Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Return To The Land of Kimchi

Part 4: Last Day :(

Day 4 (22.5.2012) (The Plan)
COEX Mall – Aquarium
Lunch and last minute shopping myeongdong
Depart from ICN - LCCT @ 12.20pm

today is our last day and we still have time to do some sightseeing as our flight is at midnite. the original plan was to go to COEX to check out the aquarium...however, as we have not visited any of the palaces, we decided to go to Chandeokgung this morning. we got up a bit early this morning.. had heavy breakfast and took the cab to the palace. we clearly told the taxi driver to take us to Chandeok palace but he dropped us off at the Changgyeong Palace instead and insist that we get off the taxi there. well, not in the mood to argue, we just go with the flow. upon enquiry at the ticket counter, the chandeok palace is accesible from one of the gates in the Changgyeong Palace. we entered the palace to see a few school kids on a field trip. it was not crowded at all, almost deserted. we thought to ourselves that this must be our lucky day as most of tourist attractions in seoul are always crowded. we quickly found out that the castle ground is not a suitable place to use the stroller as the surface was uneven as it was made of blocks of huge stones... as the weather was hot that day, i just sat under the shades with Q while waiting for the Captain exploring the palace. im not too excited as ive been to Gyeongbok Palace before and i do think they looked quite similar.

Changgyeong Palace - we had the place almost to ourselves

Hot and sunny day.. with clear blue skies

after quite a while, we proceeded to the gate to enter Chandeok Palace. to our suprise, the place was packed!! we were wondering why there was practically nobody at Changgyeong palace while this one is quite the opposite, and our question is still left unanswered. we omit the secret garden tour as it was really hot that day and we were quite turned off by the crowd. again i sat under the shades with Q while the captain explored the castle and took pictures. i discovered later that the Q to buy tickets at the Chandeok Palace entrance was very long! i began to wonder perhaps this is why the taxi driver ahjussi insisted that we go the Changgyeong Palace instead.

the Chandeok Palace on the other hand, was crowded

after the palace visit, we went to Insadong to buy some souviniers. from what ive read, insadong is within walking distance from Chandeok Palace.. so we walked there... turned out that it was not quite close after all.. it took us 20-30 mins walk frm the palace to the place. we wouldve took the taxi had we known this. luckily Q slept the whole time and we get to put her in the stroller this time. bought quite a number of stuffs from insadong, i prefer to shop here than other places. there are a lot of choices and variety of souviniers sold here. as we were quite tired from the walk from the palace before, and also famished, we did not check out the Samziegiel building - which i later regret. i did check out the restaurant - chilgabsan which was recommended on budgettraveltokorea but decided not to eat there cos i the captain is not the adventorous eater kinda person. so we went to itaewon instead.

the walk to insadong
the walk to insadong
insadong - the only place that was not crowded!
this time we ate at Murree Restaurant.. i had an array of Korean food while the captain sticked to the safe Nasi Bryani. huh..~ i knew it.. the owner was quite puzzled i ordered so many kinds of food when only the 2 of us are eating. i dont care, i just wanted to try everything as today is our last day and i had not yet had the opportunity to try any local food. i ordered kimchi stew, bulgogi and pajeon + banchans + rice. we had to wait quite a while for our food as it was all prepared from scratch i think as we can hear the owner cooking up a storm in the kitchen before we were served more than half an hour later.. it was ok cos it was worth the wait. the captain digged the bulgogi as i fell in love with the kimchi stew.. yum! indeed it was too much for us and at last the pajaeon had to be packed to go.

yummy banchan
my fav!!

and so the days original plan was again scrapped... went back to our room to get some rest. q went to sleep and again, we took turn to do some last minute shopping. i bought nothing except for just 1 black tshirt from uniqlo which i wore during i flight home later that nite. after shopping and packing, q was still sleeping and we drag that we had to wake her up as we knw that this means disaster. we were careful enuff to wake her up and not spoil her mood. we all had dinner in the room and at 8 pm we checked out of the hotel and proceed to the airport. journey to the airport was uneventful, but we get to see the banpo bridge water fountain and were quite excited. reached the airport 45 mins later and after checking in our stuffs we found out that all the shops were closed. sigh. checked into immigration and found out that some duty free shops are still opened. yeay! i managed to buy a perfume and stock up on my skincare.

the airport was deserted..
the airport was deserted..
the flight was on time and air asia graciously gave the Hot Seat to us without our consent. given a choice i would not want to change seats as Hot Seats, while having much more room for your legs, the arm rest is not flexible which makes the seat space much more restricted. the flexibility of the arm rest is quite important for me as im travelling with a kiddo who's still breastfeeding. they were also gracious enuff to provide a bassinet for us, but Q is a lanky kid and she's really requires a lot of space when she sleeps. the result was = total disaster. she managed to sleep for the first 2 hrs as she was really tired. but after that all hell broke lose. i had to hold her most of the time while pacing to and fro in the airplane or otherwise shell throw a fit. it was the most gruelling 4 hours of my life! i was really tired and sleepy but had to hold her thru most of the flight journey. lessons learnt, no more night flight next time for us! no wonder we did not see anybody else with a toddler in the flight.

siapa di dalam??

reached LCCT earlier than planned, thank god! had bfast at The Coffee Bean as its the only place thats not crowded and the food really sucked. i think they used bad eggs as it tasted like ****! i was groggy and tired and all i need was too get some sleep and was too tired to argue and complaint. i left my food untouched which costs us RM 60++ in total and asked the captain to quickly hail a cab. reached home at 7.30am and off we doze until noon.....ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.......

p/s: i think that almost all the restaurants in LCCT (tried and tested) sucked bigtime in terms of food and service. i think that they have to seriously look into this matter to maintain our country's image. eventhough the outlets are wellknown big food chains, they have to carefully employ their staffs to ensure the quality of the food and service is preserved. doesnt mean that being in a low cost airport you can skimp on the quality!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random Stuffs

its monday and im feeling the blues... just a few things here.

1. my bfast this morning.. swiss miss hot choc. yum.

2. its frustrating how I, an avid online shopper, found out that lotsss of US shopping sites does not ship to malaysia but does ship to singapore and indonesia - which is just a stones throw away from malaysia??? to add salt to the injury, they also ship to cambodia, nepal, gibraltar, maldives and othercountries ive never heard of, and even pakistan??? we seem to be invisible on the map.. why oh why???

3. had dim sum @ Xing Zhu, Cyberview Lodge recently with Jo -  a good fren i hadnt met for quite a while.. the dim sums were delish! the ambience was nice too. shud do this again sometimes. it costs RM80 for 2 pax.. there was a combo set RM44 - eat all you can but we did not chose that one cos its a little bit too much for us. but if ur up for the challenge, by all means! i think its worth it..

view from our seat
4. discovered a lot of restaurants are coming up in cyber.. im phsyched!! recent addition nandos and kenny rogers.. starbucks, subway and obriens coming soon!!! lots of other exciting restaurants are also coming up at the shaftsbury.. cant wait...!

5. there is no decent gym within 30 km of the vicinity. hmpph...

6. not sure why suddenly am missing lil Q pulak.

7. balik kg last weekend - had bakso by the beach.

8. View from my desk during a stormy morning. Scary stuff.. never seen this kinda cloud before. it was gone as fast as it came.. no editing whatsoever was done to this pic.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Return to the Land of Kimchi

Part 4: Out and About II

Day 3 (21.5.2012) (The Plan)
Namdaemun Market (Closed Sundays) 
Dongdaemun (Closed Sundays)
cheonggyecheon stream
Lunch at Dongdaemun - Jeonju Sikdang
Yeouido park
Han River Cruise
Dinner (Yukaney @ myeongdong)
Back to Hotel

today we had heavy bfast as a result from lessons learnt from yesterday -  got to eat heavy bfast in order to get the energy to walk walk walk..... we had the Brahims Nasi Beriyani + kari ayam..  we went out late again as usual. but today we got smarter and use the subway. it was just one stop ahead to reach namdaemun. we left the stroller in our hotel as we felt that it will be hard to maneuver a stroller in Namdaemun due to the crowd and we had planned to go back to our room after shopping.

based on my extensive research, i found the e-lengdang building - the place to shop for brooches (near Namdaemun Gate 5 ).. i only managed to find a couple of stores selling brooches on the second floor and i was too tired to climb to the third floor. q was also not in a good mood cos she got a lot of attention from the ahjummas as usual, so i quickly pick up a few brooches and went out the building, plus it was quite hot and i was sweating like mad in the building. hubby bought a shirt and i bought a couple of comfy ahjumma pants at 10kwon to wear at home.. :D we did not explore the market much cos we were worried that we got lost in the maze of alleys in the market.

Namdamun Market - Gate 5
shopping for brooches
after about 1 hour we make our move to our next destination - Dongdaemun. its within the same subway line - 4 stops from Hoehyon (Namdaemun). i intended to buy korean silk at Dongdaemun but we hardly found any silk at that place, there was a lot of cotton fabrics but i was not too keen on them. we went to the shopping compelexes but it was still closed. it only opens later in the day at 7pm on Mondays.

no wonder it was quiet..
Q was really not in the mood by this time and we decided to go back and have lunch + rest. on the way back i saw lots of shops selling pretty comforters in the underground mall and made a mental note to return to this place later ;-) reached our room at 3.30 pm and had our lunch - instant rice + fried eggs + kipas udang soy sauce.. yum! after lunch  + throwing some tantrums, Q fell fast asleep -  for quite a long time. i think she was still tired frm the journey the night before. we dared not to wake her up or shell be in a bad mood all day long.. she slept long enough for us to take turns shopping at myeongdong which is just across the street :). i found myself a very nice korean style blazer in uniqlo at 19k won!!  

 Q woke up at 6 and our original plan to go to Yeouido Park and board the Han River Cruise was scrapped. i was looking forward towards this river cruise :(. we had dinner in our room and i decided to go back to Dongdaemun to buy the comforter - the image of the comforter was stuck in my head the whole time. after getting the comforter we went to doota! mall. i did not buy anything as it was quite expensive. hubby did bought 2 t shirts for 50 k won.. 

Doota! Mall
Dongdaemun Underground Shopping Center
Rows of pretty comforters! im a sucker for those..
My most prized purchase - Korean fabric comforter.. bought at 25k won..
Cheonggye Stream near Dongdaemun
since it was early, we took the subway to city hall to get to cheonggyecheon stream (the main entrance). Read the history of this stream here --> . we followed the directions given in the visitkorea website to reach this place but it was not accurate. the city hall station seems to be in construction works at that time. we were supposed to exit at the city hall building but we exited the subway to a some sort of field somewhere - where people just hang out after work,. there was a monument there but we did not know what it was. so we just hang out at the place to rest for a bit..
we got lost here
dont know the name of this place

after half an hour, we decided to just follow our instincts. im quite reluctant to ask around since communication was not that easy as our pronounciation is different from koreans. luckily the pretty lady i asked managed to understand that im looking for the cheonggye stream. she gave directions, and it was quite a walk to the stream. we made it to the stream and the view was breathtaking indeed. i would recommend going to cheonggye stream at night.. the lightings make the place looks like its amagical place.. we spent some time there just soaking up the ambiance and did some ppl watching.

breathtaking night view

 we took the taxi back to our hotel and had a nite cap at Caffe Bene which was just across the street. sadly, the waffles were sold out. so we just had coffee and muffins. after that we talk a walk at the shopping areas.. most of the shops were already closed by 10pm except for 1 or 2 accessories shop.

Caffe Bene

went back to our room, clean up a bit and zzzZZZZZzzzzzz

Friday, June 1, 2012

Call Me Crazay...

i did something that ive never done before today.. it might seem normal to someone else, but to me, ive never thought of going to to the cinema alone. yes, by myself. i don't know what got into me but since yesterday this idea seems to came into my head. this morning i booked the ticket online for the show at 12.15 which is just in time for lunch break. its good to know that nowadays you can print ur own ticket. its been that long since a watched movies at the cinema. the last movie i watched was --- Avatar... in 2010.. yes, almost 2 years ago.

yes, i bought 2 seats, to avoid any "unfortunate events"

i reached the cinema quite late due to a meeting that i did not know i have this morning. luckily the one sitting next to the empty seat beside me was another person watching the movie alone. i was strangely comforted by that. :-)

the movie was just starting...
btw, i watched SnwWhite and the Hntsman. beware of the spoiler ahead. overall, the movie was just ok.. when it comes to movies, im kinda hard to please. there are only a handful of movies that managed to impress me. and twilight is not one of it. not even harry potter or LOTR. yes i did layan those movies but its not the kind that keeps rerunning in my mind afterwards..

im having a hard time to separate the image of Bella frm KristnStwrt and in the movie i think (imho) she did not have the kinda grace of a princess to carry the character of snw white.. shes more suitable to be a tough fighter chick - again, imho. its also kinda weird seing snw white being that in this movie after all this while reading about snw white who's supposed to be so soft, gentle and kind hearted princess..  other than that, charlize theron did a good job of being an evil queen and both of the heroes are quite yummy:P

the filming locations are breathtaking.. hard to tell which part are graphics and which parts are real.. after some googling, the filming locations are in the UK:

Backlot, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Bourne Woods, Farnham, Surrey, England, UK
Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Frensham Ponds, Farnham, Surrey, England, UK
Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
credit to owner of the picture..

To sum it all up, im glad that i decided to do this today.. It could add to my list of thigs to do to destress during friday lunch break - which is the only me time i have in a week.. .. Yeah, i shud do this more often!