An Early Start
Despite a late night and a very early start, we’re all in good spirits as we leave the hostel at 7:00am the next morning. The sun’s not yet up and it’s really cold but, wearing our Santa hates, we’re eager to continue spreading Christmas cheer in a country where Christmas doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as it is in Western countries. At Hongik station, we relieved to see that it’s relatively quiet and it’s easy to find people willing to take group photos of us and wish us a Merry Christmas.
Before long, we arrive at
where we are to meet the entire tour group outside of Starbucks. We have approximately 30 minutes to have breakfast and I end up eating yoghurt and granola with impromptu chopsticks from Starbucks. KiwiKat and Catfish play the sliding game while the group slowly increases in size and Seokjin, who runs Adventure Gimpo Airport (the company through which we do almost all of our travelling), starts organising the masses. We’re soon checking in our luggage and queuing up for the security check where KiwiKat’s friend’s bag is thoroughly inspected in a bid to find the scissors that are unknowingly hidden somewhere in her backpack and definitely strong contenders for the 2010 Hide-and-Seek Championship Award considering it takes three people nearly 15 minutes to search her tiny backpack. Korea
Seokjin sees us making snow angels and having a mini snowball fight and shows us a flower that only blooms in the snow. After seeing this flower, we resume our snowball fight which quickly escalates into a fight involved roughly eight people (naturally all six of us who are travelling together, Seokjin and one or two other people). Not even the arrival of another tour group entering the restaurant stops this fight – they’re simply another obstacle not to hit and we continue pitching snow balls over their heads. A snowman is even attempted by someone in our group. After about 20 minutes, everyone has finished eating lunch and we’re soon back on the bus and heading to the
where we spend an hour taking ridiculous photos that create a rather realistic effect. In the cafeteria area, Catfish and I can’t help but chuckle over the “Phohibition of Taste” sign! Trick Art Museum
After dinner, it’s time for the gift exchange which involves each person choosing a gift, table by table, from under the Christmas tree. Since our table is the last one to choose gifts, we’re allowed to ‘steal’ gifts that other people have already opened and that we like. Catfish decides to steal the bottle of wine someone received and can’t conceal her smugness over this minor coup.
Once the gifts are all gone, it’s time for Karaoke. The OzKo (Australian-Korean) and I kick off the karaoke with a few Christmas carols and proceed to line up several more before handing over the microphone to the people standing nearest us. Catfish is looking rather glum at this point and sitting at the piano which is located on a very cool looking alcove above the bar. Before long, we’re sitting side by side at the piano, singing along to the karaoke below us at the top of our voices. Each sip of wine makes us a little happier and a little happy but, hey, it’s Christmas and someone has to liven things up from time to time….