Commonly referred to as Namsan Tower, N Seoul Tower is located on Mt. Namsan. On Sunday, I walked up the steps to the beautiful dubstep remix of my rapidly beating heart and heavy breathing. Stairs have never been my forte.
The day before, Monica, Brent, and I walked around Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong (Gangnam District). This tree-lined street was a nice blend of old and new – some parts even reminded me of Europe. Monica and Brent were visiting me in secret. Our friend, Emily, was flying in the next day and we planned on surprising her at the airport. Due to my lethargic nature, I had initially told Emily that she could find her way to my flat on her own. After some thought, I figured I could at least meet her at Seoul Station. That plan was thwarted when Monica and Brent, who live in Busan, decided to come up and give her a proper [surprise] greeting. Do not get me wrong, Emily is one of my closest and dearest friends. I am just that lazy sometimes.
I call this “Brooding Brent.”
We stopped at a cute sandwich shop, sang “Call Me Baby” by EXO, and shopped around. Next on our list was Itaewon – the foreign hub of the city. Truth be told, I hated it. I bought a questionable “tail” for the Halloween costume I wore today (the fox from The Little Prince) from a lady who promised “the best price.” We made reservations at Braai Republic, a South African restaurant, and walked to a foreign food market. By the time we reached the store, my stomach demanded that I trek back to my flat. Those 45 minutes were some of the longest I have ever experienced. Anyway, hours later (after listening to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and GOT7’s “딱 좋아 Just right” several times) we surprised my friend Emily at the airport, walked around Hongdae, visited Changdeokgung Palace (which I will discuss in the next post), and hiked up to Namsan Tower.
We also ended up in a Pizza Hut bathroom.
Monica and Brent have the tendency to get people to hike up mountains their first night in South Korea. The day I arrived, I ended up hiking up a neighboring mountain at midnight to see a meteor shower. I begrudgingly passed the cable car line and took the love of my life, stairs, instead [cue Top Gun soundtrack]. Fortunately for us, we started the hike when the sun was beginning to set. My DSLR was throwing a tantrum on the hike up, so I unfortunately did not get any pictures.
After making it to the top, we bought tickets up to the observatory (₩9.000/$7.88). While in the long queue for the elevator, we got our “official” pictures taken. As inspirational as the ones advertised were, we just couldn’t muster up the will to succeed in taking a decent photograph.
By the time we made it to the top, we could see the city start to glow. My friends and I stayed up there for a bit and then our hunger pains began to strike. We queued again, but this time had a bag full of candy to keep us company. I highly recommend getting the “chicken feet.” I also saw Cow Tales in the candy store and almost cried. I should have bought more. Regret. Endless regret.
Monica, Brent, Emily, and I took a cab to Hongdae to eat. After eating some barbeque, we headed to “You Are Here,” a café run by YouTubers: EatYourKimchi and Talk To Me In Korean. In the café, there is a “Speaker’s Corner,” where a question is posted and you can answer it. Sometimes your clip gets selected to be featured in one of their videos. Fear not, Monica, Brent, and I made it in one. Prepare yourself my signature perpetually-plastered awkward smile. You can find us at 1:14.
OH ONE MORE THING. Monica bought me Kyuhyun’s CD, “A Million Pieces,” for my birthday. She also bought me a huge poster of him. I mean, she just gets me. There are so many pictures of him in Switzerland, it is hard to breathe. Am I hiking up Mt. Namsan again? Pinch me.
Picture of a beautiful picture.
A birthday cake for me and Nicole! Real ’88 friends.