Monday, November 26, 2007

Seouliyeo annyeong

For all the places to eat and sleep supposedly in Bangi-dong, finding somewhere to get a late snack once we'd got back near our motel proved a challenge. Back in July, the diners and restaurants in the central area of Seoul we'd stayed in seemed to close around 10pm, which seemed impossibly early compared to Busan. A couple we'd had our eye on this time were also closing up and it was only ten thirty. We ended up at a small place called 7gram - they were closing but my wife talked them into making us a sandwich and coffee if we agreed to be out of the door within twenty minutes. They served one of the best coffees I've ever had and I really hoped they would have a branch in Busan, but unfortunately they appear to be only in Seoul. They opened at 7am the next morning and we had every intention of getting there early to have breakfast, but when we eventually did arrive it was approaching twelve. The snow from the previous day had all but disappeared, though it was still cold and it wasn't long before under-dressed office workers emerged from their burrows to forage for food.

After brunch, we went to the COEX Convention Center in nearby Gangnam-gu, which in addition to featuring a lot of shops - including the first Apple dealer I've seen in Korea (don't get too excited though - they mainly sell iPods) - also houses a cinema called Megabox where we watched Beowulf in 3D. There were a lot of places to eat afterwards but we opted for a functional meal in a cafeteria style area which seems to be quite favoured in Korea. They have the advantage of both providing a shared area for customers of various food outlets placed around the sides, and somewhere to sleep for the staff.

Back in the days before the Government of a certain country turned it into a rogue nation, Korea was still allowed to forge links with Iran and in 1977 there was an 'exchanging of street names' one year after the Mayor of Tehran, Gholamreza Nikpey, visited Seoul. Thus Teheranro 'Tehran Street' was created. The area has since prospered, becoming the home to a number of Korea's biggest Internet companies including Daum and Naver, earning it the title 'Tehran Valley' in a nod to Silicon Valley in the US. But Mr. Nikpey was not so fortunate, he was executed in 1979.

Teheranro leads to a bridge over the Han River, at the other side of which lies the Jamsil Olympic Stadium, home to the 1988 Olympics, and Jamsil Arena, the venue for our tennis match - the last place we'd be visiting in Seoul before heading home.

Korean tags: 서울, 커피, 음식, 인터넷,


Lee said...

here in Busan, there's an apple store in Seomyeon - right across the street from Miglore. very easy to find and they seem to carry the full line of apple hardware. =)

Mike said...

Thanks - I only learned about this recently but next time I'm in Seomyeon I intend to look out for it. I'm desperately trying to kick my Windows habit - I won't be moving up to Vista - so I've been weighing up the pros and cons of Apple and Linux in the past year. Now I've finally got Ubuntu working I'm going to run it for a while and see what the issues are. I still want an iPod Touch though...

But I wonder if it's ever really possible to run a non-Windows machine in Korea given the way so many Korean websites demand IE and ActiveX.

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