Korea – of Strolling Down the Memory Lane and Creating New Ones

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So, a few weeks ago, I finally got to get back to Korea after more or less 5 years. I couldn’t write how excited I was to finally be able to get back there. I was so in love with Korea, not only with the Kpop thingies, but also with the beautiful places that I haven’t been able to visit in my last trip there. Therefore, even so this trip was basically a business trip (I actually went there for a food exhibition in Ilsan), I was determined to visit all those places that I have never been to. So, with that goal in mind, I extended my visit by around three days and departed to Incheon International Airport.

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Once I arrived on 8 May 2016 after a long journey full with turbulences the night before, the first thing on my mind was that it was still extremely cold in Korea. With its spring weather combination (cold in the mornings and nights, and warm in the afternoon), my thin jacket was nearly worn down by the harsh cold wind. But, nevertheless, I found my way to the hotel safely. Then, it was time to search for food since it was still breakfast time. After searching the area, I found a restaurant just near the hotel and got my breakfast of hot soup over there.

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That first day was quite a bit of a regretful day for me. Because I was already prepared and searched the locations near Ilsan that I could visit while I was on the exhibitions period, I was excited to start my adventure. However, my pre-departure research was not complete and so I was lost about how to go to those places and spent the day walking around the area of my hotel instead. It was a beautiful day went to waste because of the lack of preparation. The regret still lingers until now. But when the night fell, me and a bunch of other people from Indonesia, also joining the exhibition, went to Myeongdong for a bit of shopping. Many of my friends back home told me to buy some things for them, mostly make up, so Myeongdong was the perfect spot for this kind of shopping. There were cosmetics shops everywhere. You would find it hard to find a restaurant, but you would not meet any difficulties trying to find Etudes, Tony Molys, Skin Foods, or Innisfrees. And yes, plurals. They were literally everywhere in Myeongdong.

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The next day was supposed to be a preparation day. We were supposed to come to KINTEX, the exhibition place, and started to beautify our booths for the exhibition the next day. But, since our samples wouldn’t arrive until afternoon, we decided to start the day by walking around Ilsan. And so, we went to the beautiful Ilsan Lake Park. It was said to be the shooting location for a K-Drama, Dream High, if I wasn’t mistaken.

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The Lake Park was breathtakingly beautiful. The air was so refreshing it made me want to take a really deep breath to cleanse all the polution that I accumulated during all these years. It was so green, breezy, spatious, cool, simply beautiful. The sky was blue, the weather still had its coolness, but the wind was not that strong. I thought that it was the perfect time to take a stroll in a park and this park was perfect for such occasion. Too bad that I couldn’t explore all the nook and cranny the park had to offer due to the time constraint. We needed to get lunch (well, brunch) fast since our growling stomach couldn’t handle another second of torture. And so, we left the mesmerizing Lake Park and went on our way in a hunt for food.

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After we had our most satisfying brunch (Chicken Noodle Soup and Fried Small Octopus), we went on our way to KINTEX to begin the preparation for tomorrow’s exhibition. The preparation went well into the evening and even though we originally planned to go to Dongdaemun that time, we changed our itinerary to just dinner and some shopping around the area because it was already too late in the evening to make such a long trip to Seoul.

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After all the preparation was completed, we went for dinner together. We found a Korean BBQ restaurant just accross the street from our hotel and walked there. The night was cool and the breeze was bearable even with my thin jacket. The dinner was definitely good. We also ordered some Kalbitang (갈비탕 ) aside from the pork and beef that we ordered before and they all were gone so fast. The meat was tender and the soup was warm and tasty. They were doing a great job warming up our bellies. Then, after dinner, we went around (next two stations from ours) for a bit and did some shopping before finally retired to our respective rooms for the night. And that was the end of the preparation period before the exhibition.

The exhibition period will be written in a separate blog post as well as the holiday period. And I will also be writing a special blog post dedicated to all things kpop that I encountered or visited during my stay in Korea. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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