Saturday, 31 December 2011

27 Oct 2011 - The White Rabbit & PS cafe (Singapore)

I reached Singapore on 25th Oct and I was still in my "Korea mode" till now. I am very happy because I can get to see 재 again in Singapore today. He wanted to check out Dempsey so off we went to Dempsey.   Ermmm...although I am a 100% Singaporean but I have never been to Dempsey before ㅎㅎㅎ  

Both of us preferred bus as our mode of transport so we took bus no. 7 to Dempsey. Somehow, we missed our stops and overshot all the way to Clementi!   Dempsey was not that far from Clementi. I suggested taking a taxi to Dempsey because the restaurant I had in mind would be closed if we had waited for our bus.  Forgot to explain to Jae that certain restaurants in Singapore will be closed after the last order for lunch time and it will be reopened at around 6pm.  During this period of closing, it is known as split shift to the waiters and waitresses. 

I brought him to "The White Rabbit" at Harding road. The place was a restored old chapel and located off Dempsey but it was within walking distance to the cafes and restaurants at Dempsey.  I chose "The White Rabbit" because it looks place with nice ambiance from most of the online reviews. 
*Picture captured by my iphone using Instagram
I have never stepped into a chapel before, so it was a different kind of experience when I first stepped into the restaurant.  Somehow I lost the 'feel' when the waiter told us its going to the last order as they were going to close at 2.30pm. I should have checked the operating hours before coming.... 재, 정말 미안.
We ordered the set lunch which consists of three courses, ie starter, main dish and dessert.  Although this was not fine dinning but I was not used to it. Luckily, I have a good companion with me  ^^  I was not sure what's good to order so we decided to order according to the waiter's recommendation. 

The White Rabbit Mac and Cheese. 
You must not eat this too slowly because cheese taste better when its warm ^^
Braised oxtails
We never knew ox tail can be so big. 
The actual ox tail looked bigger than what was reflected in this picture.
Jae stacked up the bones to take a picture. 
I thought that stacked up bones looked like a tower  ㅋㅋㅋ
I think it was ice cream inside.
This was nice!  I like this a lot  ^^

We didn't leave by the entrance where we came from. This was the back of the restaurant.  I liked this canopy of bamboo!  Reminds me of Damyang bamboo forest ㅋㅋㅋ 
*Picture captured by my iphone using Instagram

My overall experience at "The White Rabbit"?  Well, I wouldn't say the food were super duper delicious.  The food was not bad but it could be better since it was recommended by the waiter. Personally, I felt the place will look and feel better if the plants/trees are taller....hahahahaa...I really mean it but its just my personal opinion because the plants looked too young and tender to create an ambience of the place. Nevertheless, the ambience was still quite nice.  It was an experience for me and most importantly, its the companionship that matters to me  ^^
We walked to Dempsey and decided to have a cup of tea at PS cafe. It was raining the whole afternoon, otherwise it would be nice to take the outdoor seating..
I can't remember the name of our beverage but my impression of 재's beverage was  a boost of Vitamin C ㅋㅋㅋ 
Saw the map in this picture?  Its good for him to come prepared!  Hmm...I cannot be counted on especially at certain time of the day ㅋㅋㅋ  Hahahaa.......its a "secret" that I "discovered" by chance when I was in Korea...
I don't make a good local guide. Felt apologetic towards 재 for leading the wrong directions and not being able to recognise the way/buildings. This happened a few times that day ㅎㅎㅎ I am soooo ashamed of myself.  Although we missed our bus stops and had to figure out how to get to our destinations, I truly enjoyed every moment with him around. At certain point of time, I felt I was the tourist while he was the host ㅎㅎㅎ so so paiseh(hokkien). "Paiseh" means "embarrassed"..

Looking back .....

Time flies.  Today is the last day of 2011.   Every year at this point of time, I will ask myself what did I achieve for the year.  Did I allow my time to pass by just like that?   Did I achieve what I wanted to do?

Making new year resolution can be bullshit to some people...I knew what you mean but I started making new year resolution few years far none of them was fulfilled except for 2011.   2011 has been a very self-fulfilling year for me because I realized my resolution for 2011.  My new year resolution for 2011 was to travel to Korea on my own.   From preparation to the actual trip, I learnt and understand more about my favourite country, Korea.  This trip has also made me recognised and confirmed my own feelings.   

I realised making new year solution is not just about saying it and hoping that it will happen.  You got to work hard for it.  If your new year solution has yet to come true, its probably because you haven't work hard on it. 

What's my new year resolution for 2012??   I am not going to announce here but needless to say, it has got to do with my beloved Korea ^^   
*Hint - Its a different resolution from 2011 and its a big resolution ㅋㅋㅋ 

World peace sounds old fashion but I wish for world peace and harmony.  May human beings get more conscious of saving our mother earth.  May there be no or less disasters.  May everyone enjoy a good year ahead. 

People tends to forget to appreciate and cherish life during happy times.  In good and happy times, do remember to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate...
If you feel that life has been unkind to you, take a deep breathe...Think of the good things that have happened.   Ups and down in life is all depends on how you see things and overcome the challenges.  Easier said then done but its your choice.  You got a choice to be happy and contented; you got a choice to feel unfair and miserable.  Its up to you. 

새해 복 많이 받으세요 
Happy New Year ^^


Friday, 30 December 2011

25 Oct 2011 - Day 16 in Korea (Last day in Korea)

Morning seemed to come so fast today...WHY???????!!!   Arghhh....Its my last day in Korea today and its a moody day for me today...the only thing that makes me happy is the thought of being able to see Jae again in Singapore in two days time!   Yippiee  ^^ 
I decided to drop by Gwangjang Market 광장시장 for breakfast before I checked out...

I took the subway to Jogno 5-ga Station, exit 8 for Gwangjang Market 광장시장

I walked straight from exit 8.  Raised my head and I saw this.  Yup, I was at the right place.

Some stalls were setting up, while some were still closed.. I think it was around 9.30am??

The food sold was about the same  

The long horizontal 'tube' kind of stuff was not giant German sausage ㅋㅋㅋ 
That was 순대 Sundae... Sundae is a Korean food, made by boiling or steaming cow or pig's intestines stuffed with ingredients such as pork blood, glutinous rice etc
잠깐 만요...those beside Sundae looked like pig's nose?  Pig's mouth??  Pig's trotter??

There were quite a number of shops not opened yet.  That's ok for me because I had my mind set on the popular pumpkin juk that I saw online  ㅋㅋㅋ 

I didn't take a good look at these but only a quick snap.  Were these for Banchan?

Bindaetteok 빈대떡!    Ya, I wanted to try this but I knew I couldn't finish it on my own...

I found it!    This was the stall that I wanted to locate.  On the left was 호박죽 Hobaak Juk (pumpkin porridge).  The one in the middle was 팥죽 Patjuk (red bean porridge), and the one on the right was 녹두죽 Nuk Du Juk (mung bean porridge).

Yes.  Mum's juk is always the best  ^^

I bought my Bindaetteok 빈대떡 and brought it over to the juk stall to eat with my 호박죽 Hobaak Juk.  The lady did a good job in wrapping up my 빈대떡 for takeaway.   I think in Korea, "take out" is more commonly used.  

Jae said its nice to eat 빈대떡 with 막걸리 Makgeolli.   It didn't occur to me because it was morning  ㅋㅋㅋ   but I can imagine eating 빈대떡 with 막걸리 should be a perfect match in heaven, specially as supper with friends  ^^

I met a very nice Korean granny when I was eating at this stall.  The granny was more than 70 years old..was it 72 years old??  I can't remember..   She has a very nice personality and her smile reminds me of my late 할머니 grandmother.  I was eating my 빈대떡 when she came along and sat beside me.  I asked her if she would like to share my 빈대떡 but she declined politely as she had taken some other food elsewhere.  What surprised me was, she replied me in fluent English!!   She really took me by surprise because its rare for me to come across elderly folks speaking English in Korea...moreover, she spoke very very very fluent English.  She didn't have any foreign slang or local accent when she speaks English.  I felt I was talking to a friend whom I knew very long...

She was surprised that I travel alone in Korea and asked me if I have encountered any difficulties during my trip...I told her I can't speak Korean but I did a lot a lot of research...Granny said I was very brave!  Hahahaaa.....suddenly I felt a bit big headed. She told me that her daughter loves Singapore and always travel to Singapore!  I was like, "Huhhh??"   What a small world. 
Granny told me she has been patronising this stall since the stall was first operated by the mother and now by the daughter in law(or daughter..I can't remember).  Granny said she lived far from Seoul but she love to come here to catch up with old friends, and buy some cloth from the other side of the market.

I asked granny how she learnt her English.  She replied, "I tried my best."  Granny said she did not study overseas but tried her best to learn.  I did not asked how exactly she tried her best but her reply set me thinking.   If granny can do it, so can I and so can you!  In any situation, do your very best.  Even if the result is not what you wanted, you knew you have given your best and there will be no regrets when you look back.
We chatted for around 30 mins.  Everybody who passed by was looking at us...Granny seemed to know a lot of people in the market.  They must be surprised to hear how fluent the way granny speaks English.  We left the market together but before we left, she offered to take a picture of me with the background of all the stalls.   I felt a bit embarrassed to be standing in the middle of the market, with all the people staring at me.  Granny assured me, "괜찮아요". 
I like Granny a lot...she makes me warm at heart..I will remember her for a long time  ^^
I don't understand the contents but pictures tell a thousand words  ^^    This is definitely good publicity.

My 호박죽  Hobaak Juk(pumpkin porridge).  The pumpkin porridge has the natural sweetness of the pumpkin.   Nice and healthy ^^  The kimchi soup was cold.  I noticed all the soup that comes with juk was cold.  There maybe a reason for it but I am not sure why was that so...
Frankly speaking, I am still not used to having cold soup with hot porridge ㅋㅋㅋ 

After granny and I parted, I walked around the market for a while.  

Time passed by so quickly...I dragged my legs and a heavy heart to the subway station...It was then I discovered the underground shopping was mainly shops selling 한복 Hanbok and other costumes accessories related to wearing a hanbok.  Interesting. 

Gwangjang Market 광장시장
Guess what?  I walked back to Gwangjang Market again!  Hahahaaa...I still have about 20 minutes to check out Cheonggyecheon Stream .   Can you feel how reluctant I was to leave Korea....I really don't mind to miss my plane at all!  Hahahaa...You probably think I was crazy...Yes!  I am crazily but rationally in love with Korea.  I think I would really choose to miss my plane if I am not meeting Jae in two days' time.

Walking back to Gwangjang market to get to Cheonggyecheon Stream....There was a big section selling cloth.  No wonder granny said she likes to come here to buy cloth.

청계천 Cheonggyecheon Stream was 8.4Km long and this was not the best looking part of the stream.    I decided that I will take a stroll in the evening during my next trip to Seoul ^^

It was soo damn cold but I wanted to get a feel of the stream...

By now, I was so familiar with pathway made of stones...

Brhhhhhhhhhhh.......very very cold.....

아저씨 at work
아저씨 kept looking at me...he must be wondering why is this girl snapping so many pictures of the leaves in such cold weather...
아저씨 ...My fingers felt like popsicle...I was just trying to buy my time here because I really don't want to leave Seoul  ㅠㅠ

I don't know about you but I find they are cute

Picture captured by my iphone using Instagram 

Picture captured by my iphone using Instagram 

Checked out Ibis Myeongdong at 1pm because I requested for a late check out on the previous night.  I took the airport limousine bus which was right outside the hotel.   
While waiting at the limousine bus stop, a middle age Korean lady asked me something about the bus route/timing of the limousine bus shown on the signage.  I replied to her that I don't understand.  She spoke in Japanese and asked, "Nihon jin desu ka?"   I don't know why...but I replied, "아니."   I hoped I did not confused her!  Anyway, she was the last Korean who asked me for directions etc...How I wish I can replied back in Korean!  Arghhhh........
The airport limousine bus has to stop at different destinated places to pick up passengers along its way to Incheon airport.  While waiting at one of the hotels, I saw filming across the road.   I have no idea who are they.  Do you know them?

Brought back memories and learning experiences but I left my heart behind in Seoul...........  네가 알아?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

24 Oct 2011 - Day 15 in Korea (Last night in Korea) was my last night in Korea........packing my luggage with a heavy heart...Can I stay on in Korea?   I am always proud to be a Singaporean and always felt blessed living in Singapore...but there's just that something that pulls me to Korea. 
Well, it is not like the saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side".  Nope because every country has their own set of rules and culture, their pros and one set of rules can pleased every single person..
I just love Korea so so much.  Sometimes when you like something or someone, words can't explain why...its simply acceptance over everything.  Like means Like.  Don't like means Don't like.  Wish I can stay on here....내소원이 언젠가 이루어질길 바래

Innisfree became my favourite Korean brand in this trip.   I bought this body oil cream because I love the scent!  It smell really nice and has a very good moisturising effect.  Don't be mislead by the word, "oil cream".  It is not oily at all.  The cream gets absorbed easily into the skin.  I hope to see this brand in Singapore real soon!   Oh, by the way, Yoona of Girls Generation is the spokesperson for Innisfree.   I am not her fan but I think she is sooo perfect looking.  Definitely every guy's dream girl!

I passed by SAEM and was 'dragged' into the shop by the persuasive salesgirl.  I was not familiar with this brand and not sure what to buy, but I thought there might be something that I can get because 이승기 Lee Seung Gi is the spokesperson for Saem.   I am not his fan... hahahaa... but I wanted to get his poster for Elaine who is a BIG BIG fan of 이승기 ㅋㅋㅋ 
The salesgirl was from China, and studying in Korea...*super duper envy .....
Anyway, I noticed there were a lot of salesgirls from China in Myeongdong cosmetics shops.  Its good to have them around because I can communicate with them in Mandarin!  
Back to my salesgirl, she was really doing hard sales but very helpful and nice.   She told me this bottle of cleanser is a very popular item in the shop.  I told her I will buy on condition, she can give me a poster of 이승기.  She immediately told the cashier to prepare the poster for me! 
This bottle of cleanser was not expensive...less then SGD $15??  I can't remember..

I took a picture of this because I find it rather amazing....Let me explain why..
First, pump a bit of the cream and apply on your face.  The cream is greyish purple in colour.  Massage slightly as you apply the cream over the entire face.  After applying, leave it on and wait for about one second.  You will see a layer of light greyish foam surface on your face.  Wipe it off.   The salesgirl told me the light greyish foam is the dirt on my skin.  This is gimmick to me but interesting though.  I have very sensitive skin but this is gentle enough for me.   Lastly, I use my cleansing foam to wash my face.   To summarise, this cleanser acts like a cleansing oil/cream for me before using my cleansing foam.

This is another top favourite of mine!  It is also from Innisfree  ^^  I bought the one with virgin olive oil, not realising how good it was...I bought it at random because I love products with olive oil and green tea.    I have super dry hands so green tea wasn't my first choice.   I visited Innisfree several times during my stay in Seoul, and saw a lot of Taiwanese bought many tubes of this flavour(virgin olive oil).  I didn't think much of it until I wanted to buy the same tube again....Much to my surprise, all the stocks for this flavour was sold out in Myeongdong for several days, even until my last day in Seoul.  Without much choice, I bought the other two flavours, Green Tea and Canola Honey.   I like the scent for both Vigin Olive Oil and Green Tea flavour but Green Tea was not very effective for my super dry hands.  Canola Honey was more effective than Green Tea but I don't really like the feeling on my hands.  Virgin Olive oil is the best!  Smells good, easily absorbed and very good moisturising effect!  You bet I will buy at least a dozen of it on my next trip!!!

The thought of tomorrow makes me very sad...Gwangjang Market will be the last place to visit before I checked out...sobs....