I woke up, drank water, and went back to sleep. I then woke up for real around 4. I found this place called ‘Kimbap Country’ [translated] and proceeded to stuff my hungry belly with dolsot bibimbap and mandu. Fighting the urge to pass out again, I forced myself to get ready for day two. This time in Seoul.
The weather was good enough for a t-shirt and my leather jacket, but I packed my trusty Army-issued gator neck just in cased I needed it. I took the bus out to Ori Station and proceeded traverse the subterranean maze known as Korea’s subway system. Armed with a pretty good Android app that guided me through and transfers, I finally reached Yongsan Station about an hour later.
Mind you, this is pretty fast for the money. To go roughly 20 miles for under three bucks is, well, freaking awesome. Though my local subway station a quite a walk from my home )about 30 minutes), I can get to anywhere in Seoul for pocket change and not have to worry about where to park. There are obvious downsides to go with the upsides, but I’m ultimately content with this arrangement.
Once I arrived at Yongsan station, I was left at the mercy of my offline Google Map of Seoul. I had no idea how I was going to find the DJ equipment store which could only be pinpointed to a square half mile. Crap. I decided to pick a direction and start walking. I only made it 20 feet outside of the station and I started to doubt my plan. Signs abound but they didn’t really indicate “THIS WAY TO THE DJ STUFF”. I continued to read the signs anyway because what else what I going to do. But hey, this sign looked interesting. There is apparently a rather large department store attached to Yongsan Station. The sign said there were musical instruments on the fifth floor. They’ve gotta have at least a couple Dj-y things, right…?
Up the escalators and through the grand pianos, I kept turning left until I saw something to scratch my itch for scratching. And lo and behold… DJ Korea!
F yeah! This was actually the store I was looking for. I ran around the glass-walled department like an oppressed child let loose at Chuck-E-Cheese’s. DJ controllers, mixers, CDJs, turntables, headphones OMG BWBWwaaaahhhhHHh! I ask to plug in my USB stick to the CDJ-2000nexus setup and I went to town. Though I was out of practice, I really didn’t loose any skills. Those CDJs were so nice and awesome and lovely and I just wanted to take them home and name them and sing to them every night. It’s too bad that their prices were about 33-50% higher than in the States. DAMMIT. My family doesn’t know this yet, but they are going to be shipping me some toys in the near future.
The store was staffed by a Korean guy and a black guy. The latter spoke North American English and a little Korean as well, but it was a struggle to get him to give any sort of damn about my questions at all. Despite my clearly demonstrated savvy with the gear and DJ at all, I felt rather unwelcome. I must note that this is NOT typical of customer service in Korea. Compared to the U.S., most customers in Korean retail are treated like royalty. The Korean staffer, while likely less able to converse with me accurately, will be the one I go to for help next for sure.
Rant aside, I can’t wait to go back and play to my heart’s content. A few more picture and I’m off to fuel my night. I found a Chinese/Korean fusion place in the multi-level food court and ordered some chap-jae n’ stuff. While the water was good, the rice was hours old and stale. I can take that place off my list of recommendations now. Knowing that I’ve survived with much lesser meals in my stomach, I left Yongsan Station and started walking. There was a chill in the air, so I returned to the Station’s E-Mart [like a super Target] and bought a freaking cardigan. While it felt weird owning a cardigan, I took comfort in the fact that I have several friends who pull off the look well. Sporting a new layer of warmth, I started walking… again.
Yongsan Station is a rather large hub for rail and bus traffic in Korea. Not thinking anything of this, I circumnavigated the Station which took me about two miles into the cleanest, yet, ghetto place I’ve ever strolled through alone. Some bus stop maps guided me right back to the place where I started after making one complete circle. It was getting late and I still had a train to catch, so I ran in and hopped the last train to Apgujeong Station in Gangnam.
Stay tuned for the epic conclusion of my rather delightful weekend