below) and went on a weekend trip to Jeonju.
What I should be doing: Writing a review on ‘The Thieves.’
What I am doing: Procrastinating through this blog post so I can be at least semi-productive because everyone seemed to like the movie except for me and I don’t want to be mean about the review.
Conclusion: I am afraid to take the risk because our assignments are public to the entire class LOL.
So the month of October is when this huge sale called ‘Korea Sale Festa’ goes on around the entire country and tourists from everywhere flock in to mass buy Korean products. To commemorate the beginning of this sale period (which isn’t really as big as say, Black Friday deals) a special episode of Music Bank was recorded outside of Coex Mall in Gangnam. Since the line-up was A+++ which meant lots of old and famous groups, my friends and I decided to YOLO it and skipped Korean class to wait in line for the tickets which were first come, first serve. Important to note is that people had started camping out the day before in front of the venue.
We arrived at Coex at around 10AM because our nerdy asses can’t even turn up on a Tuesday and we were in the back of the line with a bunch of other UCEAP people. Honestly concerts or any event here should have a UCEAP section because we have hella people all the time. The line however…only got longer. Two hours in we moved up a little so we decided why not stay because we didn’t want to go to class either and it wasn’t too hot. We ordered 20 pieces chicken nuggets and two large fries like the Americans we are to pass time. Next thing you know, five hours have passed and we barely made it into the concert because they were running out of space (the concert venue is basically a giant pit). HOWEVER, they decide that they felt bad for everyone behind us who waited and decide to try and fit everyone into the really, really small space that should really not fit that many people.
The concert was…very hectic. No one could breath, it stank, and the moment VIXX came out, my friends and I were literally carried towards the stage because of the mass amount of people trying to get closer to the stage. Some dude tried to push past us and because we were very spiteful, we didn’t let him go. I have an ultra HD camera so everyone in the back was just watching the concert from my screen. One of my friends from Korea University who was right in front told me a fansite used her head as a tripod LOOOL. Anyhow, we wore white shoes so those were done for and then APink came out and their fans literally manhandled my friends head to get a better view omg. We left before Shinee took the stage because we weren’t ready to experience Shawol power. That concert was quite an experience. At least we got good food at Coex after.
PS. VIXX is very, very tall.
It was the last long weekend of the semester and we decided that we really had to go somewhere or it would be a waste. Originally we wanted to go to Sokcho for the beach (I miss you beach) and the national park but there were no more places to live there so at the last minute, we planned a trip to Jeonju and will never regret it.
Jeonju (전주) is listed as one of UNESCO’s Creative Cities for Gastronomy and is known as the spiritual capital of the Joseon dynasty. It’s name means ‘Perfect Prefecture,’ defined by the Chinese characters, 全州. Jeonju is famous for it’s hanok village, which is a village made of old traditional Korean houses and it’s traditional food.
We managed to find a cheap and really clean hostel (it was $17 yo) near the Hanok Village and got there by bus (which was ₩12,800 one way and comes every 10-15 minutes at the Seoul Central Express Bus Terminal).
First day it was raining but the temperature was perfect. We checked into our hostel and headed out to eat bibimbap, one of Jeonju’s signature dishes. The restaurant was down the street from our hostel and the ingredients were super fresh. They only had two options on the menu and all the orders came with steamed egg. I’ll try to make a post on what and where to eat in Jeonju later. After that, we went to Jeondong Cathedral which is a beautiful Catholic Church right next to Gyeonggijeon Shrine (ah the juxtaposition). We managed to get lost even though it was only a few streets down from the restaurant and a kind ahjumma saw us struggling with the paper map-OMG US MODERN KIDS CAN’T FUNCTION WITH A PAPER MAP…we can only use Naver map which was not working in Jeonju-gave us some quick directions. Thank you so much ahjumma. She even tsked us.
After taking some pictures with really angry palace guards, headed into Gyeonggijeon Shrine which had student tickets for only ₩3000 and free English tours. On the first of every month, the Jeonju Lee family, which is the family that headed Joseon, comes to the shrine to perform a ritual for the ancestors and also twice a year-which we accidentally happened upon- a part of the private part of the shrine is open to the public. Our tour guide tried to bring us in, but the family was still there so we stood really awkwardly outside and quickly walked away. The shrine used to have six different kings’ portraits but now only hosts one of them: the first king of Joseon, Tae-jo. The rest have been moved to Seoul. It was a beautiful place and we also visited the royal archives library where they used to keep the documents detailing each kings’ reign. Then we headed to Jaman Mural Village which was a lot smaller than we though it would be and enjoyed coffee while overlooking Jeonju. The cafes there are super aesthetic. We also got bit by mosquitos…hella mosquitos. They even bit me through my leggings.
PS. They filmed Moonlight Drawn by Clouds at the shrine. Our tour guide laughed at us when we were like but where is our Crown Prince Bogummie 🙁
At night, we headed to Nambu Market, which is basically right next to everything, as everything you need in Jeonju is next to everything for it’s cultural night market which is held every Friday and Saturday night until 7pm. What’s different about this night market from ones in say, Myeondong, is that they have a lot of multinational options. There were Chinese, Japanese (even a Wagyu Beef nigiri stall), Filipino, Thai, and Vietnamese options available. the salmon skewer was amazing and I feel like the ingredients here in Jeonju is fresher than the Seoul ones. We ate our fill there and headed to another cafe in town (we are cafe junkies) to wind down for the day.
Second day after we knocked out on our beds despite the laughing children and freezing AC, we started our food tour of Jeonju-not that we weren’t doing it on the first day too haha. We ate at a famous mandu place (the line was super long early morning, and even more so in the afternoon) and also tried a fusion meat stuff baguette, both of which were amazing. We also had fried squid which was our favorite for the whole day-maybe because we love squid just in general. We also tried apple beer which just tastes like beer and cheese covered chicken. Jeonju is also famous for strawberries and we drank some strawberry smoothies and ate strawberries covered with mochi.
We took a break midway through our fanatic and endless snacking. I randomly searched up a traditional tea house and we got to enjoy the most peaceful and amazing experience ever. The store was located in an alley inside an alley…the moment we stepped through the gate, all the noises from the busy tourist streets of the hanok village disappeared. We were greeted by an old man who was graced with a long beard and was dressed in traditional clothing. We were placed in a private room where we ordered some yellow tea upon his suggestion. It’s apparently good for digestion, which we needed after inhaling one food after another. The old man taught me how to prepare and pour the tea and left us to screw up all the tea ritual rules afterwards. It was a wonderful and new experience for all of us who are so used to drinking tea on the go. We really got to relax and chat, away from reality really. The old man helped us take lots of pictures too which was really hilarious because he would climb into the planter and then on top of the stairs and then through the window just to get the right angle. He was so cool.
I honestly recommend coming here during this UCEAP program because it’s such a historical and cultural center for Korea. It’s small (so small, we weren’t sure we were looking at the map right) but so rich with traditional life and arts. 10/10 would recommend.