Here I am, typing away at midnight, doing my 'best' to have a normal sleeping regimen. But hey, in the words of the great Bon Jovi...

First Impressions. Part 2 - first days in Korea and the story of a straw

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Unknown 0 Comments

Here I am, typing away at midnight, doing my 'best' to have a normal sleeping regimen. But hey, in the words of the great Bon Jovi, I'll sleep when I'm dead, aye?
This is going to be the second part of my first impressions, focusing on my very first couple of days in Korea and a single most amazing find.

Interested? Keep on readin'!

So, I land in Korea and walk through what seemed to be a museum...which was simply the international terminal at Incheon airport. I've seen my fair share of airports, this year I'm practically living out of a suitcase! But Incheon airport had a really refreshing chicness to it. It didn't resemble your traditional airport with lots of things going around, there was vast amounts of space and light, soft natural colors creating a lovely relaxing ambiance. Sadly, I was nearly running towards the ladies' room (TMI, I know..) thus I didn't take any pictures... Also, the bathrooms had those automatic plastic wraps going around the seat, with a press of a button, I had a little fanfare going off in my head - after a long, exhausting flight, I'm greeted by a sanitary environment! And it's minty fresh! It definitely improved my general state of mind, since by the time I got to Incheon, I was awake for more than 24 hours...

Incheon airport, in itself, is rather cleverly built, if you ask me. It's very spacious, and I cannot imagine feeling chocked by a crowd (not to say it doesn't happen, I am simply yet to experience it), yet the space is used efficiently. It took me perhaps 5 minutes to get from the airplane to customs, and the same amount to get out of the airport - fast, huh?! There's plenty of people working, no enormously bothersome lines at the passport check because out of 8 counters only 2 are, here more than half of them were open! And customs didn't take any time at all, which was surprising, since I'm used to being treated like I have an arsenal stashed in my carry-on.

So, needless to say, I was off to a pretty good start!!

Now, the first two days were completely uneventful, as I literally slept through the first one, and only went out to grab a piece of lunch/dinner.
My first meal in Korea was a simple bowl of 비빔밥 (bibimbap). My friend who picked me up, and I found this tiny place behind Hyundai Department Store in Sinchon. I'm pretty sure it's a family business. The kitchen was right behind the counter, and the lady chef was amazingly kind. We had the basic bibimbap, I had with meat, my friend had only veggie one. It was absolutely scrumptious! Simple, but very Korean, and very filling. Naturally there was kimchi and bean sprout soup to go along, that lunch took me all the way to next day!
Bibimbap. This one's made by me, just for reference.
So my first day went with flying (albeit, blurry due to lack of sleep) colors. As I closed the door to my hostel room I smiled, looked down at the warm, wooden floor and slowly sat down on the bed. It was finally hitting home fore me - I am really in Korea! After all the years of hoping, planing and working my behind off, I made it. It was an amazing feeling, and more than that, I felt at home. Perhaps it was the small yet cozy and warm room that I was staying that, perhaps the delicious food, confirming my dream of 'Korean taste', but I felt as if I was not that far from home at all...

I woke up the next day...well..noon, don't judge! There was that glimmer of thoughts right before I opened my eyes 'I sure hope I wasn't dreaming!', but as soon as I opened my eyes and sat up in bed I realized that I'm deep in the rabbit hole. There were faint cheers coming from the window as there was a school just across from the hostel, but it didn't bother me at all. I stepped onto the gloriously warm floor and began my preparations for the day (or what was left of it). I was going to meet a friend for coffee in the afternoon, so I didn't have too much time to think about food or anything. I left the hostel and headed up to the Twosome Place to meet my friend. We couldn't get a seat there, as it was full of people..and the fangirl in me was heartbroken - Twosome Place is owned by So Ji Sub, it even has his 'special' coffee (himself he's a hot dose of espresso)! And we went to Paris Baguette - a popular cafe that sells 'French' pastry (I put 'French' as the baked goods there are very far from the quality of a true boulangerie). I grabbed a cup of 녹차라떼 (green tea latte, an absolute wonder in colder months).
Second floor of PB in Sinchon..and a wonder that is tiny straws
See that? Look at that little straw! It's damn ingenious!!! It was my first time putting a straw in a hot drink, moreover, having a pre-squished little straw that fits into the lid of the cup oh-so-perfectly. Why don't we have this? Seriously, has no one in the 'west' stopped to think 'Hmm, this 'sippy hole' is very inconvenient, not to mention the endless possibilities to spill and/or burn yourself when drinking from it. Yes! I shall use little straws to make it more convenient and portable!'. Now, I'm generalizing here, as some of you in the 'west' might have these tiny straws...but we don't! Neither Lithuania, nor Sweden has these tiny wonders.. You might be a little confused as to why I am this exited about a straw? I tell you why - I am a major klutz. And by that I mean pure, inborn talent! I can spill, drop, push, lose, break, sit on, step on, bump into practically anything! Especially when I'm in motion...but even when sitting down I manage to bump stuff over and spill anything I can get my hands on. So for me this little thing is a life saver. Since that day every single take-out coffee I drank had a straw..and there were no more spills, and she lived happily ever after!

That is it for today's post, I feel I blabbed your heads of, but what can you do! Ciao for now!