Sunday, January 27, 2013

Seoul Zoo/Beomgye

My favorite picture from the day.
 Last weekend, I went to the zoo in Seoul on Saturday, and hung out in Beomgye (pronounced Bum-Gay, always good for a laugh) at night.

The zoo in Seoul has its very own subway stop (Seoul Grand Park, Exit 2), and is therefore extremely easy to get to. The zoo is located in a valley in the mountains, so there were some pretty gorgeous views throughout the day. There was also a ski lift that you could ride from one end of the zoo back down to the entrance, and a train that we rode to get from the zoo entrance to the beginning of the actual exhibits.

I went with my coworkers (Dan and Charles) and some of Dan's friends. It was a pretty fun day, and I love that I am constantly meeting new people. Keeps life interesting!
The group: Dan, Dave, Harris, Tristan
(and Charles is behind the camera taking this picture).

Tickets for zoo admission and the ski lift/train.
It's still incredibly strange for me that everything is in a foreign language. These tickets were for two completely different things, so when we got the admission gate I just handed both of them to the ticket taker. She gave  me a knowing look, and handed the one I didn't need back to me. At least it doesn't seem surprising to people that I have no idea what things written in Korean are for, but I sometimes wish I was fluent so I could shock some people.

The zoo is separated into four different paths and animals from different continents were grouped into clusters. We began by meandering towards the African animals section (elephants and giraffes are my favorite animals at the zoo!) but an old Korean man stopped us before we went too far to let us know that the African animals were all inside. Makes sense, because Korea is very cold right now, and luckily we were able to see more of these animals later on in their indoor pens.

Gorgeous mountain view.
I guess I'm enamored with the mountains
because I've seen so few of them!

This was an enclosure for a multitude of birds
(notice the netting above so that they couldn't escape).
There wasn't really a fence between us and them,
so I had to resist the urge to walk closer.
Siberian tiger, he loves the cold!
This one is obviously a model, just hanging out on top of a table looking pretty.
Totem poles in the South American section.
Bird sculptures on a clear day.
 My favorite part of the zoo would have to be the bird exhibits. There is a room there that is the home of many parrots. The room they live in is separated from the rest of the building by plastic flaps so they cannot escape because they roam free! I made few new parrot friends that really enjoyed chewing on my hair, as you can see here:

They really liked to bite!
If I didn't have gloves on, my hands would have been bleeding.

New friends.

Hahaha, this picture still makes me laugh.
I didn't know what these guys were going to do next.

New favorite food, my hair.
The zoo is huge. It would take a solid eight hours at least to walk to every different exhibit. We were there for about five hours and got to see many different things, but there was much we didn't see. When the weather is nicer, I definitely want to head back to spend more time just wandering around. In the summer they have an awesome rose garden near the entrance, the National Museum of Contemporary Art is very close by, and there is also a theme park called Seoul Land. Apparently Seoul Land has at least 40 rides including roller coasters and movie theaters as well as revolving temporary exhibits. I definitely need to check that out!

Perfect photo opportunity.

There were a few signs in English,
usually not completely correct. I enjoyed this one immensely--
"Do not tap on the glasses. No Flesh!!"

Horsing around with the elephants.

Charles the Turtle.

Dan riding an ostrich!
We're just big kids at heart...

After hanging out at the zoo for a big part of the day, we decided to journey to Beomgye for the evening. I haven't posted to many pictures of a typical Korean street view, but it pretty much looks like Las Vegas on any given main street. The buildings are all multiple stories, and there are so many bars, restaurants and norebangs vying for customers that it can be a bit blinding.

Book vending machine in the subway station!
It's a nerd's dream!
I was way too excited to see this.
Sadly, the books were all in Korean.
View of Beomgye right off the subway.
Beomgye street view.
Pretty impressive, right?
We went to restaurant there and tried a different popular Korean BBQ dish called galmaegisal. This is pork 'skirt-meat'. It looks like bacon, but it's redder and less fatty. It's extremely similar to samgyeopsol, but it's much less fatty and I think it tasted so much better!

These food pictures always look so amazing,
and the food usually tastes as good as it looks!

A close up of dinner,
plus a nice background shot of Cass,
which is like Korea's PBR.
It was a fun day with a fun group of people. I'm glad I got to go and see something different. I cannot wait for March to roll around and nice weather to come Korea's way! I feel like there will be so many more options for things to do on the weekend when it is not cold, snowy, and a bit treacherous due to icy sidewalks.

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