Today was a very busy day. I woke up early in the morning and went with Nelson to see his new gosiwon.
This gosiwon is much much nicer than my old place with nicer walls, nicer hallways, nicer bathrooms/showers/kitchen, nicer everything. The most impressive part though was the view from the sixth floor (the rooms for men are on the fifth floor). The sixth floor is a roof for drying your clothes, but residents can also come up here to gaze at Namsan Tower... or throw themselves off if life gets too tough.
After viewing the gosiwon I had to go shopping for some new shirts for work. Since Itaewon seems to exist only for North American tourists, nearly every store on the street was a "big sizes" store. I did eventually find some nice shirts on sale and a store that sells only Crocs.
Nelson had put a reservation on a room for me, but I needed to wait until 4:30 PM when he would come home from work and translate the owner's Korean for me. Since it was now only about 10:30 AM I decided to do some more sight seeing and visit the 63 Building, with its 63 floors.
On my walk over to the 63 Building I saw this silver car pull up onto the sidewalk and start driving into the oncoming pedestrians. I'm not sure what surprised me more though, the fact that the car tried to drive on the sidewalk or that no one seemed to care.
In between dodging cars I would slow down to enjoy the cherry blossoms on the trees. Spring is here and all the trees are starting to flower and bloom, which makes the few streets that have trees quite pretty.
The 63 Building is simply massive. As you can see from this picture it dwarfs any building nearby. The 63 Building is the third tallest building in Seoul.
Inside the 63 Building is an art gallery, an aquarium and an Imax theatre.
I thought the Imax theatre would play some neat nature documentary, but instead it just played a crazy cartoon about a little kid and a woman who travel through space on a train to follow an alien to one of Jupiter's moons and try to save Earth from global warming. I thought it was rather... weird for a Korean cartoon, but the credits confirmed my suspicions that it was indeed Japanese, and that explained everything. At least the aquarium had to be better.
After my experience in Busan, turtles are one of my new favourite animals. This guy spent at least half an hour trying to get out of his pool onto the fake, painted rocks, but flippers aren't nearly as good for climbing as fingers or claws.
"Do you know what those are, Highness? Those are the Shrieking Eels!
Pass that, Grandpa. You read that already."
Actually, this is an electric eel, something I've been waiting my whole life to see in person.
I don't know what this is, but it's a nice picture so I'm putting it up.
Introducing the new Roomba for your walls! I don't know how they do it, but sting rays are one of the most efficient creatures I've seen.
Nothing beats a shark though. Not in the Encyclopedia DFMtannica anyways.
It's tough to tell from this picture, but this is a herring fish that is 8 meters long. It has many names, but its name here was the King of Herring. It is the longest bony fish in the World.
This was probably the neatest part of my aquarium experience. Anyone who stuck his/her fingers in the holes had a free finger cleaning by dozens of tiny Doctor Fish who would swim up and start nibbling rapidly on any fingers they encountered. The fish only eat dead skin cells, leaving the healthy skin free to grow, and are often used in Turkish Spas to renew the skin of patients with psoriasis.
There was an otter tank at the aquarium too, but otters never sit still long enough to have their picture taken. I filmed these otters for roughly twenty minutes and finally was rewarded with this great clip of an otter going for a loop around his (or her?) rather unique tank. It may have taken all of my camera battery's juice, but it was worth it!
After my 63 Building visit I went back home to buy my new room (my current gosiwon is closing down in a week).
My room's price was $250 for the month (plus an extra week), but because Nelson had already brought over three people from our old gosiwon the owner gave me a deal and I only had to pay $220. I still get free rice and kimchi, but now I also get a desk, and I can even fit a chair in between my bed and the wall! Oh, and if I spread my hands out I can straighten my arms and only my finger tips touch the walls. I also have a TV that gets Discover Channel and televised Star Craft tournaments now (the lack of which being my only complaint about my old place). Yup, DFM is movin' on up.
What wasn't nice though was the move over. I have purchased many souvenirs since I first arrived in Seoul, and so my suitcase was stuffed full when I tried to pack everything in. It easily weighed more than fifty pounds (it was forty-eight on the flight over) and carrying it up 5 flights of stairs was really tiring.
The was hard work, but tomorrow is my big climbing trip and should be a great time. I can't believe the week isn't over.