Vegan's Chronicles + [seoul]

New Year, New Adventures

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti. :( It's so tragic and devastating! Please consider making a donation to the Red Cross~ Sigh... It doesn't seem right to blog about the silly little things I do to keep myself entertained, while people on the other side of the globe are going through such suffering. But if you're interested, here's what I've been up to:

Last Thursday, I decided to check out the National Library of Korea by Seocho station. It was a little bit of a hassle signing up for a membership, but in the end, it all worked out and I was given a card to pass through the screening machines. You're also required to leave bags and other belongings in lockers before you head in- security, I guess. Oh well, at least membership is free.

main circulation area

Anyway, it was still nice to tour the facilities, and to see people being quiet and studious. It also felt good to be surrounded by old and crusty books. Took me right back to my college days when I would spend hours in the library, studying, or falling asleep over my books. Maybe it's the nerd in me, but I like those memories.

I thought there would be more English literature at this library, but the literature section is pretty tiny- almost non-existent. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right spot, but there are mainly only very academic, research-types of books. The English books are separated on different floors, and grouped together based on subject, such as social studies, environmental studies, law, etc. They definitely had larger English collections in other areas besides literature. Although, I did find a Harry Potter book in the mix, cuz you know, it's such a classic piece of writing.

After, we hung out at a book/study cafe that's near the front of the library grounds. They had wifi and good rosemary tea. :) Then just as we were leaving, we decided to stop by the digital library which is in the building next door. The facilities there are pretty new and awesome. Very techy... (duh, it's a digital library)... .

The first floor is pretty much just computers with Internet for anyone to use, without membership. They also have cool giant screens where you can check out the latest newspapers in digital form. All in all, it was a great visit to Korea's National Library. I do plan on going there again sometime, even though it may be just to browse through their periodicals and surround myself with academia.

So that was Thursday.

Then on Friday, I met up with two other friends to check out the Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art (12,000 won ticket). I've never been a huge Warhol fan... .. Just never got into the whole pop art aesthetic. But I will say that seeing his stuff in person and getting to know more about him as an individual, gave me greater respect for him as an artist and a thinker. He's most definitely a character.

The best part was taking pictures in front of a giant soup can. That's me on the right.

This past weekend was also was also full of awesome fun. On Saturday, I met up with some friends and went ice skating for the first time in my life (I told you I don't do winter sports!). Most ice skating places I've heard of in Seoul are outdoor rinks, but this one was a real indoor one at 'Government Complex Gwacheon' Station, Line 4. It made me feel very professional.

Here is the ice cleaner-upper machine, making the surface smooth before I go and bust out my moves. Double triple axel? No problem.

There were a ton of little kiddies at this place! Some were just there to have a good time, and others were in their leotards with neatly pulled back hair, acting all snooty while practicing their twirls and jumps. You could practically see their future dreams of becoming the next Kim Yun Ah. Or was that their parents' dreams? Hehe, they were cute though.

Anyway, I had a blast. I think all those years of rollerblading when I was a kid finally paid off- I didn't fall on the ice once! :)

Next, after refueling on some seriously good food court bibimbab, we hit the bowling alleys! Now, I have tried bowling before, but maybe only two other times ever. I pretty much suck at it, but still had fun watching my bowling ball roll into the gutter. I think my highest score was 60-something.

Last weekend, I also hit up 'Coffee the Sol' by Ttukseom Resort Station. I've blogged about it a few times before, like here and here. I noticed that it has gotten considerably more popular since the last time I was there, about 8 months ago. The place was packed! Maybe because it was the weekend... Anyway, I ordered 'pink ring' tea, and it came with a cookie that I doubt was vegan, so I didn't eat it. The tea was great though, and it was a good time of catching up on emails and doodling.

So far, 2010 has been pretty fun-filled! I'm so thankful that I have this great city to explore, and opportunities to try new things.

PS. Seoul got ranked third on the Lonely Planet Guide's list of most hated cities! That's just complete lunacy. After three years in this city, I'm still finding new treasures and adventures all the time. Go to their blog and give LP a piece of your mind. Funny thing, Seoul is sandwiched between Accra (#2) and Los Angeles (#4), both of which are cities that I have spent a good amount of time.

Anyway, I shall report again soon with details on my next day out. :) Til then, peace out homies.