While I was in South Korea this summer, I asked my Facebook friends to throw some questions about South Korea my way, and how shit goes down over there, (based on my observations).
My Facebook friends delivered with some very insightful questions, and I’m going to answer them all to the best of my ability.
Belinda asked, “Food? How do I get my own personal kitty cafe? Weather?”
Answer(s): Regarding the food, it’s all generally pretty spicy. Even the stuff you don’t expect to be. I was pretty sick while I was over there with various stomach issues so I had to avoid a lot of the real spicy stuff, (a.k.a. everything). Luckily, there were a lot of American food chains around, with basically the same food they have stateside. We frequented Taco Bell and Hooters the most. Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts, too.
As for your own personal kitty cafe, Belinda, that’s probably going to have to wait until you get your own place. Acquire 5+ cats, and voila! Your own personal kitty cafe!
Lastly, South Korea has weather very similar to say, New Jersey. We both have real seasons and a variety of weather to keep us on our toes. While I was in South Korea, it was a little rainy the first two days, and then super duper hot the rest of our time there. Africa hot. HOT.
Amberlyn asked, “Have you seen any weird things like cursed dolls? Have you heard any urban legends?”
Answer(s): Regarding the cursed dolls question, these… things… are about as close as I got:
They were just chilling on a bench in the middle of a market in Hongdae. Creepy.
I didn’t really hear any urban legends while I was there, but I do know of one South Korean urban legend that I think is pretty weird. Apparently, a lot of people in South Korea think that if you sleep with a fan on in your room, you’ll die because the fan will suck out all the breathable air, or cause hypothermia, (or both in what I assume is a worst case scenario). They call it Fan Death. It probably seems pretty silly to us, but they even sell fans in South Korea with adjustable timers so that they won’t run all night and kill you.
Chelsea asked, “Where does Lee Min Ho live, and what are his weaknesses?”
Answer(s): I’m sorry to report that while my grandmother and I were very dedicated to finding the answers to these questions, we came up empty handed. At one point we were chatting with the staff in our hotel about him, (two girls who were also ardent fans of Lee Min Ho). My grandmother joked, “I don’t even see Lee Min Ho on any ads around here! What do I have to do to see him?”
One of the girls leaned over her computer and started typing away, turning her monitor to us after a few seconds. She had done a Naver image search of Lee Min Ho and pulled up a bunch of pictures of him. That was basically about as close as we got.
Jessie asked, “I would like to know how many non-Korean people you’ve seen. Also, how attractive is the general population? Like should I move to South Korea now or just stick to watching k-pop videos? Also, do Koreans view cat cafes and the Hello Kitty cafe as weird tourist traps, or is it normal to them? And one more thing. Can you try some orange juice and give it a full critique?”
Answer(s): I didn’t see very many non-Korean people. At any point my family and I could be on the subway or on the street and be the only non-Korean people there.
This led to lots and lots of stares from all the Korean people we saw. Mean-mugging. Glaring. Trying to bore holes into you using the power of their gaze. I don’t know how else to describe it. People looked you up and down, regardless of whether you noticed or whether they were driving and about to crash. If you stared back they would eventually stop but it took them a good minute.
The only time I ever saw a good amount of foreigners was when we were at the palaces. Those are huge tourist attractions, so they got a good mix of people. I made the mistake of mentioning Cambodia in a conversation with my grandmother while we were at Changdeokgung, (second biggest palace), and a group of Korean girls started pointing at us and going, “Cambodia,” while nodding, as if they had been trying to figure out where we were from.
Luckily, however, the general population is pretty easy on the eyes. The good part about all the staring was that I got to have a pretty nice amount of eye flirtations with cute boys on the subway.
Regarding the cat cafes and Hello Kitty cafes, when we went, my family and I were the only foreigners inside. Upon returning to the hotel after the cafes, I showed pictures to the girls at the front desk.
Me: Look! We went to the Hello Kitty cafe!
Bonnie: (one of the front desk girls): Oh wow! It’s so cute! I should go some day!
Me: Yeah! We went to a cat cafe too! (shows pictures)
Bonnie: (gapes at the photo) Are those cats… real?
Me: Yeah, of course they are!
Bonnie: (still shocked) Do you have those in America?
I was pretty surprised to learn that Bonnie had never been to a Hello Kitty cafe or a cat cafe. But as the week went on I started to suspect that Bonnie had never been anywhere, because she seemed to treat every experience I told her about with the same wide-eyed wonder as the last. When she mentioned to me that she only got 4 days off a year, it all kind of made sense.
And last but not least…
ORANGE JUICE REPORT
I had orange juice frequently in the hotel, and it was nothing to write home about. Orangey, a little watery, probably made from concentrate. I did, however, also try a tangerine slushie with tangerines from Jeju Island and that was pretty good. Overly sweet, like I find most tangerine juice products to be, but tasty nevertheless.
And that about wraps things up! Thanks to my friends for the questions! I hope these answers satisfy you!