Day 2: Pre BOOM SHAKA LAKA!

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WHUT?

What is a “Boom Shaka Laka”? Unless you’re a huge fan of a certain Awesome Male Group from YG Entertainment, you wouldn’t know what that refers to.

Wait a minute. I’m suddenly reminded of an “old-school” hip-hop song called “Walk Like A Dinosaur”. Remember that? Ok, no need to put your hands up if you do (a dead giveaway to which demographic you fall into🙂 ) It has that catchy:

 

Boom Boom Laka Laka Laka Boom
Boom Boom Laka Laka Boom Boom

Rings a bell? Yes? No?

Day 2 in Seoul and thanks to the Super Early Bedtime the night before, I woke up around 4:30am! Unbelievable.

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Anyeong-haseyo yarobun!

After sorting out the luggage and what-ever-nots just so that I was occupied, I finally took a peek outside and realized what an awesome view I had of busy Myeong dong. The streets were rather devoid of cars, so this must’ve been snapped at an ungodly hour in the morning.

Like who else wakes up at 4:30am?!

Today was going to be a FUN-filled day because we planned to drop by a certain venue where a certain Big Show was going to be held. We were THISCLOSE to getting tickets, but because our Hangul skills put together was not good enough to fill in required fields for payment via a certain website, our tickets were released back into the system… aigoo…

Heartbreak…

But, on the upside, that meant we had more time to explore our adopted “home town”🙂

Seoul N Tower was definitely on our Must See list and to my utter delight, Ibis Hotel provided free shuttle service for guests who wanted to visit certain tourist sites in the city. Prior to finding out about the shuttle service, I had already envisioned a brutal hike from the hotel, up the knee-killing hill, just to get to the Cable Car Station at the foot of Namsan Mountain.

THANK GOD FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE!
(translation: Saranghae Ibis Hotel! )

So, let’s take a quick look at the other places the shuttle would have stopped at:

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Luckily I had made reservations for the shuttle ride upon checking in the day before. When we waited at the lobby, there were 5 other guests who also signed up for the ride. The mini-van we boarded was enough for only 8 passengers at any one time.

Oh, it was drizzling out and the temperature was hovering at 3c. I was Happy! That meant minimum sweating for me! YAY! You may think that I had like a thick winter coat/ parka with me at all times. Far from the truth. My attire was: long-sleeved cotton top, thin hoodie, and woolen sweater. Bottom: Denims. That’s it. And I still sweat indoors when the heaters are switched on full-blast.

Ok, enough about my sartorial review.

Team Japan headed for National Folk Museum and they were dropped off first. The drizzle didn’t let up and was a tad worried if that was going to mess up our schedule for the day.

Exactly how many stops were we targeting for Day 2?

  1. Namsan Tower
  2. Sinsa Garosugil
  3. Olympic Park
  4. Kyobo Bookstore @ Gwanghwamun

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Despite the morning rush hour (plus the not so optimal weather) our ride took about another 15 mins or so and by 9:30am, we arrived at the Cable Car Station. Alas, operations begin at 10am. No worries! Opportunity for photo shoot session🙂

While waiting outside the station, we noticed there was a “travellator” by the side of the hill we were on. It was installed so that people from the street below could travel to the station without breaking their knee caps. But where did that road lead to? I scanned for familiar landmarks in the horizon. Lo and behold! Migliore Mall at one o’clock! That meant Myeong dong Subway Station was very close to us. Fantastic Baby! (pun intended😉 )

No language barrier here: Must be able to speak Hangul, Japanese, English

The cable car runs in a timely manner and once the chimes went off, you would know it was time to board the gondola.

I was not prepared by the speed of this cable car. My ears popped a few times! On a clear day, you would have enjoyed a breathtaking view of Seoul as you ascended Namsan Mountain. Peeking below, there were trails for those who were adventurous enough to walk from the top of Namsan to the cable car station at the foot of the mountain. I was definitely NOT one of those and got us Round-trip tickets instead. We were on a rather tight schedule anyway (excuses, excuses…). Once you reach the top station, walk through the exit and turn left at landing.

And at that moment, just take in the view of the FLIGHT of STAIRS you have to take to reach the tower itself! Oh goodness… pray that my knees can hold up!

That lady is pretending to smile, but she really is breathing hard and carefully maneuvering the steep steps in her heeled boots!

 At last. Namsan Tower. Guess what music was aired over the speakers.
For the K-Drama Addicts, I have 3 words for you: Boys Over Flowers.

 As I stood still at the top of the steps, but really trying to breathe normally again, I was awe-struck by the sheer majesty of this landmark. There were gift shops in Basement 1, Ground level and at the top of the Tower itself. You need to purchase tickets for the elevator ride to the top of Seoul N Tower. Breathe in, breathe out: Let’s just watch the awesome views of this place…

 

You Locked Your Heart in Seoul? They have to make way for new locks every couple of months.

    


Bonghwadae (beacon mound) at the top was once the center of capital defense. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) the capital was changed to Hanyang,(current Seoul) and to protect the city from invasions, castle walls were built on the 4 major mountains like Mt. Bukaksan, Mt. Inwangsan, Mt. Naksan and Mt. Namsan. On Namsan peak, five beacons were built to report the news from local governments to the central government with a five-signal system.  (excerpt from http://www.visitkorea.co.kr)

 

A quick time check reminded us that we had to leave Namsan Tower soon. It was a shame that fog settled across Seoul that day. Otherwise we would have enjoyed the whole view of Seoul and the West Sea beyond Incheon. Wouldn’t that have been AMAZING?
Satisfied with the number of shots we took at Namsan, we began our slow walk down the slippery stairs to the Cable Car station.

Continuing our journey to street level, we hopped into the “travellator”, got off the bottom of the hill and marched through the drizzle towards Myeong dong Subway station.

Next stop: Olympic Park😀

BOOM SHAKA LAKA!

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