I do cool stuff.

The tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon

The tomb of Queen Jeonghyeon

I’ve heard it. I’ve heard the rumors that all I do in Seoul is work, dance, and go to church. I’m going to put this nonsense to rest once and for all: I do cool stuff. To prove it, I’ll give you some examples from the past few days. This may shed some light on what us teachers do when we’re not at work or on facebook.

Watch Movies
I never went to the theater much at home. I’d see maybe one or two movies a year, sometimes not even that. Here I saw The Hobbit when it came out, and in the past week also saw both Les Miserables and Life of Pi. A night at the theater is a very tempting evening here, since Seoul is really on the cutting edge of theater technology. 3D and Imax are just the beginning for the theaters here, which occasionally include: “gold class” (think lazy boy instead of your normal chair); “veatbox” chairs with huge subwoofers; dining theaters; “sweetbox” rooms, with couches for couples; and 4DX theaters for a truly multi-sensoral experience.

You can see the draw. Consequently, these movies sell out very quickly. I’ve gone early with a friend to get tickets, and found that the next two showings are sold out. We went to the neighboring multi-plex and had the same story. Most people reserve their tickets online ahead of time, which makes it difficult for us poor foreigners who can’t navigate our way through Korean websites. I think a sign that I’ve really “made it” here is when I can buy my own movie ticket.

Screen Golf
A week ago Saturday I spent the evening in a room with some friends, smacking a golf-ball into a projected golf course while they snacked on the couches behind me. I discovered that it’s actually a really fun and cheap way to spend an evening. I also discovered that I’m horrible at golf. I think I’ll have to remedy that and frequent the screen golf joints more often. Conveniently, there are at least four places to do it on the walk from our apartment to the subway station. You know where to find me for the next week.

Some students were offering free tours so they could practice being guides at the Sodaemun Prison

Some students were offering free tours so they could practice being guides at the Sodaemun Prison

A distant, snowy shot of King Jungjong's tomb

A distant, snowy shot of King Jungjong’s tomb

Museums
Museums are becoming one of my go-to “what should I do with this Saturday afternoon?” activities. In the past couple weeks I’ve hit up the Royal Tombs, the Seoul Museum of History, the Sodaemun Prison Museum, and even went to the Van Gogh exhibit yesterday at the Seoul Arts Center (SAC). Up next on my ticket will likely be Chocolate: The Exhibition at the SAC, and the Tim Burton exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art. While the traveling exhibits are more expensive, permanent displays are only $1-2. It certainly beats sitting on my butt reading a book.

This picture doesn't do the size justice, but as you walk down this "valley", you'll see that the walls are actually the windows into classrooms and hallways.

This picture doesn’t do the size justice, but as you walk down this “valley”, you’ll see that the walls are actually the windows into classrooms and hallways.

Exploring
Or more accurately, “miscellaneous.” If all else fails, there are numerous markets or cool districts in town to see. On Saturday I went with a co-worker to look around the beautiful Ewha University campus and nearby stores, then checked out the Hongdae free market. Turns out the free market is closed December-January, but there are still plenty of vendors and shops in the area. We even stumbled on a magic show with a large crowd around it. Somehow I got singled out and was volunteered to be his assistant (I’ll blame it on being the one white guy in the crowd). Who knew I could make a table levitate and spit coins out of my mouth?

Clearly, it’s never a dull weekend in Seoul if you don’t want to it to be. That’s not how I roll, at least.

EDIT: I will probably regret ever making this public, but my friend recorded some of the magic show, so I figured I’d share it.

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