Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Suwon Bluewings

Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a soccer (futbol) game at the World Cup Stadium in Suwon. The stadium is gigantic, which is to be expected because it was built to house World Cup games. The stadium seats 43,959 and has been home to the Suwon Samsung Bluewings since 2001.

One part of lawn by the stadium is dedicated to statues--from a strange, flat rendition of a young Korean girl to toilet facilities being housed in a gigantic soccer ball, these were a lot of fun to look at.

A strange, optical illusion sort of statue.

You can see the toilets right behind--inside the giant soccer ball!

A metal ref shirt.

The stadium was filled with exuberant fans, many of whom were wearing the blue jerseys of their favorite players. For this match, they were playing Busan IPark, which I think is one of the most boring names for a soccer team I have ever heard.

The Bluewings fans were some of the most well-led fans ever. You know how hard it is for someone to start "the wave" in a stadium back home? Here, they sing full songs, have a leader with a megaphone that is helping to conduct the chaos, and a band. A band, with lots of drums! I posted a video of this at the bottom, make sure you watch it! 

It was a ton of fun to take part, and we quickly moved from our assigned seats (which seemed to be the foreigner section because we were surrounded by expats) to the Bluewings fan section where all the fun was being had and all the songs were being sung. Even though we had no idea what they were singing half the time, it was not difficult to chant "Suwon" with everyone.

Look at all the Bluewings fans with their jerseys on!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

King of Pirates & Hello Kitty Cafe

(from left to right) Felicia, Cecily, Libby, Evan and I.
Guess who is related!
It's summer in Korea, and for many of the hagwon teachers that means that we have a brief, but very necessary summer vacation. Two of my friends were lucky enough to have their siblings come to visit during our little vacation, and we decided to go somewhere new--a pirate bar! 

I'm sure most of you are asking yourselves, "What in the dickens is a pirate bar?". I asked myself the same question when I first heard of it. I had pictures of employees sporting eye patches, fake wooden parrots perched on everyone's shoulders, and plenty of plunder and booty for the patrons to explore. It wasn't quite as exciting as my imagination made it out to be, but I think it is interesting enough that anyone near Ansan (Sanbon Station, Line 4) should check it out. But before I give you more details and assuage your curiosity, here are some fun, goofy pictures we took before we made it to the bar!

After we finished being stereotypical tourists, we arrived at our destination, King of Pirates. The directions from this blog are fantastic if you want to visit as well--they have included pictures and everything so it is nearly impossible to get lost.

One of their features is "ice beer". This is a draft beer that is served in a plastic sleeve, surrounded by ice, carefully placed in a plastic frame with a sponge at the bottom to absorb the water as the ice melts. Pretty ingenious. So, after you finish your ice cold beer, you get to take this contraption apart and throw your ice mug against the wall. Sweet Jesus, I thought to myself, this is an amazing idea. The sweetest part of the deal is that if you throw your mug dead center, you win some sort of prize. I even managed to get a video of my friend, Libby, doing exactly that! We went pretty early in the night (don't judge me, I am fully aware it was fully light out in these pictures) so there weren't any other customers. I can see it could be a ton of fun, and a great place to hang out because they play Western music, had some dart boards, and a decent-sized menu in case you get hungry.

Check out Libby being a winner:

The target to throw your mug at.
Felicia and Cecily enjoying their ice cold beers.

Cecily, me and Libby loving the pirate bar.
Libby enjoying her prize, a Cafri (think Korea's version of Corona).
As if going to a pirate bar weren't enough excitement for one day, we ventured on to Hongdae for the evening. After getting off the subway, we stopped at the Hello Kitty Cafe to use the restroom and get some caffeine. There are no words to describe the girly pink explosion that this place is, so I will let a bunch of pictures do the talking. Enjoy. And feel bad for all the guys who had been dragged their by their dates.