Today Ryan and I woke up to a sunny sky and high hopes of a great day! We got ready and went to check out the breakfast only to find out it was all foreigners who stop eating as soon as someone else enters looking up in the freaky way animals do when they feel you are a threat; so we skipped it and headed down the hill to meet mom and dad at the Hilton. As we left the Hill House the man behind the counter said something that I couldn't make out but as we left Ryan told me it was "rain this morning," however it looked fine. We stopped in a few convenent stores to grab something quick for breakfast and once we hit the bottom of the hill the sky opened up and just poured. So we jumped in a taxi and tried to get him to understand the word "Hilton", and gave up after a few minutes, but we got him to understand KTX/Seoul Station we were headed that way because well you can see the Hilton from the station however this only got us to the station where we gave up on the taxi and started the 5 minute walk up the hill.
Once there and somewhat wet we met mom and dad in the lobby to talk about what had been planned for the day. We agreed to stick with the plan which was to head over to the Korean War Memorial, one of Ryan's favorites, and then to get lunch and do some shopping in Itaewon. As we headed out to the cab the rain was letting up and had almost come to a stop as we made our way into the entrance. We stopped to look at a few things and read about them so mom could tell Chris about it all when she got home.
Once inside Ryan and I relized we had managed to miss a ton of it in the previous times we had been there. So we spent over 2 hours wandering around with mom and dad exploring the Korean's history and their wars. Who would of ever guessed mom and dad would be our guides for this part and they just kept finding more and more rooms we didn't know about. It was all very interesting and even somewhat sad take Korea has always gotten picked on over the ages.
After we finished inside we headed out to see some of the tanks, planes, and things outside it started to rain once again, little did we know it would be the trend for the day. Mom and I huddled together as Ryan and dad went off to buy umbrellas, they were so cute they even got ones that matched! With two umbrellas now we skipped off into the rain, but on the short walk to Itaewon it started to rain harder and then some how harder. Ryan kept saying it was just up around the corner and we all kept walking getting only wetter. We finally stopped under a bridge for a few minutes to try to dry off before heading back out in it, and then later hiding under a bike stand, and later store fronts in hopes it would soon let up.
Once in Itaewon we finally gave up and bought another umbrella as it rained harder and it became harder for 2 to stay dry under one, and headed to Pancho's for some amazing Mexican. As we sat inside and drank beer we watched it pour somehow even harder as it started to form river in the street and blowing man hole lids/covers off as water gushed out of it. We waited and watched hoping yet again it would let up but when it didn't we headed out to get a 4th umbrella in hopes of staying dry and appeasing the rain gods to hopefully make it stop. (you know because once everyone has bought an umbrella that would be the perfect time for the rain to stop), however it didn't.
So once out on the street we headed towards an antique store to look for a table runner for mom and a Korean quilt box for Ryan. This place has to be one of my favorite shops even more so than that, I got to experience it with my mom and dad, and I found out they have a whole second floor. Once we were done we were happy to see it was still a down pour and at this point it had become some what of a joke. It was now raining so hard that it was leaking through the umbrellas and the sidewalks, streets, and even stairways were flooded with rushing water. The steps even looked like waterfalls with gushing water rushing down towards us. We headed towards the "Hamilton Mall" in hopes of drying out and waiting the rain out.
On the way mom gave up on her shoes and carried them as we jumped through puddles. The rest of us soon had soaked shoes as we crossed the street in 3 inches of water. The current was so bad now the street had waves and whitecaps. Once as wet as we could get we headed in and tried to dry off. Once giving up on the idea of getting dry we randomly wondered around from floor to floor looking at things and laughing and joking about the day. Other than being wet everyone was having a great day and being a real trooper about the whole thing.
One purse lady got mom to step in her little cubby/shop area and pulled out a LV catalog and was trying to work mom, but mom is smart and played her right back by playing along to see how this expericane went and picked out one. The woman sat us down to make friends with mom as her husband got the bags. Mom and this woman talked about everything; laughing at each others jokes, asking questions about life and acting like life long friends. It was quite a thing to watch really. I still do not understand why this woman kept her bags in the back she had knock off coach and others and the LV they brought out were not good knock offs, they were the wrong color, they were plastic, and well lets just say I have seen better for less. As we waited she mentioned a few prices and mom said she was just looking making the woman only try harder to be her friend and tell her it was "friend deal one day only."
Meanwhile dad and Ryan were trying to talk her down on a computer bag that she said was made in Korea so it was better than a real one. Dad finally gave up just laughed at her price for a fake bag mumbling about how he could just buy a real one for twice her price with a life time guarantee. She then tried to make a deal with Ryan in Korean but still no deal. Sadly for her it was just not her day as she turned back to mom with knock off in hand now and told her to feel it and oh how soft it was only to have dad pop up and say "Hey, Why is it purple?" At this point mom was wondering what a knock off was like and went to look inside to see the lining and had the woman slap it shut and snap at her.
At this point mom was done with her experience and knew what she was looking for and how to go about it all. We told her we had to think and tried to be polite telling her we would come back after we talked about it and did some looking; however the woman said, "No on weekend many cops" and with that mom was now freaked out. I told her we would be going to the KFC on another floor in the mall and would be back. As we walked away she yelled in Korean to all the other bag dealers.
We made our way past a few more shops and then ended up at a jewelry shop where mom got an amethyst, Korean national stone, ring and bracelet. The woman at this store was great at her job, she was so sweet and was very helpful she even let Ryan talk her down about 40,000 Won. Then we got lucky and found a small cubby that was selling table runners and we called it a day with jewelry, a table runner, and even a tie for dad in hand and headed back out into the rain.
The rain had yet to slow and even seemed to have picked up some as we headed towards one last store. We were all laughing as we got soaked through our umbrellas because it was raining so hard. Once inside the shop mom and I were like kids in a candy store all over the place as dad and Ryan hung out in the door way. Sadly to say thought the pickings were slim; however mom did find one she liked. As we continued to look the man decided to mop and was almost shoving us out the door so we gave up and sent Ryan to negotiate and got no where. Ryan and I have had better luck with the wife so we decided to come back on dryer day and do some shopping again.
Deciding to call it a day we made our way to the taxi stand only to find someone had been nice enough to park their moped there and that the stand was pretty much underwater. As we waited many taxis passed, some with people some empty. As we tried to figure out why none were stopping I made my way out into the street thinking maybe they just didn't want to drive into the deep water. After many passed one finally stopped however all the doors were locked and when he rolled down the window you were hit dead on with the smell of pot (highly illegal here, so kind of odd) and as he stared at us through glazed eyes we all passed and went back to the taxi stand.
After a few more minutes we decided to cross the street and see if we would have any better luck. Once there we let Ryan stand in the road and try to flag down a taxi. Sadly he didn't have any more luck and just managed to get splashed by a bus. At this point we made our way towards Burger Kind to come up with a better plan however other than a taxi our options were slim and Ryan didn't seem to like my suggestion of doing a car jacking. So we headed in to asses the situation and the situation was that we were soaked, the roads were flooded, shops were closing, and we looked crazy as we laughed.
As things started looking really shitty the Hilton Shuttle Bus drove by so thinking we missed it we took off running for it only to find out it was stopping anyways. once on I got to hear great comments like:
- Mr. B the Hilton knew one of their "Gold Platinum Special Elite International Members" was in trouble.
- Maybe the Hilton should of sent a boat.
- I think I have trench foot.
- I think we angered the rain gods.
- I don't think I have ever been so wet!
- Well haven't you ever beening swimming.
As we talked and joked more about the day we watched as the bus seemed to drive straight up a hill that was just a constant stream of rushing water 2-3 inches deep. As we went by N. Seoul Tower we could see the steps leading up had just turned into a magnificent water fall.
Back at the Hilton we looked like wet rats as we made our way though the lobby yet again laughing as people looked at us like we had lost our minds. When we got up to the room we all showered and Ryan and I tried to dry out our shoes and cloths. Lucky for Ryan dad packs extra shirts and lucky for me moms feet are just a little bigger than mine and she lent me a warm dry sweater. With mildly damp cloths we all laughed as we wathced Ryan sneak down to the maids cart to grab wash cloths to use as socks in his shoes in hopes of sucking up some of the water.
We made our way up to the exectuive loung for snacks and drinks before dinner. We had a great dinner down at an Italian resturant called Il Pointe and then hugged mom and dad good night and headed back to the hill House. Once back we crashed out early because Wednesday was going to be a long day as we headed to Haeinsa Temple.
After dinner photos:
As far as the week went this was one of my favorite days. I don't think I have ever laughed so much or had a day that was so wet be so great. Having the people I love here in Korea with me and getting to experiance and share things like this is something that I hope to never forget.
On the front page of Wednesday paper:
"Unseasonable deluge ruins Chuseok mood"
-Seoul was drenched with 100 millimeters of rain per hour Tuesday. (100 mm = 3.93700'')
-One person is estimated miss and one fatality.
-The total number of people badly affected by the torrent was estimated at 11,919.
-According to government statistics, the number of damaged houses in the metropolitan regions was estimated at about 14,000.