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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 4 in Seoul... our last day of freedom!

We started the day off at guess where? Yep, Dunkin Donuts! Having breakfast there every morning has provided a nice form of routine and stability for me since moving here! I'm hoping once we move to Pusan my routine can be to eat an apple for breakfast and be a little more healthy! Anyhow, I took this picture as a tribute to DD and the nice times we've spent there over the past 4 days!

As you can see, I'm back to blonde... or should I say orange! Yep, that's why the picture is in black and white. I'm hoping it will fade a bit, to more of a blonde color, and soon!!! Good news is, apparently the Koreans love it because I got compliments right and left today! It was such a nice change from always watching Kev get the compliments!

During the late 60's or early 70's, I can't remember... my dad was drafted into the army and stationed in Korea for a year. He worked as a court clerk in JAG. He asked me to see if I could find the building he worked in at the military base, but they were not about to let us through the gate! This was the best I could do! Kevin had to take this picture in stealth mode... It's not even the right gate, but at least it proves I tried! Sorry dad!

After our escapade at the military base, we walked about a mile back towards the subway and stopped at Paris Baguette for lunch, a chain cafe in Korean. We usually aren't into going to chain restaurants while we're on vacation, but it sounded good, so we went! I was amazed at how this place worked! You walk in, and all of this food is on a table near the door. You just pick what you want and pay for it! Having food out like this would never happen in the States for fear someone would poison it or steal something! I love it! I think of it as a testimony to how safe it is here! :)

After lunch we went to Namdaemun Market AGAIN. Kevin loved the beanie he got yesterday and wanted to go back to get another one in a different color! (Reminds me of the time in Italy when he had to go back to Genoa to buy the shoes he saw!) He's a sucker for fashion, what can I say! After that, we were on a mission to find a Jjimjilbang and relax before we start work tomorrow! A Jjimjilbang (찜질방), incase you are wondering, is a huge, gender-segregated public bathhouse, complete with hot tubs, showers, saunas, outdoor pools, massage tables, full body scrubs, etc... We walked for a long time trying to find one, and finally were pointed in the direction of the LARGEST Jjimjilbang in Seoul - The Dragon Hill! The picture below was my reaction when I finally saw it! I was very nervous, especially since everyone we talked to said the women would stare at me because I'm a foreigner! It's one thing to be naked in a bathhouse, it's another to be naked and STARED at in a bathhouse!

Kevin and I at the entrance to Dragon Hill.

I will be the first to admit that Jjimjilbang's are AWESOME! If you can get past the awkwardness of being naked with tons of other people, they're AMAZING! Not to mention, this place was 6 floors and was all inclusive! You were given pajama type clothes to wear if you wanted to go check out the other floors after bathing. The other floors are unisex areas,and include things like: massage rooms, a pure oxygen room (which I fell asleep in!), a movie theatre, a TV room, a healing room, an internet room, a place to get a manicure, a sleeping room, an ice room, a salt room, a main hall with a magician show that was actually really good, etc etc etc... You could literally spend the entire day there! Oh and did I mention it's open 24 hours! The great things about Korean bathhouses is the fact that they are a popular weekend getaway for Korean families to relax and spend time soaking in tubs or lounging and sleeping as a family! There is absolutely nothing sexual about them... just pure OLD FASHIONED FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT! haha! Since I felt weird about taking pictures inside, I found this one online. This is a pic of the main hall, where the magician show was.

We just got home and I'm crashed on the bed while Kev is out on the town finding some dinner!
Tomorrow is the BIG DAY - our 1st day of orientation! We have someone picking us up at our hostel and driving us to the orientation site (approx 1 1/2 hour drive). We are thrilled at the special service we're getting, since everyone else is having to find their own transportation! :) As sad as I am that my 20 straight days of vacation are over, I'm excited about working again and can't wait to see what's in store for tomorrow!


  1. I love that you lightened your hair! Now I recognize you right away in your pictures. I really like your camel-colored coat! So snazzy! Your Dad really appreciates your efforts to get into the military base. Now he's concerned that they won't let him in either. So how much was the Korean spa experience? I can't figure out what's on the rug in the picture you took!! I'm so glad you are enjoying the Korean food, but the Dunkin Donuts... well, you are on vacation until tomorrow.. Love you,

  2. Thank you for attempting to get onto the Yongsan Army Garrison to get pictures of where I was quartered and my working buildings. Sorry it didn't work out also. I am really enjoying your blog. I hope you will be able to keep it up. By the way, Jill I ran into Diane Mesa at the Wells Fargo Bank. She said she knew you were moving to Korea and that you email each other. Love you, Dad

  3. Mom, I have no idea what's on the rug. I actually didn't take that picture, I found it online. I didn't want to take pictures in there, because I didn't know if I was allowed to! I'm glad you like my hair! :) The spa was 10,000 WON, which is about $7.00. What a deal huh?!

  4. Dad, no problem! It was still fun to see the area outside the base where you probably shopped and went to restaurants! It was very cool! I'm glad you like my blog too! I probably won't write everyday from here on, since we'll be working, but I'll still update it once in a while! Love you!

  5. Jill, this reminds me of the bath house we visited in Turkey. It was awesome! Who knew it could be so fantastic to be slathered up by a stranger while laying on a marble table and surrounded by more strangers??

    I emailed you at your aol address - do you still have/check it??