Thursday, 11-12-2014. Day 113.
Taking the Waters in Seoul.
For breakfast, we skipped Paris Baguette (one can only tolerate a certain level of rudeness) and went to the Orange Tree Cafe instead, a little place Samantha had spotted the day before. I really wish we'd have found this place sooner It was fantastic.
The woman who owned the place loved Jackie (in general, most Koreans, especially older ladies, loved Jackie), and the staff was polite, attentive, and in general happy we were there. Pretty much the polar opposite of how we were treated at Paris Baguette.
And the food was good, too. We had great coffee here, fried egg sandwiches, and the girls had hot chocolate and pancakes.Before we left, the woman bundled Jackie up properly to make sure she would stay warm.
Not too far from where we were staying, there was a shopping mall that bore the name Goodmorning City. There were a lot of shopping malls, actually, but this one was notable for two reasons.
First, it had a huge sign hanging on the outside of the building that said "We are citizens of Goodmorning City." And not one of the 11 citizens looked vaguely Korean.
Second, in the basement, there was a place called Sparex, a traditional Korean bathhouse, and the girls wanted to go there. So we did.
This place was pretty affordable—so affordable in fact, that we heard some people will choose to spend the night here instead of getting a hotel. And you can do that—there are sleeping rooms (but you can sleep anywhere in the place, really), and lockers for your stuff (although tye wouldn't hold a lot of luggage. Jackie, in particular, was wondering why we weren't staying there.
On the men's side there were three hot pools of varying temperatures (39°C, 41°C, and 43°C), a sauna (46°C) and a steam room (90°C). which were a welcome treat after spending two days being numb. There was also a cool pool (18°C), both standing and showers, and massage tables if you go in for that sort of thing. There was also a barber, and I briefly considered a haircut but decided against it.
After warming up in the pools, I made my way out to the jimjilbang (common area) to meet up with the gals, where we lounged about with all the couples who were here on dates.
We ate here, too. The menu was entirely in Korean and no one spoke English, so we did our best. I can't say the food was all that good, but I did get to try a pine bud drink that tasted, well, piney.
After we were done at the spa, we looked around Goodmorning City for a bit. It was a strange place, filled with clothing and accessories, mostly. It seemed to be more of a place where a vendor would rent space and sell whatever they wanted. As we browsed, the different vendors would follow us around, hawking their wares to us. It didn't make browsing easy or fun.
There were a lot of branded items on sale that likely weren't legit, like the Lego shirts and the jacket with the Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics logo on it, not to mention many designer handbags and backpacks.
It was a strange mall, though. There wasn't much in it other than clothing. Way at the top of the building, there's a gym and a video screen shotgun shooting range.
Once we finished checking out Goodmorning City (and we never did see any of the 11 citizens advertised on the sign outside; in fact we didn't see a single other Westerner all day), we walked back to the hostel, stopping at a fried chicken restaurant along the way, but not before stopping at Paris Baguette (I know, right?) to pick up some snacks for the next morning. We had to catch an early bus to the airport and wouldn't have time for a proper breakfast.
Back at the hostel, we repacked the bags and turned out the light. The morning would come soon, and we were headed to China.