S[e]oul Searching Spring Blossom 2018

During my mid Jan ’18 trip to Seoul, I decided to return to Seoul for Spring. My sister was actually supposed to have a week of field trip at Sookmyung Women’s University under her uni’s faculty on the dates I chose but their plan fell through so instead of going alone, I took her along. As it is also her birthday today (April 12th) just gon treat it as a birthday gift.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUSUK 🌹

I really thought the whole Seoul would be in full bloom by first week of April but I really thought wrong. We came a week too early and on top of that, the weather decided to be on PMS. Just a week earlier, the temperature was all warm and sunny at 20°C so I only packed a light hoodie. On the third day of our trip, it dropped to 2°C so Sis’ plan to wear the Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) went down the drain LOL.
Since we arrived late in the evening, immigration took a long time and my luggage was among the last few ones that came out. After getting our Data SIM card from KT Olleh, we got the AREX to Hongik University station where our host waited for us.
After dumping our luggage, we went to Myeongdong to exchange some currency. Where I reside at the moment dont carry Korean Won so I had US Dollars with me instead. Myeongdong has the best rate for currency exchange based on my experience and there is one particular store that offers the best rate of all so it is always full with customers and the queue is usually long. Sure enough when we reached later we found that it was long enough it reached the next alley. After that, it was time to enjoy the street food Myeongdong Night Market offered 🙂
Never thought that it will be packed on a Monday night, turned out they all also the same, expecting the Spring Blossoms but too bad, Seoul city is still bare from any blossom >_<

Strawberry Juice
It’s spring, the season of Cherry/Plum Blossoms, also the season of plump, juicy sweet strawberries. There’s a thing about korean strawberries. They are abnormally sweet and huge. We opted for fresh juice instead of just the fresh fruits and boyyyyyy it was sooooo amazingly tasty. There was also no need of ice. It was refreshingly cool.

Hotteok
Korean honey pancake. There are variations of Hotteok. There are vegetables, seeds or the traditional sugar fillings.

There are varieties of street food. If you dont have any restriction on food, this place would be a heaven in cold weather. Hot piping straight out of stove freshly prepared food would be served 🙂

So we went ahead with dinner after browsing through several cosmetics shops and drugstores.

Yoogane

Several years ago, there was an info shared by those who have traveled to South Korea saying that Yoogane serves halal processed chicken meats. So we were quite happy with the discovery since Yoogane is practically everywhere in South Korea. But then a group of Muslim students made a contact with the company to confirm and they clarified that there is no such thing. Imagine the despair LMAO. Butttttt there is still seafood fried rice and vegetables available. So thats what we had for dinner, Seafood Fried Rice.

After noms, we decided to go back and have a good rest for next day trip, EVERLAND! See you in next post ❤️

hashtag noms, hashtag Bangkok

ARTBOX, BangkokIMG_9055[1]

Artbox is a pop up hipster night market in Bangkok. You would never know when is the next edition going to be until it is announced on their official FB Artboxthailand. We were lucky to be in Bangkok just in time for their 1st Episode of 2018 on February 1st to February 4th.

Egg Roll on Stick

Originated from Japan, these egg rolls comes with 3 types of toppings.
We had one stick each as starters 😂

IMG_9020[1]Iced Matcha Milk

The Q was the longest compared to other vendors on the same row so we were sold LMAO
Matcha was freshly blended on the spot. Yums!

IMG_9024[1]Padthai

Cant miss this! I dont care if I have to eat this for 3 meals per day I will still be happy hahaahaha

IMG_9033[1]Mini Crepes

Colourful mini crepes. I got pandan, custard and strawberry.

IMG_9038[1]Brownie Choco Frappucino

Last but not least. We really stuffed ourselves here. The atmosphere is really nice as the sun sets. There were live performances and also varieties of food to go with alcoholic drinks as well but since we tasted all that we wanted, we left for dinner elsewhere (#noms again ><)

Cafe Bora, Siam Paragon

Soooooo I was shocked to find out there is Cafe Bora in Bangkok. I mean I knew that Cafe Bora opened their first US outlet in Los Angeles, CA in August 2017 but I didnt know they had opened one in Bangkok in June the same year.

The outlet in Bangkok had Bangkok-only Pumpkin everything. We were reluctant to try the pumpkin ones so we had Bora Bingsu and Green Tea tiramisu. The Green Tea treats are not available in Seoul but they’re available in LA and Bangkok. Whyyyyyyyy

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The Green Tea tiramisu was perfect when blended together with the cream cheese. It was not overly bitter like most of green tea stuff I had before.

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Had another Bora Bingsu even though I just had them 2 weeks prior. It was Sis’ first time at Cafe Bora so I had her tasted their signature. Thankfully she liked it and even poured out the additional Bora sweetener topping provided.

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The complimentary chips that came with our desserts were sweet potato chips. But there were also samples of Pumpkin chips available for free, a less sweet version of the Sweet Potato chips, obviously.

All in all, it was worth it if you want to try all flavors offered as you can buy Bingsu, tiramisu and icecream of any flavors in set!

Talad Rod Fai Night Market

This location is an hour away from Central Bangkok. However, it’s cheap if you take Grab service, about Baht 200-250 a way. Talad Rod Fai Night Market is a large night market consisted of food (noms), vintage/collectibles items/furnitures, clothings, bags, pubs/bars with live performances, cheap manicure stalls and many more. The night market happens on weekends Fri-Sun and for Muslim travellers, theres abundant of Muslim vendors with plenty of choices of Thailand street food. There is even Halal Korean BBQ here! Though the location is far from Central Bangkok, and getting there is such a hassle (I wont lie, it’s really a hassle to get here on weekend nights with very bad traffic) but dont give it a miss. You’re gonna love it here.

For some, Chatuchak Weekend Market is happening enough for travellers and but for me, Chatuchak is more catered for travelers/foreigners while Talad Rod Fai Night Market is catered for locals. The cheapest Mango Sticky Rice is only Baht 50 here, sold by a muslim couple! What a bargain. We also bought a lot of things for cheap.

Sadly, since it was too crowded, I didnt manage to get good photos. We were too busy eating and browsing for stuff (the night market area is too large we were rushing through every aisles to make sure we didnt miss anything!) You may google Talad Rod Fai Night Market for clearer photos from people who have been there 🙂

Breathe

Take a deep breath,
so that both of your chest aches,
until it begins to hurt a little.
Breathe out more,
until it feels like there’s nothing left inside of you.
It’s okay if you’re out of breath
No one will blame you
It’s okay to make mistakes once in a while
Everyone does that
To say it’s okay,
even though it’s only words of comfort.
Someone’s sigh
That heavy breathe
How could I understand
Your sigh
Although I won’t be able to understand that depth
It’s okay
I will hold you
It’s okay if you’re out of breath
No one will blame you
It’s okay to make mistakes once in a while
Everyone does that
To say it’s okay,
even though it’s only words of comfort
Someone’s sigh
That heavy breath
How could I possibly understand
Your sigh
Although I won’t be able to understand that depth
It’s okay
I will hold you
From other’s eyes,
it might look like a sigh that lets people down
But I know
that you spent a hard day to let out even a small sigh
Don’t think anything else now
Take a deep breath
and breathe it out
Someone’s sigh
That heavy breath
How could I possibly understand
Your sigh
Although I won’t be able to understand that depth
It’s okay
I will hold you
You’ve worked hard

You may or may not have heard about this song. This song was very well loved when it was released. Particularly because it resonates the hardness of living and to just ‘breathe’.

South Korea, a nation that always demands the best from the people. A nation that openly and heavily critical towards ones life. The nation that is mostly known for their cruel and insensitive netizens, thanks to its highly advanced technology.

Make one mistake, and your whole information will be bared public.

Say one wrong word, and you will be witch hunted.

You’re a student but the youth is gone. What is life when everyone around you demand the sky.

You don’t work to live but you live to work. What is personal space? You’re expected to entertain people at all time.

You are at your advanced age but you still have to worry about your adult children until your death.

Lee Hi, the singer for this song was only 16years old when she won a singing competition as runner up and signed to a major entertainment label in the country. She was a chubby, awkward teen who really love to sing and just want to sing. She was awkward to the point that she would just smile endlessly without words but her demeanor would change when she started singing.

She had a hard time between promoting singles/albums. She had a hard time adjusting to the life of celebrities since she signed with her company right after the competition. She didnt experienced the trainee life, where most Kpop stars learned how to carry the ‘celeb’ title. She thought she would be able to just sing.

Thus, when her label began slowly putting her in the back burner, an associated label of the company picked her up for a special project and she requested for a song about ‘breathing/living’ since she began developing panic attack after her last album promotion. The label instantly recommended this song, Breathe. (Note: Direct translation of 한숨/Hansum is Sigh. 한/하나 = One, 숨 = Breathe. In Korean, the title is more to Sigh rather than Breathe)

Breathe was composed by another talented idol, Kim Jonghyun of a famous group, SHINee. Obama even mentioned about this group before in his speech.

In a recent interview with local news outlet My Daily, Lee Hi discusses her thoughts and feelings on working — albeit indirectly — with SHINee‘s Jonghyun on her new solo album.

Even before her comeback, Lee Hi’s title track “Breathe” received wide attention for being written and composed by SHINee’s Jonghyun. Regarding this, Lee Hi reveals that she had no idea who had created the track when she first heard it.

“At first, I didn’t know it was Jonghyun’s track, and only found out about this while working with Tablo. After telling Tablo that I wanted to have a comforting song [on my album], he said he has the perfect track for me. Immediately after listening to it, I told him I wanted to have it. I didn’t know it was made by Jonghyun until we started recording.”

“Later on, Tablo asked me, ‘Do you know made this song? It’s by Jonghyun.’ I was incredibly surprised. First, I’m grateful to him for making such a good song for me,” she reveals her reaction when finding out who created her latest chart-topper.

“Everyone seems to think that we’re an unusual pairing. But Jonghyun knows how to write lyrics and melodies that reflect our feelings. Next time, it would be nice to work with him on an upbeat song, rather than another sad one.”

Lee Hi reveals that she didn’t get the chance to meet Jonghyun in person while recording her album. “He didn’t meet with me to direct the recording. Instead, he gave me comments, suggesting what kind of feeling would go with each part, when I sent him the song.”

“I want to meet and thank him. As ‘Breathe’ is doing great, I’m planning to greet him in person via his radio show,” she hints at a potential meeting between her and Jonghyun in the very near future.

credit: Soompi

Kim Jonghyun was sentimental person. He hosted a popular radio show that was comforting since he always seemed to know about hardships in life and what to say about them. He was also known for his bright smile, a little crazy and always so excited when it comes to singing. Kim Jonghyun who always loved his group members but refused to speak about his own father. Who adored his older sister and loved his mother endlessly. Always in the corner keeping to himself when everyone else talked about families.

Only a handful of people know that while having that bright smile on his face, he also had a sad looking pair of eyes. No one noticed this, except for people who he confessed to. The Kim Jonghyun who always knew to say comforting words were actually having a hard time breathing. He was always struggling with his inner self. Always telling himself that he would be alright. He tried seeking help but his doctor wasnt doing his job properly, instead blaming it on Jonghyun’s personality.

I was broken from the inside.
The depression slowly chipped me away, finally devouring me.
I could not beat the negativity.
I hated myself. Even though I tried so hard demanding my memories that kept getting cut off to ‘wake up,’ all I got in return was silence.
I‘d rather stop if I cannot breathe.
I asked who could be responsible for me.
You’re the only one.
I felt utterly alone.
It is easy to say “I‘m going to end it.”
It is very difficult to actually go through with it.
I’ve been struggling through the difficulty.
I told myself that it‘s just me wanting to run away from everything.
It’s true. I really did want to run away.
From me.
From you.
I asked, “Who‘s there?” It’s me. It‘s me again. And it’s me the third time.
I asked, “Why do I keep on losing my memory?” They said it‘s due to my personality. I see. It’s all my fault.
I wanted someone to notice (my suffering), but no one knew. Of course, they wouldn’t. They never met me before.
I asked why people live. Just. Just. They live “just because.”
If I ask why people died, they would probably say they couldn’t bear it any longer.
Troubling thoughts flooded my head. I never got the chance to learn how to change dull pain into pure joy.
Pain is just pain.
I kept reprimanding myself not to do so.
Why? Why can‘t I even end my life with my own will?
I tried figuring out the reasons for my pain and suffering.
I already had the answer. I was in pain because of me. It’s all my fault that I carry so many imperfections.
Teacher, is this what you wanted to hear?
No. I didn’t do anything wrong.
I used to think that it’s so easy for doctors to blame your personality for the suffering in their calm voice.
It surprises me how I am feeling this much pain. Those people, who have suffered worse than I, seem to go on living perfectly fine. Those weaker than I am live on as well. I guess not. Among the living, there is no one who is suffering worse and no one who is weaker.
The only answer I got back was “just live nevertheless.”
Asking the purpose of life more than one hundred times is not for me. It‘s for you.
I wanted to do it for me.
Please don’t say things you don’t know.
How could you ask me to still look for reasons behind my pain? I told you multiple times why I‘m suffering. Do I need more reasons to be in pain? More dramatic details in my stories? More stories even?
I told you already. Were you absent-minded when I told you? Things you can bear and even come above do not leave scars.
It wasn’t my responsibility to go against the world.
It wasn’t my path to become world-famous.
That’s why they say it‘s hard to go against the world and to become famous. Why did I choose this path? It’s quite funny now that I think about it.
It‘s a miracle that I endured through it all this time.
What more can I say. Just tell me “good job.”
You did great. Tell me I suffered enough.
Even though you can’t laugh right now, just don‘t send me off blaming me.
Good job.
You suffered a great deal.
Good-bye.

— Jonghyun (Suicide Letter)

The letter was passed to his best friend, Nine just before his concert and Nine did everything she could to keep him in check but sadly she couldnt prevent the inevitable.

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Kim Jonghyun succumbed to his inner demon at the age of 27 on Dec 18, 2017. His sister alerted the police when she received his suicidal text messages.

“It’s been hard”, “Let me go. Tell me I’ve worked hard. This is my farewell.”

Now let’s look back again to the last verse of the song Breathe

Someone’s sigh
That heavy breath
How could I possibly understand
Your sigh
Although I won’t be able to understand that depth
It’s okay
I will hold you
You’ve worked hard

He must have yearned for this sentence, “you’ve worked hard” (the korean part could also be translated as “You’ve done well.”) How bad was it for him that he had this song made and readily available for anyone who wanted it. After his passing, fans began suspecting that he made this song for himself but he gave it away.

Only a week prior to his passing, on Dec 9th & 10th 2017 he had a two day concerts and at the 2nd day of the concert it was announced that he would have an album out in Jan 2018 but he himself refused to acknowledge the announcement and instead proceeded talking and doing his own thing at the concert.

Fans began to dig for recent concert fancams and found one where he bawled and hugged each of his group members at their last concert as five. Since Jonghyun was usually a sensitive and sentimental person, his members didn’t think anything was wrong and just smiling at his actions.

People began to seriously think and analyzed his songs and lyrics and found out that most of them are suicidal thoughts and depressing enough but because of his bubbly self no one actually thought of them as red flags.

How painful it must have been to leave people you loved behind. Some may say that it was so selfish of him, leaving his sister and mother that way. Leaving behind his team members when they still have upcoming schedules…but I have complete understanding why he did what he did. The demon…if you’re able to fight them, you’re fortunate. If you dont, death is the only option.

I am still recovering from the pain, from the madness, from the demon. Every cases are different. Just because you are different doesnt mean it’s not real. I used to talk about the pain a lot. About how it was eating me inside and that I needed help, I needed to crawl out from whatever hole I was in at that moment coz they were all awful and dark and you just stop function. Heck, I still need help now and then.

There were moments where I didnt wanna be awake coz everytime I opened my eyes I would start bawling out of nowhere. I didnt have any energy in me to pull myself away from the bed. Friends stopped checking in coz they knew it will be the same shit. They didnt understand what was it that bothered me, what craziness im dealing in my head. How could I impose such burdens toward others when they should live their own lives too. And I decided enough was enough, I was that ready to leave everything behind.

Something saved me, I still cant remember exactly what or how, it is still a haze until now. But I do remember waking up one morning and suddenly snapped sober. I remember crying so hard and fell really sick for a couple of days afterwards. I still think that I dont deserve anything and I still have not make contacts with people I know in real life. I am recovering. I want to believe that I am recovering.

Would it be different for Jonghyun had some one actually paid attention? I dont know, I dont even have answers for that but at the very least people that used to be around him should be glad that he had stop suffering coz trust me, it wasnt exactly a nice playground inside your head, to have to live in that condition.

RIP, Jonghyun.

INFINITY SPA, BANGKOK

What’s a trip to any region in Thailand without ticking off the TOP 5 Thailand bucket list item, right? While waiting for Sis’ arrival I actively googled for the most recommended spa in Bangkok and Infinity Spa came out in the Top 10 list.

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During my previous trip, I had visited Let’s Relax Spa chain spa and also a few foot massage outlets located in malls. Now, there are just too many massage or spa places in Bangkok to visit but most of them that offer cheap prices are the ones that is crowded with less to no regard to gender segregation. Taking that into consideration, I had to find a place that offers private space that I can be comfortable in.

The nearest spa around my hostel would be Let’s Relax Phayathai. Conveniently located at Phayathai Airport Rail Link which is also 5 mins away on foot from Movylodge, I found out that they did not accept walk in customers due to the high volume of reservations. That led me to searching another recommended spa so I could satisfy the need to pamper and relieving all the sore muscles from the stress of work and travelling.

Good thing about Infinity Spa, you can make bookings through social media service, LINE. While waiting for sis, I contacted them to inquire if one needs to make a reservation before going. Since we never made any specific plan for the trip, I thought it’d be best if I wait for sis if she had any other plan. So the next day while en-route to Wat Pho, I LINE-d them again to confirm our 2pm booking.

After experienced the blazing heat from the sun walking around the Wats and Royal Palace, we took UBER and arrived as early as 1pm. I was only planning to reconfirm my reservation and hanging out at the Turkish #noms place next door when the desk staff told us they’d be ready with us after we filled in all the necessary details on the required forms. After selecting the preferred aromatheraphy oils and scrub preference, we were ushered to the foot washing area on level 2. The area was so neat and clean, even the toilets were so nice smelling 🙂

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Then, me and sister were brought to separate rooms as she was only getting the aromatheraphy massage while I had scrub as an added option (+500Baht for 30minutes). I know Thai massage is special and we could practically get a spa massage anywhere but I have a terrible back condition and could not risk myself being flipped and folded around (Thai massage is associated with Yoga movements and it’s been years since I was able to even do a split ><) Thankfully, Fa, my attendant is quite proficient in English and I explained the areas that needed extra attention and she was able to remove all the tight knots around the stressed and sore muscles. She was really attentive and made sure that those areas received proper care before moving on to next one. Two thumbs up.

After everything was done, we were served a plate of Sticky Mango Rice and a cup of herbal tea. The Sticky Mango Rice was infused with Butterfly Pea flowers, giving off that nice blue hues for the Sticky. The taste was so A plus that I wanted to ask if second serving was possible ><

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Total costs for 2 pax came out at 3100Baht. Not bad at all 🙂 Definitely will come again when I am in town.

TIPS for spa/massage visit: If you’re happy with the service, please tip your attendant. For half an hour of massage it is recommendable to give as low as 50Baht. This is not compulsory though but most of them don’t even get paid that much and 50Baht is not that much anyway compared to the relieve you get afterwards 🙂

Destination, Bangkok

Hours prior, I was still questioning my decision to get the super early morning flight out to Bangkok. Considering the time difference, super early flight means I would arrive slightly later than the check in time for the hostel. This also meant I had wasted half a day worth of #noms I could have had before my sister’s arrival.

But I had just done with work at 7pm and I planned to stop over at home after Bangkok, dropping off sis and also see Mom before she leaves the town for work. The schedule for the week is totally messed up. 3 nights in Bangkok ✈️ home for a day ✈️ work for 2 days ✈️ home again for 3nights and then ✈️ back to work. Seems like I really need my flu shot coz I’m sure that I would be seriously sick with all the long haul flights and jetlags.

I managed to drag my housemate out for a meal after work. Planned to just sleep the whole flight so I wont be as sleepy and tired when I arrive and also to ensure the jetlag wont mess up my vacation.

Boarded the flight at 2am and managed to change my seat to the one in upper deck. Upper deck means no screaming child since the Y class is directly at aft of the lounge area for First and Business class. Thought I could really sleep the whole way…I thought wrong. Though I had 2 seats to myself, the seat mate I had was a seatmate from hell. I always wonder why people who have money to board a plane don’t have the same amount of courteous. Anyway, the ride was a disaster and as I knew it, I was grumpy for the whole day, even after the arrival of sister a few hours after I reached.

The thing I dreaded the most in Bangkok is most definitely the Q at immigration. Suvarnabhumi (read= Suwanapoom) for me is the hub for transits in Asia, though HK is also one of important transit point for Asia, it definitely not able to beat the level of congestion in Bangkok. The transit and departure area in Suvarnabhumi is definitely fun to explore. You could easily spend a few hours at the cafes or just spend those moolah away at the duty free shops.

So the flight was slightly delayed and as soon as I got my local sim card, I immediately emailed the hostel telling them I would be half an hour late. Manage to get a reply from sis before she boarded to confirm her arrival time. It would be her first time in Bangkok so I had planned to go to Don Mueang airport to fetch her.

Hostel was amazing. Movylodge Bangkok is such a dreamy place. The bed is huge and comfortable and the privacy level is amazing. Was not a fan of the stairs going up to the third floor though. Too narrow and steep. Was lucky I only had a hand carry with me. Baht 2500 for 3 nights for 2 pax. Real bargain since the location is right in the middle of hotspot area.

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Initially wanted to stay at The Posh, it was still under renovation when I was last in Bangkok in Nov 2016 but the place was fully occupied on my travel dates. I forgot about Feb 1st being the Labour Day in most countries hence the long weekend was a chosen travel week for a lot of tourists. Next time, then. Check the place out if you can and pleaseeeeeeeee let me know how it goes ya..

Sister’s ETA was 5pm so I thought since I had never traveled to/fro Don Mueang via public transportation before I thought I had to leave early so that I will not miss her. Turned out that the transportation service (even the buses) are really reliable! (I’m side eyeing you, my home country).

From Mo Chit BTS Station, go to Exit 3. Get down from the walkway bridge. The left side would be stairs and right side would be the escalator. The escalator would be the one going up to the walkway bridge. Dont worry and just go down via the stairs and make a turn around (or a u-turn). If you’re still confused just make sure that the entrance of Chatuchak Park SUBWAY is on your left. Just go straight and you will see a couple of bus stops. The will be a bus attendant sitting in a small booth and you can ask her/him about the bus to Don Mueang airport. It’s usually A1 or A3 and the fare is 30Baht. Just hop on the bus and pay the fare.

(Note: For those who planned to dump your luggage for Chatuchak Market, there is coin locker for luggage at Exit 4 of Mo Chit BTS, your welcome).

It was a bit busy when I went but it was only 20 mins away so even when I had to stand it didnt matter that much to me.

Don Mueang had changed so much since I last there. The departure area for Domestic and International had amazing changes. It had become more organised. Neat and clean. It was so neglected before that I didnt think that it could be this beautiful. I had stayed in Amari Don Mueang before and it was seriously like coming out to a different world every time we left the hotel and coming back from work. Was still feeling awed until I reached the arrival area. Turned out the arrival for international is still the same hahaha. I thought I was at a different airport, the level of difference is too significant LMAO. That was not all though, the level of business at the immigration had also not changed. I had to wait for more than an hour for sis to come out from immigration 😦

Getting back to Mo Chit BTS was also a breeze. Honestly I am sooooo happy with this. Got back to hostel just before 7pm. Dumped her luggage and off we went for dinner, my first meal for the day…

The restaurant was full of Muslim tourists that we threw knowing look among ourselves ahhaha. Why, you asked? Those tourists were my own countrymen HAHAHAHHAH. Being in a foreign country yet the whole restaurant spoke my language I almost thought I was back home.

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Was my third time in Phayathai Kitchen. Though the food is more expensive compared to the other place, what I looked for the most is the level of cleanliness. The food also tastes amazing. Try the Pok Taek and the Salted Egg Papaya Salad, they’re to die for.

The whole street getting to Phayathai Kitchen is actually inhabited by Muslims. Darul Aman Mosque is also in the area further emphasized the size of Muslim community around it. You can get BBQ chicken wing for only 10Baht per piece from the street vendor, sausages and grilled meat skewered that is usually non Halal at night markets. Eat your fill of street food at this area 🙂

After dinner, we decided to walk to MBK to get rid of the stuffy feeling from inhaling to much food. MBK mall was just 15 minutes away on foot from Phayathai. The night also happened to be the night Super Blue Blood Moon happened since the total Lunar Eclipsed in 2015. We were lucky that the sky was clear and we joined the crowd outside of MBK mall in observing the rare happening.

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What is important after #noms? More #noms of course! The food stalls layout at the ground level had changed so I could not spot the seriously delicious Mango Sticky rice and Coconut Ice Cream that I had before so we had to settle with whatever was available. Was not impressed with the taste so I swore to myself that I would hunt for Mango Sticky Rice every day until the day we left Bangkok ><

 

Scored a pair of nice looking and cheap watches at the vendor booths on the same area. 350Baht for each. (My mom thought I paid heaps for this LOL)

Walked back to hostel, showered and got ready for bed. We had decided earlier that we would not excessively plan anything for the trip and just go with the flow with whatever we felt like doing.

 

 

Goodbye, Cold Seoul

I woke up later than I planned to today. The coffee I had last night really did wonder. Not only headache gone, I was also sober until 4am. It was already 946am when I rose. Immediately showered and changed and left. (I dont do skincare routine and makeups, facial wash is enough, save so much time hahahaha)

I noticed that I became more alert and wary of my surroundings. Perhaps I was still scared that I might be approached by strangers again. This was Hongdae. Hongdae was supposed to be my territory. I used to roam around Hongdae freely at 3am eating kebab out of the many clubs around. Sighhhh…

Anyway, went out and straight to Isaac Toast for their amazing Prawn Toast. One of the reason why I had wanted to come early was cause this particular branch is facing Hongik University. I wanted to observe university students rushing towards the gate, missing my uni days ;( And the part timers there are mostly students (good looking too. Eye candy makes what you eat tastes nice too, okayyyyyy) HE HE HE

Ohhhh this reminds me, back in May 2017, when I was in Hongdae with another friend looking for a cafe, we were approached by two very handsome guys. Very tall and so good looking I admit I was drooling a bit. My friend was navigating Naver Maps and I was looking around when we were approached. They asked us where we would like to go. Again, I was in hijab. Trust me when I say that NO KOREAN would voluntarily approached me because I look so damn foreign hahahaha. So yeah anyway, my friend is petite, and she looked lovely so I thought okay maybe they’re interested in her im just a squid so just shut up and let them show the way. We tried to explain the name of the cafe and they didnt get it. Granted, the name of the cafe isnt Korean and Koreans has a strange way in pronouncing foreign words. Friend showed them the name and still they looked clueless. Anyway we said thanks and tried to continue looking but they tried to hold friend on (I WAS COMPLETELY INVINCIBLE TO THEM AT THIS POINT. NOT EVEN ONE EYE ON ME, CRIES) She freaked out and I was like ‘Hey, you got admirers’, in our language of course. She gave me the eye and pulled me away from them. We were literally quick walked uphill at the alley nearby to run away from them. I was laughing all the time coz hey I never seen anyone running away from handsome guys in a flash. It became a topic to tease her when our other friend arrived. Now that I was approached again by Koreans (scam?) and twice at that, I couldnt help thinking that MAYBE it was the same way back then. Only that we never encountered such thing before, nor have we heard about the recruiting thingy so we didnt have any guard on. MAYBE. I still dont wanna think that such gorgeous hunks could be involved in cults. What a shame, sigh.

Seoul has always been a safe place for me. Ever since I started earning, I kept on coming back to Seoul for healing (<- koreans invented this term. Not actually used properly in English hahaha) Well it was so safe that I never needed to worry about being pickpocketed or kidnapped. Sure, no place is actually safe but looking back since 2011 I never had any issue with Seoul or Koreans in particular (Note: I started wearing hijab in 2016. The way I am looked at and interacted with had changed since. Still, it lessens when they realized I speak enough korean to communicate) . It was that safe for me.

Moving on, after brunch, I went to Samcheongdong (talked about this in my Cold Seoul post.)

Sorry for the lack of photos but nothing has changed since I last went. Wanted to go through Gwanghwamun but I detoured to Myeongdong instead. Spent a couple of hours in Myeongdong, went to Flying Tiger to see if they have different designs of cheap totes and left the area at 4pm. Had a pit stop at Edae for this Fresh Milk and Strawberries from Life Coffee Company for 6,000₩. Honestly I just wanted the water bottle LMAO. I did mention I love to collect junks didnt I?

Went to LOHB in Hongdae, just across my apartment building and scoured a couple of Mise En Scene Hello Bubble Hair Dyes, 2 for the price of 1 heyyyyyylooooooowwwww.

Seeing that it was still early and I needed to recharge phone, I went up to apartment, had a shower and waited until 5pm. The usual noms place I frequent closes at 2pm-5pm daily for cleaning and preparing for dinner time. I was praying hard that it wont be as crowded as lunch time. I always hate it when it’s full. The place is not big. It’s the type of normal Korean eatery where you need to sit down on the floor, legs crossed. Thats what made it always full tbh, guys in suits sometimes not able to sit close enough to each other. Think older guys in suits with protruding bellies. They mostly work at the area around. Even until today I cant figure out their exact lunch hour coz I would be there as early as 11am and 10-15 minutes later they would always be groups of men arriving in loud voices. Lunch hour that early?? So I missed my chance for lunch the day before and had to settle for the expensive Busan Jib, I walked over for 5 mins praying that dinnertime would not be as crowded. I was lucky, it was empty and the two server ladies were surprised seeing a foreign lady so casually barging in at 5mins after re-opening. The place changed. No longer we need to remove shoes and sit on the floor. They have proper tables and chairs now. I kinda missed the old layout. Ordered my usual 지리탕 and 알마리 just caused I was starving and feeling greedy with noms. The lady was surprised when I ordered in Korean. I was almost laughing had I not realised that those two ladies were not the usual Eonnies. (Erm how do I explain this…in korean eateries, foreigners would sometimes imitate what they watched in Korean dramas, calling the servers Ahjummas (older or married ladies) or Imo (direct translation = maternal aunt but in this case, it shows that whoever calling is a frequent at the place and thats the term of endearment towards the server. They get called that even tho they dont look any older than my mom. Correct me if i’m wrong, that was what a Korean friend explained to me when I tried calling the owner of a Korean eatery in Malaysia ahjussi. That ‘ahjussi’ is now an ‘oppa’ to me and he is so nice he even dragged me to a traditional tea house in Insadong when we were coincidentally in Korea at the same time hahaha. Not a scam I promise. He just values his customers.) Not even 5 mins after I had a seat, the owner of the place arrived. He was so surprised when he saw me and after we exchanged pleasantries he even exclaimed that my korean got better HE HE. it does oppa, I spent most of my free time watching dramas and listening to musics HO HO HO. And can you imagine the look on the two ladies? Theres a foreign girl in headscarf and I was chatting with the owner as if he knew me personally. He was so friendly he asked me a lot of things when he found out I could speak Korean LOL. Oppa asked me if I came alone again, which I answered him that I indeed came alone, but not for concerts. I just needed to have a nice break and winter nearly ends. In the past, when he found out that I came alone and for concerts, he always shake his head disapprovingly. Then he would ask why I wasted my time staying in Seoul when theres so many places I could go and enjoy. Many years later I found his words to be true. I was young, Oppa >_<

I didnt go to Seoul for 2 years after my father passed away. He passed 5 days after my 2 weeks long South Korea vacation. I didn have the heart to leave for any where after that. When I returned back to Seoul 2 years later, I had already donned the Hijab. He was so surprised at the change and I explained to him that my father passed away and I felt that I need to change. He always knew about muslims and the religion, Islam, but i dont think he knows anything about fathers bearing single daughters’ sins even while being six feet under. he understood that muslim ladies need to cover our aurah. He understood that much. Thats whats important. Thats why I could go to his place comfortably without being scrutinized. He last saw me in Summer 2016 and mentioned that I seemed to lost a lot of weight. I did. Not a lot but I did lose a noticeable amount of weight. I just said that work has been hard. Losing weight due to depression isnt healthy. I dont wanna mention anything about being mentally unstable. Koreans are sensitive when it comes to mental health. I will explain that in another post.

After more than a year of not seeing me, he noticed that I lost weight. He is that attentive. I dont go as often as back when I worked with AAX, but he still noticed changes. I was touched.

Drop by if you’re in Hongdae. They have amazing menu.

After dinner, I went back to C27 Cheesecake & Coffee for last round of dessert. The plain cheesecake from yesterday was so amazing I needed to try the lemon one. Not disappointing at all. Had the urge to have a few other slices for take out but I knew I wouldnt eat them later. I only eat lots when I travel or if my mom’s cooking.

Still had another hour, I decided to go back up and repacked my luggage. Most people would be surprised as to why I only had 2 nights here after the painful 9++ hrs of flight. As I mentioned, it’s a comfort place for me. So many eye candies and the overall environment makes me happy. Even if I’m all alone. Not a problem at all.

Checked-in, went past the long assed security Q and hello 11++ hrs return journey.

Goodbye, cold Seoul.

Cold Seoul

Except for the weird scam(?) encounter and expensive lunch yesterday, I had a good walk around garosugil and spent ₩ at LOHB and Olive Young. Since I dont really commited to skincare thingy, I dont bother going to the cosmetic stores. Sorry to all the promoters who kept on trying to get me to go inside their stores >_<

It was so nice seeing all the trees along Garosugil enveloped with lovely crocheted designs

Also found out Flying Tiger Copenhagen is now opened in Garosugil. The first outlet was opened in Lotte Young Plaza. Was there earlier in May 2017 and I screamed in surprised so loud my friend whacked my behind for it :/

I’m a sucker for Flying Tiger Copenhagen. All the things inside are mostly junks tbh. You can get similar items (if not better) at the same price in Butter (another junk store that I love to visit heh)

Whenever I go to Tokyo, I never failed to make a trip down to Odaiba for Flying Tiger. They have another store in Shibuya but the collection doesn’t seem that vast compared. Same thing when Im in Osaka. Flying Tiger will be the main destination. All this because of this cheap AF cotton bagsThese are so cheap I once bought more than 10 at a time for myself. I love having this type of bag coz it’s foldable and I can stuff them inside of my compact sling bag and use them when I go shopping. No waste of space, no waste on paper or plastic bags. Save Mother Earth. They’re as cheap as 3,000₩ apiece (in Korea) or 300¥ each in Japan. I got a few from my trip to Amsterdam but because they’re new in Seoul, the excitements caused me to talk about this. The designs seemed nicer and colourful too. I suspect I’ll get a few more later at Lotte Young Plaza hurmmmmmmmmm

Anyway, was strolling around Samcheondong when I decided to return to Cafe Bora. A cafe selling mostly Sweet Potato based stuff. Was here in 2016 in Spring and came back in cold winter. And I very geniusly ordered a bingsu 😭Unflattering photo I know. I have lost all desires to take nice photos when I travel honestly. I used to stop and spend a couple of minutes making sure I have nice angles and nice photo. No more. Im so used to Seoul that I dont do that anymore sighh. Anyway, the goguma chips is my absolute favourite. I used to buy a bag of them (4,000₩ per bag) but being a braceface, to finish a piece is a torture. Killjoy ;(

Cafe Bora is nearby Anguk Station Exit 1. Turn right at Exit 1, go straight and with Olive Young on your right, turn right at the corner and go straight for about 2 minutes. Cafe Bora will be on your left. Heading to Young Lotte Plaza now. Getting a few things and then off to Lotte Mart Seoul Station for junks and snacks. See if I can finally have last dinner at 대구탕 홍대 before I leave today. Oppa jebal I really need some nice piping hot Cod Fish Stew today 🙏🏼