Third book from Khaled Hosseini. I know the existence of this book for the longest time but never got around to reading it. Not until Ms Green book club was ordering it in bulk and I hop on the opportunity.
Khaled Hosseini does not disappoint!
I love how the novel started with 2 main characters, Pari and Abdullah, and in between all the pages, it weaves through the life of all other characters, giving us glimpse of how the war affected them. Yet he managed to somehow find a way of connecting them together without the feeling of abrupt end and beautifully ending the novel with Pari and Abdullah again. In a way, the storytelling shines a positive light on the war torn country that we know little of.
Of all 3 novels I read from him, I would think A Thousand Splendid Suns remains my favorite followed by this.
Right after I finished this book, I started the next one immediately and it’s a good one! Lets say there’s 300+ pages of it and I’ve bulldozed through 150 pages last night alone.
I’ve been busier than expected. I can’t even find the time to finish the Korea series but am determined to !
For Day 5/2 in Seoul, we actually did not do much but really spend out time people watching and soaking in the Hongdae culture. Shopping and cafe!
As mentioned, I will compile all the cafe we went in Korea in 1 post for easy referencing. We started the day by hanging out at Kim’s hostel, Urban Wood which I highly recommend too. I love my hostel too but as these are small establishment, it’s always handy to have plan b. I actually found this hostel and was struggling which to stay but decided to go with Maruji’s as it was more of my style.
Us, before raiding the stores of Hongdae, 홍대 Stylenanda to be specific. As YC puts it, somehow Korea gravity is lower as we have no other reason on why everyone is bending??
While we were inside some stores, K signalled to me he spotted some hot girls doing some street style shoots. We always look out for eye candies for one another. Well, who doesn’t like pretty sight ? So I quickly came out of the store to have a peek at them, and lo and behold they were models for Stylenanda!!! Park Sora to be exact.
I think K hit his korean girl jackpot with this encounter
It was just pure luck for us to stumble across the flagship store. The girls were walking in and out of Stylenanda flagship store in Hongdae to change for their shoot and K didn’t mind waiting for us attacking all the 3ce infront of us like mad girls..
Until he waited for 3 hours and doesn’t give a damn bout the models anymore
After Hongdae, we decided to split up, K and I decided to head over to Namsan Tower as I really wanted to visit it after watching it from Running Man a couple of time, while Kim wanted to go on the Hangang River cruise. It’s was perhaps the only 1 or 2 places that I really wanted to visit in Seoul.
Seoul N Tower N서울타워
Directions to the Namsan Cable Car - ₩17,000 for 2 return tickets
1) Myeongdong Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 3 / Take road to the right of Pacific Hotel and walk for 10min
2) From Hoehyeon Intersection (Myeongdong & Hoehyeon stations, Subway Line 4) walk towards Namsan Tunnel #3 and take the free Namsan Oreumi elevator (free) to the cable car station.
The direction was a lie. We took the subway to Myeondong and walk UPHILL towards the cable car station and it was so so cold. It was definitely more than 10minutes of walk, I can bet on that OR I was just really weak.
When we got to the top, the sun was just about to set, so it was really a lovely sight. There’s just something in the air about this place. Perhaps, its just the winter cold air.
I wonder who was the one that thought it’s such a great idea to put a lock on the fence of a communication tower? Anyway, since we were already there, we just bought the cheapest available lock from the souvenir shop and left it there to rust forever with the other ten of thousands who shares the same fate.
After spending more than an hour up there, to our surprise, we headed down via the elevator this time and walked all the way back to Myeondong. Before I wrap about Namsan, I want to state that I really love it there. Minus the Ch crowd. Apart from that, I believe I will want to revisit that place on my future trips.
Roadside stall tteokbokki, my favorite food in Korea and that’s all we had for dinner that day. Tteokbbokki and assorted food from this ahjumma here.
Hey, Ho, Here we go ~
It seems to be an easy day in the beginning, but it doesn’t last long that way. I decided that it’s near enough for us to walk from Myeondong to Dongdaemun via Cheonggyecheon (청계천)
This stream used to be a run down drain when the city council decided to spend $900million to restore and rebuilt it to its current state.
To be honest, it may be nicer to have a stroll if it wasn’t so cold, or late ( close to midnight) or when they put up deco like so. Nevertheless, it was lovely to walk with K and we felt completely normal and at ease walking along a stream/drain almost midnight with the other random couples we walked by. This would never happen in Malaysia HAHA!
I was really referring to the guidebook for the direction and comparing it with our Naver map incase we were lost. However, K decided that we should just take the subway or cab – whichever that comes first to Dongdaemun after about 20mins of walk.
Subway station wins! and here’s a different side of South Korea rarely shown in the media. In every city, aside from the glitzy lifestyle and glamour culture, there will surely be some “leftover of the society”.
Finally. Dongdaemun 동대문!
Shopping heaven to many as many of the malls here open 17hours a day. We arrived a little before 12am and somehow managed to bump into Kim and the rest despite the stretch of malls in that area. We were abit taken back with the rudeness of the people there and since I am totally not a shopper, all of us ended up at this really nice cafe and I had a really expensive yet YUMMY ice cream – Softree at about 1am..
We raised the white flag at about 13oAM and hailed a cab back to Hongdae. The photo below was taken while waiting for a cab to make u-turn and you would think it’s taken at around dinner time yea..
Another much delayed post. Since I’m still riding the Korean wave, instead of my Korea trip, I will blog about this new place near me. I noticed the existence of this place for quite some time since I use this small road on a daily basis. Every attempt I made before this to get people to try this place failed miserably as we will always end up in our favourite jap restaurant which is 3 shops away? Anyway after reading Andrea’s review on it, I’m more determined than ever to give it a try and I did. 2 weeks in a row ahahaa !
Last Friday, I accompanied MsGreen for a ballet recital at PenangPac. After spending so much time watching So You Think You Can Dance on TV, I was quite looking forward to watch a ballet recital live for the first time. We don’t always get ballet company performing here in Penang, Well come on, who would have thought there will be an audience for it right?
We got our tickets online with an early bird price and while collecting our tickets, I was casually chatting with the staff.
So how’s the response for the show? Good?
It’s full house today! Surprisingly tickets are sold out for all 3 shows
Yea, I was shocked myself! Penang wor!! Ballet wor!!!
Exact words from the ticketing staff.
We got ourselves really neat seats, right at the first row. So those men in really tight white tights jumping around on stage was really in our face hahaha.. Anyway, I truly enjoyed the evening as it’s quite amazing watching the ballerina spin 32 times non-stop with that kind of body posture ON her toes during the Don Quixote piece. My favourite piece of the night out of the 4 performed was in fact the contemporary piece.
Apart from that, I’m really happy with the crowd and the turnout. I always felt that to know how matured a place is or how developed it is, just look at the level of art appreciation in the people.
Ballet, I would love to watch again
Upon arrival to Seoul, we took the AREX to Hongdae where our guest-houses are located. It’s really quick and convenient. I will separate the guest-house post and compile all the cafes we went into another for easier reference.
First up, lunch! We were very fortunate to have Dao to come meet up at Maruji’s and bring us to this Jjigae’s place in Sinchon. It was my first time in a place that serves only jjigae and it’s really interesting. The queue was never ending and actually the best part is their sides and rice are unlimited, love it! I need alot of rice when having spicy food!
The food are considered cheap for central Seoul. We ordered various type of stew and I had the ham & cheese version. So delish!!! How can something as simple as tofu and egg taste so amazing. Dao ordered the eggroll additionally which was delicious as well.
Here’s the maknae of the table doing the dirty work. Just joking! So in South Korea, apparently they have this culture where the youngest should treat the elderly such as cracking the egg into the stew for them or grilling the meat in bbq. Or something as simple as pouring water for everyone.
We took a walk over to Ewha Women’s University area for a look. I would go back to that area again if time allows as they have plenty of shops which are cheaper than in Myeongdong. Actually the real reason is to see the university itself. Women’s university in Seoul, you think K will miss the chance ..? Also because Gary from Runningman just filmed an episode there. Hahaha.. ya we visited alot of places because RM went and not much other reason.
In Myeongdong, the whole place are packed with skincare and cosmetic shops. Like people were telling me about it before but I just couldn’t imagine it. It’s like every 5 steps you take, you will see Etude House, Skinfood and whatever it is. It is also packed with plenty of cafes. I suddenly saw this cat mascot on the street and took a photo with it because my sister was in Seoul a week prior and took a similar photo. What a difference a week can do to the weather. She was freezing and it was even snowing but my day was considered warm. However, the following few days in Seoul was almost at 0 degrees -__-
It started to drizzle so we went to watch the world famous Nanta Show. They don’t really speak and convey the message through their many funny and dangerous antics. Therefore, no need worry if you don’t understand Korean. It is a musical that has been staged around the world afterall.
Went back to Hongdae, Mapo-gu area to meet up with Dao again for dinner. She took us to this famous cozy chicken and beer place which I really love. They have 3 branches in Hongdae alone and it’s always full. Truth be told, I love fried chicken/everything. Seems like S.Korea share the same sentiment as me as there’s so many outlets that serve solely fried chicken and beer! Also, this has nothing to do with Cheon Songyi as I didn’t watch My Love from the Star -__-
Hot Chicks, literally.
Rooftop Moonlight 옥상달빛 (Oksang Dalbit)
After dinner, we went to this really cool place nearby with beer fridge lining up against the wall. It’s like a beer buffet! Choose whatever you want, drink and pay later by bringing the bottles to the counter. Local people (men) above 35yo are not allowed in the club so they hang out at places like this. That fact usually generate plenty of shocked responses but come to think of it, I would rather have it that way too..
I already love Seoul so much by the end of that day..