Wednesday, July 3, 2013

boats, booze, & berettas

Our beloved Kevin Kim (also known as the Kommodore in our circle, self-promoted from his previous title of Kaptain - lol) turned 24 this June! He called all of us into Seoul for a first-class celebration.

Those of us who had the Friday off got together that afternoon and checked into our usual digs (Seoul Base Camp, where else?). I finally got to experience patio season in Korea, with some cold ones on a breezy second floor patio - amazing. That night we went to the second rooftop screening at Platoon (Pulp Fiction),  dipped into MWG Club in Hongdae for a peek, and then settled in at a joint nearby for some late night burgers and mac/cheese, where we spotted local cyber celebs Simon and Martina of Eat Your Kimchi fame. Their vlog was actually immensely helpful in giving me a glimpse of life in Korea as a foreigner; I watched a bunch of their videos (particularly the earlier ones) over the few months leading up to my arrival in the country. 

The following morning, the crew (minus the birthday boy) went for a walk in Hongdae under the scorching sun.

Sorry to disappoint, but what looks to be Erick's pants pulled down is actually a blanket. He is fully clothed here!
Cool cat staying cool under her double sunbrella
This was such a cool installation. It took me a while to figure out how it was physically possible!
Just floatin'
Right next to Rolling Hall (where we went for the Grimes show) is a teeny red & yellow sandwich spot. As you can see, Tay dressed the part and blended into the wall
They had pretty yummy sammies for very cheap
Erick checking out some goods at a paper shop

Not a single time have we explored Hongdae and not discovered something new. This time around, it was an out-of-the-way alleyway tucked in between Hongdae and Sangsu, with a number of cute cafes and a Publique Bakery (and a Fell+Cole, which we didn't check out but apparently is a boutique ice-creamery with unusual flavours like makgeolli).

If you've lived in Korea, you will know that bread of the real variety can be hard to come by. Our Tous Les Jours and Paris Baguettes aren't quite up to snuff when it comes to the whole wheats, ryes, and sourdoughs. Here are some blogs that highlight some bakeries in Seoul that sell some of the good stuff - I'm talking dense loaves, thick crusts... rustic breads that don't deflate and aren't 50% sugar.

Chinny chin chin

We headed back to camp when we got a call from Kev saying that he'd arrived. What was originally supposed to be lunch in the park by the river became a makeshift picnic on the roof at Base Camp - it was just too hot to make moves by that point in the day.

The birthday boy up to his usual antics in the kitchen
Our meat & cheese board - as modest as it is, it was so good after months of not having anything much like it

After our quick bite, we got ready for our boat ride on the Han River. Kevin had arranged an hour-long charter at the Seoul Marina, and because this was our first and perhaps only time all of us would do something like this together, we dressed up and primped pretty.

Two modern prairie girls braiding each other's hair
Good looking crew I've been blessed with - thanks Jake for the shot!
The Kaptain in his Sunday best! How could you ever say no to that face?
Rockin' that life vest
Those shoes!
Oh heyyy
Tay and his wifeys - Emmers where you at?
All eyes on this funny guy
Kat's new cut looking fresh
Boat shoes on a boat, duh
Our hazy view of downtown Seoul
National Assembly building
Red-lipped ladies
Kev took the wheel for a spin
So babely
Taylor was happy to take the reins
Pretty in braids
Kittykat and I
It felt too mean to ask the guy to move (he also had ZERO noonchi).. sorry Gins and Seulgi. 

The day may have been super hazy (the sky might as well have been one big grey cloud), but the cool breeze, good company, and Kevin's on board playlist (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Jay-Z circa the late 90s, etc) made it perfect. After docking, we walked along the river in our search for cabs to the restaurant. Dinner was at El Plato - Spanish tapas and paella on Garosu-gil in Shinsadong. I think we got about eight or ten dishes to share. I'm so glad we got sangria!

The group. Missing: Taytay, who was weeing in the little boy's room

We ended the night's food binge at a Japanese grill bar in that same tucked away alley in Hongdae and then went back to MWG to put on our dancing shoes for Seoul Shindig. Fun retro tunes and a packed dance floor = good times.

The New American Gothic
Stripe Life
We're weird.

To top off our weekend, we made our way to the Mokdong shooting range. I still don't think I'll keep it up as a hobby, but after shooting ten quick but nerve-wracking rounds, I can understand why some people do love it so much - the rush, the momentum, the target, the sense of competition etc. That being said - I've never felt comfortable with the idea of guns being easily accessible outside the recreational environment to basically anyone with a driver's license, but that's for another blog post on another blog.

Stairway to heaven
These air pellets looked like a fun family-friendly activity - not our cup of tea
Our safety vests
My turn! I look so un-badass lol
I think Jaimes took this one - so pretty!
Seulgi was our most accurate female shooter!
Erick got the highest score and was awarded another ten shots for free! He opted for a revolver.
Badass with a capital B! A couple single-handed shots
Daaanng (but he's like whatevs)
Do you get this picture? Taylor isn't actually in the office, but Ginna is... #creepy
No idea what this guy's deal was - Cousin Itt's military cousin?
Sock cavern
Whoa in storefront form
FINALLY satisfied my froyo craving! Not nearly as good as Menchie's, but this will have to tide me over till I'm back in Canadia
Tough guy bull's eye looking his twelve-year-old self. Unicorn cone? Cone on a cone?
This was right next to the goat from a few weekends prior. Remember mister goat?

I've got photos from this year's cultural trip in Gyeongnam and Gyeongbuk up next, and then Erick's birthday weekend in picturesque Gyeongju. Stay tuned. xo

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