Monday, April 29, 2013

Noryangjin Fish Market

Every morning, my family would walk down to the SCT Mall to have breakfast at Paris Baguette. Sometimes I joined them, sometimes I didn't.

When I did join them however, it's always great fun with Alex and Max around. 

On one of the mornings, we met another Singaporean family there. My mom hit it off with them fairly well.

After breakfast, we took the subway from Seoul Station to Noryangjin Station.

Noryangjin Station really reminded me of the North Wales train station in Pennsylvania.

There were many old people loitering around the area. 

We had to cross an overhead bridge to the fish market.

Peering down from a ledge, we get our first glimpse of the market.

There is live seafood of every kind, including baby octopuses.

The boys seemed to find it all really interesting.

There was so much variety, my mouth started to water. I didn't even know what I wanted to eat!

Will you check out those monstrous prawns/shrimp?!! 

Gosh, they'd be so good on a barbecue right now.

The inside of Noryangjin fish market wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It was just like any other wet market around the world. The nice thing about this market though, as compared to the wet markets in Singapore, is that it gets cold during fall, winter and spring. That means, it smells nicer. 

Wonder how much sashimi would that giant octopus tentacle render...

Probably enough sashimi for ten persons?

Ahh a bunch of ahjummas huddling by a stove, cooking seafood stew. 

Here's us filching a bit of heat from someone's coal bucket.

I'm not sure if all that blood was meant to look appetising.

Seoul, being the tech-savvy city that it is, has its senior citizens enthralled by handheld devices even at work.

Love that the ahjummas usually look classy even while doing "dirty" work. Check out her pearl earrings, makeup and all. I think it's probably easier for them too since the weather isn't as humid as in Singapore. Your makeup won't be running down the sweaty sides of your neck in an hour.

A fish's nightmare.

At Noryangjin, the norm is to buy your seafood at a stall downstairs, then bring them upstairs to a restaurant where they will cook it for you.

My mom chose this solefish for Max. It cost about 13,000 won if I'm not wrong.

I had a feeling that it would be cheaper if we weren't tourists :/

The prawns were big, but nothing special. They were simply sprinkled with salt and then grilled. 

We had other food as well, including a mackerel stew, but I neglected to take a photo of it.

Their favourite Korean man on a poster right outside the restaurant.  

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Thanks to Rooftop Prince, I had an urge to go see Gyeongbokgung Palace while I was in Seoul. It wasn't until I was there that I found out that Rooftop Prince was actually shot at a different palace.


But oh well!

It was a fairly quick walk from Gyeongbokgung Station to the palace. 

Upon reaching the entrance, we saw a cute little "changing of the guard shift" parade going on.

There was a lot of hollering.

I thought their costumes looked cheap though. Nothing like the spectacular brocades that you'd see in high budget periodic films.

Maybe it's because they're just... guards.

I was really tempted to make funny faces at them, but then I thought to myself: "let's not make their job more unpleasant than it already is."

Saw the old guard shift marching away.

The ticket was really cheap, only 3,000 won or approximately 3 SGD. A stark difference to the Forbidden Palace in Beijing which is ten times the price.

Thankfully, Gyeongbokgung Palace was a lot less crowded than the Forbidden City in Beijing. 

I thought the architecture looked pretty similar.

Here's Hyoju and I just inside of the main entrance. Doesn't she look super cute in her light purple shirt?

The throne room also looked similar to the throne room in China, just perhaps, less complicated.

The painted walls and ceiling looked vibrant and well-preserved.

Here outside the throne room too, was a crowd of tourists vying for first position. It was altogether rather intense.

Hyoju mentioned that the last time she'd been to Gyeongbokgung Palace, she was a middle school student. Guess this is just one of the typical school outing locations. 

I was relieved to see that the back of the palace was less crowded than the front.

Like in the Namsangol Hanok Village, there are rooms where you can remove your shoes to go inside for a quick tour. Hyoju went in. I was too lazy so I stood outside as usual.

Although Rooftop Prince wasn't really filmed here, there were scenes in Da Jang Geum that were!!! However, I watched DJG such a long time ago that I couldn't recognise the spots where they did some filming.

I really liked the brick patterns along this back wall.

They look almost like a Middle Eastern type pattern. Wonder how it ended up on these walls.

I asked Hyoju to take a photo of me here, not only because I liked the background, but also so that I could sit down.


The first signs of spring.

The mirror lake, with Bugaksan mountain in the background.

We spent a long time in this area taking photos because it was so pretty.

Spotted my favourite of Korean birds: the black-billed magpie.

It's my favourite not only because it's so beautiful, but also because it is a highly intelligent bird. It seems almost as intelligent as a dog.

The drainage system looks defunct now. 

The mirror lake has a special ancient device which keeps the water entering the lake from disturbing its surface. This maintains the beautiful reflection at all times.

Man I would love to sleep on a little canoe out there.

Well well look what I found. Police patrol on rollerblades! My kinda folks!

In between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bugaksan mountain is the Blue House, where the Korean president lives.

Security seems tight in the front.

Nice work clothes for these modern-day guards.

And, is this man from the South Korean Secret Service? Well, I pretended to myself that he was. What with the shades and everything. He looked like a Korean actor.

Turned back in to Gyeongbokgung Palace through the back gate to see this completely unpainted wooden house.

The grounds smelled heavenly. 

Thanks to the untainted wood.

I really wouldn't mind living in a wooden house like this because it smells so nice.

And I could sleep out here all afternoon.

Saw more spring blooms.

And another magpie.