We began by visiting the Korean Tourism Organization, which is full of useful information for tourists... Useful information, such as a section dedicated to K-pop Stars. Posters, bios, and life-size cutouts of various K-pop stars made that section of the KTO a treat for all of us, but the main attraction were the life-size cutouts of Taeyeon, Jessica, and Yuri. Most everyone took an opportunity to take photos next to cutouts. The recently released "All About Girls' Generation" DVDs were also playing on several TVs inside the KTO.
Walking into the KTO
Posing with TaengSicYul
Sunny on the telly
After spazzing about Soshi inside the KTO, everyone was ushered outside where media crews from SBS, MBC, KBS, etc. were waiting to film, photograph, and interview us about our trip. The president of the KTO (whose name I unfortunately can't remember right now because I'm so tired) also personally greeted us and spoke to us about Korean culture. Several Soshified members were interviewed on camera about Girls' Generation, K-pop, and Korean culture in general. The meeting with the press was capped off by a quick and impromptu dance performance by several Soshified members.
The group posing with a banner
The large media presence
Dancing to Genie
After the surreal experience with the Korean media, we walked from the KTO to the nearby Cheonggye Stream for the true tourist activity: picture-taking. Everyone walked around the Cheonggye Stream for roughly 45 minutes taking pictures, and once that was finished, we left to visit Gyeongbok Palace, the ancient residence of the Korean royalty. After learning more about Korea's history and seeing the beautiful man-made and natural scenery of the Gyeongbok Palace, we also stopped by the Blue House, which is the South Korean Presidential Residence.
Changing of the guards ceremony in Gyeongbok Palace
Royal Banquet Hall
Fountain and phoenix statue near the Blue House
We had an hour-and-a-half lunch break in the Insadong area, and before we ate, most of us managed to find an Innisfree store where, of course, Yoona's picture was everywhere inside. Luck was in our favor as that particular Innisfree store had a large amount of promotional goods in the back, so many of us walked our with Yoona posters, stickers, and the green Innisfree handkerchief (I made sure to buy some lotion for myself so that I wouldn't just be asking for free stuff). Lunch for myself and a handful of other SONE friends consisted of wonderfully cold naengmyun, which we ate to try and fight the heat and humidity of summer.
Yoona's face is everywhere inside Innisfree
Yoona's face is everywhere inside Innisfree
My bowl of naengmyun
After our lunch break ended, we boarded the buses yet again to travel to Kimchi School, where we learned about the ingredients involved and the process of making kimchi. After the kimchi-making class, we also tried on traditional Korean hanboks.
Entering the Kimchi School
My completed kimchi
Trying on the hanboks
Once we finished up at Kimchi School, we made an unscheduled stop at a cosmetics store (the name of which I forgot). The tour guides were enthusiastically telling us about the benefits of Korean BB Creme, and quite a few people walked out with bags of skincare products. Then we left for dinner, where we ate samgetang (spelling?), a type of chicken noodle soup that is traditionally eaten in the summer. Dinner was followed by a trip to see a Jump performance, a non-verbal musical comedy performance based on martial arts. I didn't quite know what to expect from the Jump show, but I found it very entertaining and hilarious, so I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Seoul.
The chicken noodle soup
The official tour activities concluded, and we all returned to the hotel after the Jump show. A small group of about 10 of us went to Dongdaemun night market for some late night shopping. We haggled for cheap prices and ate some street food, but we struggled to catch a cab to take us back once we finished. Filled with frustration, we decided to go eat some patbingsoo (shaved ice) and try again later. Finally, we returned to the hotel and we have another long day ahead of us tomorrow, as we're going to attend the rehearsal AND recording of Music Core, followed by shopping in Myeongdong.
I'll talk to you all again tomorrow, after we go to see MuCore!!
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