After we shared all the wonderful and intricate details of our first 'play date' with Jaelee to our friends from 'down under' and expressed all of our overwhelming excitement that we will get to see Jaelee and 'officially' get her on Tuesday afternoon. We decided to attempt our sense of direction skills and meander out in the heart of Seoul. One of the couples were leaving today, so they we nice enough to give us a few navigating tips and get us started on our way (thanks Peter & Jocelyn and their children Chris & Aimee).
We began to walk the town, as I looked around, it was difficult to know where we were as the signs are written in Korean, with the pronunciation below. It was a challenge to remember the names of where you were going (example: Insedong vs. Insesung).
We kept walking in the hopes that we would be able to find our way back (and I wasn't too sure at this point). We have now entered the subway system and this is where I became quite uncertain about this adventure (yes, even though I am quite directionally literate) and questioned our ability to find our way back without assistance. This family began speaking of all eight of the subway lines and how they were color coded and tried to explain to us how to got to Insa-Dong (which is the traditional Korean shopping area) & Gyeongbokgung Palace which are near one another and the two places we wanted to visit today. They showed us how to purchase a refillable subway card and then we said our 'goodbyes' and went our separate ways. They walked away, Jon & I went down a short ways, stopped and looked at one another and he stated, 'Do you know where to go?' and to his utter surprise, I responded 'No', but we pushed on and began to walk.
After taking the 'green line' to the 'blue line' and then getting off at Jongno 3 (sam)-ga, which was right before getting on the 'orange line' we exited out of the subway and of course were again very disoriented to our whereabouts and which direction to go. We headed on down the street in search of a street called Insadong-gil street. On our way, we passed Tapgol Park which in the end helped us to find this Insadong-gil street. At last, we found the shopping area. They had great things to look at and ranged in cost between W3000 and W180000. The money over here is in Won (pronounced Wan) and to give you an idea of the exchange rate, just drop 3 of the zeros and that would be the American cost, approximately or in other words a $10 bill is equivalent to about $1. After about a 3 hour walk of shopping, we decided to tempt fate and try to navigate our way back. In all honesty, I was feeling much better after using it the first time and had confidence that we would be able to make our way back and we did.
We met up with one of the other couples from Australia (Kate & Jack) and they were going out to dinner to a place called Buglogi (which was recommended by a social worker) and we decided to join them. Off we went down the streets again and upon arriving, we realized that a meal ran anywhere between W68000 & W110000 ($68-$110) a person and we found it to be a little on the expensive side as did they (considering they had 3 children as well). We went on our journey and found a traditional Korean Barbeque to attend, where the meat is cooked in a hole in the table by yourselves along with a few other sides to add to the meat. We had a combination of beef and pork along with some Souju (rice liquor) and Cass Beer. We then walked the nightlife for a smidgen and proceeded back to the hostel to call it a night.
Tomorrow is a day of exploration and shopping for the future birthdays of little Jaelee as well as some keepsakes for ourselves and Isabella. Missing you all, and hope all is well in the states.