Seoul is such a huge city. There are always interesting events occurring every day. We've also met a lot of new people too. The first training week was a really nice way to build a social network, especially for those of us who didn't come with anyone else (which is the majority). At all of our respective schools, we are the only foreign teachers so it would be easy to feel isolated from home.
Two weekends ago, to celebrate the completion of our first weeks at school, Jen and I went out to dinner with a group of our friends on Friday. It was a good time to reconnect after our first weeks at our schools and to share our stories. We went to Marrakech Nights, which, if you check out the link, you will see is a restaurant that was opened by a former chef of the Morrocan Ambassador. The food was some of the best that I have ever had. I will certainly be returning there for another meal. We then wandered around Itaewon a little and stopped by a couple of different bars/clubs. Itaewon is known as the foreigner hang out and some people think of it as a rather seedy place, though I would not describe our experiences as such. There is no doubt, however, that there are far more foreigners in this part of town than there are anywhere else in Seoul (or all of Korea, for that matter).
Saturday, we then took a bike ride (Jen) / run (me) down the Bulgwangchun river. It runs from Eungam station, where we live, down to World Cup Park / Stadium, where Korea and Japan jointly hosted the World Cup in 2002. Jen wanted to test the route to her school, which is close to World Cup Stadium since she wants to ride her new bike to work rather than taking the subway, weather permitting. The mountains in the middle of the city are truly breathtaking and the Bulgwangchun is a perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city, even if the paths can be a little busy at times.
Jen on her bike on the Bulgwangchun river. This is the view on the way home from Jen's school.
A couple more pictures of the Bulgwanchun.
Later that day, we then took a trip to Insadong market, where there were a TON of crafts to browse and purchase. The place was packed, and again, there were a fair number of foreigners there, but still many locals too. Jen got some fabric (of course!) and is slowly making a wall hanging for our apartment. It's really cool and I'm looking forward to its completion.
It was really interesting that there was a protest being put on by the locals the day we visited Insadong. These people were protesting China's human rights record and, as you can see from the sign, wanted to ban Beijing from hosting the 2008 Olympics unless they cleaned up their act.
Last weekend was a little quieter, but still busy enough. We went to an Indian restaurant called Everest. It was pretty good, but I like Namaste better. More importantly, Jen and I ventured to our local branch of Costco. Yep, you heard it, we have Costco here. I think that there's three of them in Seoul and one or two more throughout the rest of Korea. We spent so much money there, but it was definitely worth it! We certainly can't get everything that we would find in a Costco back in Canada, but it definitely improves our eating situation!
Our first haul from Costco. Look at all the good stuff! Mmmmm, cheese!!