Wednesday was another great day. We hung out in the hotel until about 2:00, then headed to a local market for some souvenir shopping. Then, we took a taxi to meet up with John and Jess and their CUTIE, Hannah.
(Tay playing with Amanda's IPhone-wearing a Pororo hat!)
Let me take a moment… We normally use the metro, but occasionally take a gray taxi. The driving here is, without a doubt, enough to make me hurl. It’s like a Six Flags ride on steroids, without the restraining bars. I tend to have to sit in the front of the cabs just to keep it in check.
That being said, an orange taxi picked us up this go around…. Mistake number 1. DON’T get in orange taxis! Anyway, we were trying to get to the MOST FAMOUS palace in all of Korea. The driver kept asking ME how to get there! I was doing all sorts of directing, all while laughing my tail off! I couldn’t believe he was asking ME where to go. And on an honest note, we think he might have had some sort of dementia. It was like riding with “ten second Tom.” Every 30 seconds, he’d say, “Chung-dong Palace?” I would smile and say, “Neh! (Yes)” He would go, “Ahhhh! Neh! Ok, Ok!!” Then, he’d GAS it!! Then, STOMP on the break, look over his shoulder and say, “Chung-dong Palace?” And… we’d repeat. THE ENTIRE WAY.
So, at one point, I FINALLY saw a sign and was pointing saying “Chung-dong Palace! Left! See? 5-0 (it was on the sign), all while pointing left. He kept going, “Chung-dong Palace? Left?” With me going “Neh! Left” and pointing. Then, he realized we were five lanes too far to the right and went, “ooooooo” and… GASED it across FIVE lanes! And then, we plowed into the car next to us. Yep! A slight altercation, while riding in a taxi in a foreign country. Followed by a war of honking!! The nice black car apparently was wanting to stop for insurance purposes, yet our cab driver was honking and screaming and signing for them to, clearly, get out of the way.
Geez louis! It was TERRIFYING and HILARIOUS all at the same time. When I finally saw the palace I think I screamed “STOP!” Lesson learned… orange cabs mean you’re are asking to meet your maker... sooner, rather than later!
Continuing… we ate our Burger King take out on the palace steps like reverent Americans….
Then, we visited a second palace that had BEAUTIFUL gardens (these are the palaces/gardens pictured in this post) and large pathways for the children to play. It had rained lightly and cooled off the temperature, so it was super nice to be outside.
After strolling around, we headed to a local Korean restaurant for some Bolgogi (marinated teriyaki beef with onions and crystal noodles), Gkolbi (beef short ribs, grilled at the table-YUM-O!), and some bebinbop (spicy rice with wild vegetables.) BTW- I have no idea how to actually spell all that. That is the phonetic spelling… I do teach first grade! ;) Our meal came with tons of side dishes too: kimchi, kimchi cucumber, kimchi soup, a salad with a sweet/sour dressing, octopus-which John actually ate, and a few other things that I couldn’t make out. It was really, really good actually.
After dinner, Amanda and I trucked it back to the Subway, where we made it home with only an almost wrong turn in the subway. And then, we laid still for about .5 seconds and fell sound asleep!