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Seoul Revisited

(click my1st visit here)

Annyeong Haseyo – the only Korean word I know not until my recent visit to Seoul that I got to learn my second word, “kamsahamnida” meaning thank you, haha. It’s not that learning Korean language is so hard but it’s more of not paying attention to it and rather giving much appreciation to the country’s distinct beauty. Kamsahamnida Korea!

Though it’s 3 degrees below zero at daytime during my visit, it didn’t stop me to explore more of Seoul for the second time.

Day1 started with a blast, got a free Korean pass from the Korean Tourism Office worth of KRW20,000 (approx. PhP1K) which could be used at various shops including 7-11, really a pretty warm welcome for tourists!  Not only that, I was able to wear the Korean costume worn by Kings in ancient times and also got my name written in Korean script, and that’s absolutely free..Cool..only in Seoul!

And at night of Day1, I witnessed the fantastic illumination show of the Seoul Tower. Located at Mount Namsan, Seoul Tower offers great panoramic view of the city.

I started Day2 by attending the mass at the Myeongdong Cathedral- the house of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Seoul, also a neighborhood landmark and a symbol of Christianity in Korea.  The mass was in Korean then yet I still felt its solemnness. And though unusual, it’s nice to see people falling in line “by rows” and one at a time during offertory and communion. Of course, my friends and I did the same thing. I love the culture, it’s so organized.

I spent the rest of day2 exploring the Gyeongbokgung Palace where the National Palace Museum of Korea and National Folk Museum are both located.  Lucky we had a Korean kid tour guide (absolutely free) to explore the whole thing. A bit tiring though but it’s worth to have seen and learned some of the country’s cultural heritage.

The Everland Resort, Korea’s counterpart of Disneyland finished my day3.  An hour bus ride from Seoul, the Everland is the home of the world’s first and steepest wooden coaster. Wow..but I didn’t try it tho. My spirit then was frozen..it was like minus nine, haha what an excuse!

The Demilitarized Zone popularly known as the DMZ conquered my day4.  As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about Korea, DMZ is the common grounds for the two nations.

The mountainous region in the photo is part of North Korea and the bridge in the middle is what they call the Unification Bridge, also a part of the DMZ.  I learned that this bridge is built in preparation for possible union of the two nations in the future. Let’s just hope and pray that it’s gonna be opened soon.  World peace??

After having the historic DMZ tour, what happened next was kinda chilly haha.. got lost in Seoul. Trying to find Yongsan City (the electronic town of Seoul) by walking, we got lost because instead of taking the subway as clearly instructed in the guidebook, we opted to walk since the map says it’s just two stations away from our current location. Thanks to the Chinese lady who speaks English, she guided us to just take a cab. Lesson learned, follow instructions, don’t dare! Haha!

My adventure wouldn’t be complete without visiting for the second time the “Coffee Prince Road” to have some ice blended coffee at the Coffee Prince, this time with other set of friends. Cool and relaxing!

The Olympic Stadium highlighted my second visit to Seoul. It was so fortunate that our group had the chance to enter the stadium and even allowed to run the full stretch of the Olympic track! One of my cool experiences!

My last stop was at Lotte World – the biggest indoor theme park in Korea. Christmas is in the air at Lotte World, full of fun games, adventure rides all themed with spirit of Christmas.

Of course, not to mention all the Korean food I tried, I would like to share my favorite, the Korean Bibimbap..SARAP!

It’s been another memorable and awesome Korean adventure for me and I’d say that it’s not only the two Korean words I learned that matter but of course the fantastic memories and experiences I got from revisiting and exploring remarkable places like Seoul.

Kamsahamnida!

Las Vegas: I shall return.

At Vegas airport exit

Police Officer: How are yeah doin’ boy? Passport please!

BM: I’m good, Sir. Would you mind to wait for a while, it’s in my luggage. (and while looking for it, I said) I understand this is a local flight and of course I don’t need it…..sorry Sir to keep you waiting, here’s my passport.

Police Officer: So you’re going to the Casino?

BM: Yeah?? Uhh I guess that’s why we’re here!

Police Officer: (while looking at my passport) Thanks, just wanted to make it sure that you’re not a minor. Enjoy gambling. Have a great time.

BM: Thank you, Sir. (wink)

My friends then looked at me and said: Damn Joel, you really look f****** young! Cheater!!!!

I guess that’s pretty cool, at least my Las Vegas escape started with that lucky moment ;) hahaha.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas! The moment I saw this sign, I thought I was just watching a movie, but hell nah, it was real. It was hard to believe that I was once in this fabulous city that most people would want to go to enjoy, relax, to have fun and of course, gamble.

690x380-Las-Vegas-Welcome-Sign

I spent 4 nights at Monte Carlo with my best friends and we had to squeeze in everything since we have a quite limited time. We had casino hopping for 3 nights. Curious to gamble, I set aside 300 bucks just for the sake of Vegas gambling experience. I really had fun playing the slots, I played penny’s to keep me alive ‘till dawn haha. I even tried 3-card poker and I won hundred and fifty bucks on the first night, not bad!. We hopped from the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Luxor, Excalibur, Treasure Island, New York New York, The Paris, Monte Carlo, Queens, and of course to MGM Grand (i think this one’s close to Manny Pacquiao’s heart lels).

Beer, tequila, vodka unlimited for free, just a 50-cent tip to the “gorgeous” waitresses around the casino and then you’d be served right away, their pretty nice and friendly too. Though there were several times I was asked for my passport before I could get my free beer hahaha. I met lots of kababayans too, from food servers, waitresses, waiters, card dealers, hotel managers and gamblers, they were all nice and likewise it was such a great experience to have a short conversation with them.

On the 4th night, it was my first time to watch a foreign musical play. My best friend’s mom treated us to watch “The Producers” at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, it was a hella fun musical. And after the play, it’s casino again, nothing to do but casino haha.

And during daytime, we splurged for food. We ate like it’s gonna be the last haha. Of course I didn’t miss to try the best ribs in town @ Harrah’s Casino. Rapsa!

I really enjoyed each moment of my stay in Las Vegas. But, going to Vegas at least for me (who is not a gambler) is not all about casinos, gambling, and entertainment. Still, spending time with friends and loved ones makes it more fun and memorable. I couldn’t imagine playing the slots alone, having shots of vodka alone, watching shows and musical by myself, and having breakfast inside the room, it’s gonna be so boring.

But really, it’s not about how much you have in your pocket, it’s about how are you gonna make it last. Money can buy everything but really not happiness.

On the second thought, I’d still love to go back to Las Vegas!