Madeinblog

Monday, August 29, 2011

Changdeokgung Palace

Hi everyone! I’m feeling so much better: I went to see my chiro today and he fixed my hand, yay! Turns out it was a nerve stuck in my arm which was making my hand hurt at times and numb at other times. It’s now back to normal!

Today, I thought it would be nice to show you one of the first attraction I visited with my brother in Korea: Changdeokgung Palace. Since it was our first visit, we opted for a guided tour… it turned out to be quite expensive but our guide was really knowledgeable. It was nice to have a guide for our first visit in Korea but we later discovered that we were able to learn just as much but on our own (and minus the cost of the guide!)

 

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Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond, and a pavilion. […]

Though it has been treasured by Koreans for centuries, the Changdeokgung Palace was not designated a World Cultural Heritage by the World Cultural Heritage Committee until December of 1997, at the committee meeting in Napoli, Italy.” – Official Site of Tourism Tourism

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Chandeokgung Palace is one of those places that you can just walk around and take your time to visit. I wish I could go back again but this time, without a guide so that I can take the time to wander around the palace more. This Palace is not as crowded as Gyeongbokgung Palace so it’s a nice place to get lost and picture yourself in your favourite historical drama.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Korea: Hedwig and the Angry Inch Musical

Hi everyone! I’m back to Montreal. The past week has been quite busy with getting back to work and school on top of my left hand giving me a lot of troubles… we suspect that I might have some form of carpal tunnel… but hey! That won’t stop me from blogging oh oh oh~

I want to write about my trip as fast as possible before I can forget details and one of the first thing I wanted to write about was a musical that I got the chance to see in Seoul.

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I got the tickets… well that’s another story really and I’m not quite sure if it’s ok to mention it but let’s just say it’s a mix of a good friend’s help, apple ice cider and maybe a bit of generosity? (edit: I got the tickets throough Dominique who is friends with Dongwan) But back to the musical now.

If you have never heard of Hedwig, it’s a musical written by John Cameron Mitchell that focuses on Hedwig, a german “girlyboy”,who speaks to the audience about her botched sex change, her failed marriage and, most importantly, Thommy Gnosis who ran away with Hedwig’s song and became famous. It has been running in Korea for 5 years now and the show has featured some big names in industry: that night, Hedwig was played by Kim Dong Wan from Shinhwa.

kimdongwanI hope I’m not breaking too many teenage fantasies with this…

I not really good at reviewing these things but I have to say that I really enjoyed the show! Now, I don’t speak Korea so I did my research beforehand so I could understand what the story was about and I also listened to a few songs so I thought I knew what to expect but I wrong: the show was way better then what I expected. At first, Kim Dong Wan was hilarious as a drag… it was a bit shocking because he was so natural at it, one would thing he has done that all his life hahaha! But the show takes a dramatic turn and that’s where he really shines as an actor and a live singer.

The last representation was in August 21st but with luck, it will keep running for another season! If you happen to be in Seoul and it’s showing at the Sang Sang Musical Art Hall, go ahead, it’s a lot of fun!

Aaaannnnd… you might run into some of the cast ;)

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Myself, Kim Dong Wan and my friend Angela

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Posing with Kim Dong Wan… too bad the picture was blurry and my camera
died right after!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I’m Korean…

Hi everyone! I got back from Seoul 3 days ago and boy am I jet lagged… I have no idea how I was able to work yesterday! I’m still editing pictures and I’m quite lazy right now so I will blog a bit more about my trip later… in the meantime, I wanted to tell you a funny story that happened in Korea.

Korean taxis are extremely efficient: they have GPS in the car, taxis with a FREE INTERPRETATION sticker on the window can call an interpret if they don’t understand you and they are overall quite cheap. The thing is… most cab drivers won’t use their GPS or call the interpret, they rather have you explain where you want to go because they are in a hurry too.

As a foreigner who doesn’t speak Korean, I have had a few drivers who would be upset that I couldn’t explain in details where I wanted to go even when handing them the card from my hotel… so these eonnis told me that when a cab would be angry at me, to apologize and say that I am half-Korean.

finishThe eonnis who told me that :)

On my last night in Seoul, I went clubbing with Magdalena from I like Make-Up 's little sister Maggie. After clubbing, I grabbed a gab and showed the address of my hotel to the driver who didn’t know where it was but he wouldn’t use his GPS or call the interpret so I had to use the very little Korean that I know to explain where he had to go.

At one point, he sighed and mumbled: “Aiisshh…waeguk-in…”

To be honest, I was a bit offended so I apologized and said (again with the few Korean that I know…) “ I’m sorry, my mom is Korean and my dad is Canadian. I just don’t speak Korean…” and BAM, the driver's attitude did a complete 360 and he became friendly. Once he was done complimenting me on my looks, he dropped me off at my hotel and discounted me 1000W from my taxi fare.

Between you and me… I don’t even look a single bit Asian whatsoever so I was surprised he believed that but my friend made me realize that saying that you are Korean is not something another Korean would doubt.

So… if you’re ever in a pickle with a cad driver in Seoul because he doesn’t understand you… just pop out that you’re half Korean and you’re sorry for not speaking Korean and they might be nice to you as well haha~

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Drinking by the Han River

2011-08-14 22.07.42 (1)Mixing beer and soju: somaek!

A classic that needed to be done! After eating some Shabu Shabu with Michael and his girlfriend, we decided that our time to try out drinking in public had come. We picked up a few bottles of soju, beer and some paper cups at a 7/11 and took a cab to the Han River.

It was a bit rainy but umbrellas did their job and we had a lot of fun! In Montreal, drinking in public is illegal so at first I was a bit worried about drinking in public even if I knew it’s totally legal here… Canadian habit I guess!

2011-08-14 22.05.08 (1)This picture is shitty but the view is very nice! No wonder it’s such a popular thing to do~

Today is my last day here in Seoul: I’m taking the plane back to Canada tomorrow… I’m quite sad but oh well! I’m going to make that last day awesome~

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Partying it up at Club Eden

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Braeden decided to celebrate his departure from Seoul in big by getting a table at Club Eden, which is apparently the number one club in Seoul right now.

Clubbing in Korea is so different from clubbing in Montreal. Everyone seems to be having fun, girls don’t grind as much (but still get a whole lot of attention) and most importantly, guys are dancing! Some look silly, some look like Rain is their dance teacher… nonetheless, they’re all having a blast :)

Oh and as a foreigner, I stood out A LOT. Not a good or bad thing, just a lot of drunk guys yelling YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL or WHERE ARE YOU FROM? haha

Korean clubbing > Montreal clubbing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting a cellphone in Korea: my experience

One of the first ground “rules” my parents established before I left for South Korea was for me to have a cellphone. With my disability, my parents want to be able to reach me easily and for me to be able to call for help if needed… plus it’s neat to have a phone when you’re in a city where you have friends! haha

I knew this was going to be a challenge as South Korea only allows people who have a visa or a Korean social number to create an account… neither of which I have. To my knowlegge, there are 2 options out there for tourists who wish to have a phone: rental or prepaid.

Rental can be a great option if you are staying in Korea for less then 4-5 days as rental fees are around 30 000₩ to 40 000₩ daily. I’m staying in Korea for 10 days so rental was out of question.

Prepaid is a little bit more complicated then rental. I did the mistake of not getting my phone at the airport… I was too busy thinking about the comfy bed waiting for me in gangnam.

My first shot at getting a prepaid phone was at a SK Telecom shop in Myeongdong. Unfortunately, the lady did not speak a single word of English so after both gesturing for a few minutes, she called a translator who later explained to me that I couldn’t get a phone because I needed to get a phone, preferably a second-handed device, before setting up an account.

I later called a good Korean friend of mine who accompanied me to another SK Telecom shop in Gangnam where he acted as a translator between the representative and me. Here are a few tips from my (well our) experience in getting a prepaid cellphone.

  • Passport and Visa

To set up a prepaid account, you don’t need to have a Korean social number (at least with SK). However, you will need to present your passport and visa depending on your country of residence and most importantly, wait 3 days since you have arrived before even trying to set up an account. As explained by our representative, it takes a little bit of time for customs to process the information that you have entered the country so if SK can’t find you in their system they can’t set up an account.

  • Bring cash

If you’re lucky enough and the SK Telecom that you visit sells second handed phones, you will need to pay for it and they only take cash.

  • Bring a good friend with you

Having a friend explaining you the details of setting up a account in English is pretty convenient and should you run into trouble setting everything up, your good friend might be able to help. In my case, I wasn’t in the system yet so my friend decided to put the phone in his name and I paid for everything.

I’m planning to return to Korea so getting a phone was a better option for me. Plus, after 6 months, if the phone wasn’t recharged, the account will automatically be closed and my friend won’t be bothered about me having a phone under his name so when I come back, I simply have to get it reactivated and it will still work like a charm!

  • The cost…

The phone is a second handed Samsun Galaxy S2 that has been refurbished. The cost of it was 200 000₩. The sim card and activation was 10 000₩. I added 20 000₩ in funds in my account so I wouldn’t need to charge any time soon. For a total of 230 000₩, I got a phone that works very well and looks like it hasn’t been used. Also, according to the SK representative, it will also work in Canada with a Canadian sim card (I’m not sure if that’s true but we’ll see). If you are looking for a cheaper phone, you can always look at booth in the Seoul metro who sell used phones. SK only had smart phones but I was satisfied with getting the Galaxy S2.

This post has been pretty boring so here’s a picture of our meal using my new Korean cellphone =) hehe

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EDIT: go give my friend Doyoon a shout out on Twitter for helping me getting a phone :) He’s totally bummed that I didn’t write his name here hahaha

Sunday, August 7, 2011

THISWASFOREVER beauty swap–part 1

WAAAAAAH I’m leaving in a few hours for Seoul! This feels so surreal, I’m so excited! I can’t sleep haha…

I thought I would have had time to blog about a lot of things before I leave but turns out I ended up really busy… I forgot how leaving for a vacation requires so much work!

I still wanted to show you the amazing goodies that Emily from THISWASFOREVER sent me from Hong Kong! Back in April, we decided to do a beauty swap. Emily spent her summer teaching in China after spending a bit of time in Hong Kong. Since I’m leaving for Seoul in a few hours, we thought this would be a great opportunity to do a beauty swap, because hello! Asian cosmetics have this little tendency of being amazing and cute at the same time!

I don’t didn’t have much time to review everything she sent me so I just wanted to highlight the big stars of her package!

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I was surprised to see how many items she was able to fit in that box! Lashes, candies, BB creams…!

 

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KATE Lip Gloss in PK-2

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Liole Blotting paper ( so convenient !!!!)

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EOS Lip Balm – Sweet Mint

And of course…

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More Dolly Wink lashes! Emily knows how much of a Dolly Wink fangirl I am so she got me these adorable No.1 Dolly Sweet lashes. I have yet to try them but I can’t wait to! One more addition to my Dolly Wink collection hehe!

As you saw in the first picture, there are A LOT of products! I’m only showing you a few today – I’ll talk about the masks in a different post, most likely when I am back in Canadialand!

In the meantime, if you were to visit Korea, what would be THE place that you would ABSOLUTELY want to visit?