Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's at Itaewon

I met up with some of the folks from training in a district of downtown Seoul called Itaewon on Saturday afternoon. It took me forty-five minutes: 10 minute walk to busstop, 15 minute ride to Hapjeong Station (line 2-6 junction), 5 minutes wandering around the station, 15 minutes on Line 6 subway to Itaewon Station, Exit 1, where Karen was kind enough to wait for me.

Above is a map of a small section of the subway. I live about at the last "o" in Omokgyo. For a full-size map, click here. On the way home, I successfully navigated to the station and made it to the busstop. I was unsure which side of the road to stand on, and every bus was packed like a proverbial sardine can. Twenty minutes of that would be okay, but an hour was too much (if I was headed out instead of in), so I took a taxi. It only cost 5000 W from Hapjeong to my officetel.

Now, about Itaewon: this is the best-known hang-out area for ex-pats in Seoul. Initial stop was 3 Alley, Karen's favorite place--by 15:00, I was hungry, and got a huge, well-cooked sirloin steak with some delicious potatoes for 18,500 W, about what you'd pay at Outback back home.

Later, we went to buy me a cellphone, and walked down the street to an Irish pub called Wolfhound while waiting for the account to be set up (visited my first PC-bang, as well, to print off a copy of my passport for the cellphone paperwork). They had a number of Irish ales, but the music was geared to the, um, younger crowd. Final stop was Seoul Bar, where the conversation was monopolized by a tall, obnoxious Scandanavian named Johann who is a safety inspector for KAL. Also met a bushy-browed Scot named Bob who is an operations specialist for the subway system.

On the way home, I finally bought a T-Money card, which is a public transport pass you just place on a sensor pad at the beginning and end of your trip, and it subtracts the correct amount from your account.

Though I'm not really a bar-crawler these days, it was fun, and I saw lots of places I want to come back to visit: Turkish kabobs, tandoori, Thai food. Oh, and Outback Steakhouse.
UPDATE (9/9/08, 8:00 PM): Photo of Seoul subway car on the way home, taken with my cellphone--
Seoul Metro subway car


Kelsey said...

Ah, Itaewon. So useful to foreigners, and sketchy.


Adam said...

Wanted to let you know I'm enjoying your blog. I'm spending a year on Kyushu in Japan and am coming to visit South Korea this week, so I was searching for interesting blogs. Even after my trip to Korea is over, I imagine I will continue to read your posts. Your journeys and thoughts mirror mine (also an American) even though the destination country is different.

Rod said...

The subway car looks very orderly and clean.