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Seoul 2023: Day 3

You'd think after 48 hours of basically no good sleep my body would be so dead that I'd simply pass out from exhaustion. But nope, I woke up again at 2am, tossed and turned until 5:30am before waking up again at 8am. At this rate I'll probably be dead before we fly back to Canada.

Supposedly western style sandwiches aren't really a big thing here in Seoul but while I was searching for somewhere to go for brunch/lunch I stumbled upon Cafe Mamas. It had rave reviews and I was in the mood for a Korean take on one of my favourites. I ordered the philly cheesesteak and Elsie went with the BRT (bacon, ricotta, tomato). It would be impossible for me to overstate how much I loved this sandwich. It was by no means a conventional philly cheesesteak but it was out of this world delicious. Combined with the freshly "squeezed" pineapple juice, we had an absolutely perfect lunch. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be coming back to Cafe Mamas before we leave Seoul.

After we finished our lunch we knew we needed to get some coffee to prevent ourselves from passing out. This was when Elsie realized that Blue Bottle was also in South Korea. There aren't many things I miss about San Francisco but post-lunch trips to Blue Bottle for a latte would be near the top of that list. When we got there and opened the door a wave of nostalgia hit us because the inside looked like any Blue Bottle in SF. The cabinetry, the menu boards, the tableware were identical, and the latte tasted just as I remembered.

Directly outside of the Blue Bottle was the start of Cheonggyecheon, a nearly 11 kilometre public space that follows a stream across a large portion of downtown. With our stomachs full and our brains caffeinated we figured this was the perfect time to go for a walk through Seoul. In general I have been impressed at the amount of greenery and public space here. Seoul is much more dense than places like Toronto or San Francisco and yet it feels like it has a lot more greenery than either them. On our walk we encountered all sorts of interesting public art exhibits that taught us more about the Joseon dynasty, and we even encountered a number of what I believe were red-crowned cranes looking to snatch some fish out of the river. After about three kilometres we decided to turn back and returned to our hotel around 1pm.

We decided it was time to recharge our batteries and plan for our first Korean barbeque of the trip. We had walked by a place supposedly named "Keum Nyeong" (good luck googling that) and the menu looked like everything we wanted to try so we took a leap of faith and headed over for 5pm. This was where I realized that Korean barbeque was not what I thought it was, or maybe they treat foreigners differently. I was expecting to order a set of beef (which we did, rib and sirloin if I remember correctly), they would bring us the raw meat, and we'd be responsible for cooking it over a grill built into the table. But when the server brought us the meat she proceeded to prepare it for us. Once she finished cooking the rib cuts, and we ate every piece, she then came back and cooked the sirloin. It was one of the strangest restaurant experiences because the server did not appear to want to communicate with us at all, so it was like some deaf mute was cooking our steak and then gesturing for us to eat. The beef was quite tasty don't get me wrong but because of the strange atmosphere it was difficult to savour or appreciate being there. I think we were in and out in maybe 45 minutes and Elsie and I weren't really talking to one another because the server was hovering over the table. Oh, they also gave us the bill as soon as they finished cooking the meat so we weren't even sure if we were allowed to order more.

Once we were done with our meal Elsie wanted to head back to Myeongdong with her DSLR to get some proper pictures of the night market. Just because it is a tourist trap doesn't mean that it can't be very pretty after the sun's gone down.

We got back to our hotel around 8:30pm and after a quick shower promptly collapsed in bed. There is no way I could wake up again at 2am right?