Can you tell that I’ve been supremely dragging my feet with these posts? I know it’s annoying to everyone else that I have approx. 87 posts about a 10-day trip and that we’ve been home for over two months and I still haven’t closed the book on it, but you have to remember that I’m the girl who can stretch Warped Tour into 6 blog posts plus a gratuitous Henry Interview Extravaganza.
And I’m not even sponsored!
So on that note, here is what we did for the rest of our final full day in Seoul, holy shit I didn’t expect to start crying as I typed that, yet here we are.
For the last night, we finally gave in to Chooch’s desire for SUPER KOREAN FUN TIMES, which involved pizza (specifically, “gold” pizza, more on that in a bit) and noraebang, which is Korean karaoke (literally translates to ‘song room’). Let’s be real, you can’t go to South Korea and not partake in some noraebang because it is a super popular pastime of native Koreans. There are noraebangs everywhere, on nearly every street, in alleys, in every neighborhood and district.
But first he had to suffer through last minute souvenir shopping in Insadong, haha. What every 12-year-old boy wants!
This was when Henry abandoned us in Insadong because he wanted to exchange more money and Chooch somehow inherited two balloons from some people promoting the Alive Museum and then some older Korean man came over and tried to pretend-steal one from Chooch and even with a language barrier, we all managed to have a great big international laugh and these are the heart-warming things that happens when Henry abandons us.
The plan after Insadong was to walk back to the hotel, where Henry would meet us later with pizza procured from a place that Chooch had zeroed in on the day before when we were walking to the palaces. We figured we’d just eat in our room and then set off to Myeongdong for noraebang.
But then Henry came back and was like, “DON’T GET TOO EXCITED” because the pizza was just REGULAR, not GOLD. Apparently, the menu that Chooch saw was for a pizza place that was there previously and now this new one had a different menu which was all in Hangeul and hey you guys, I spent many months leading up to this trip trying to get Henry to learn how to at least read it and he was all, “I DON’T NEED NO HANGEUL.”
Yeah, until you do!
Anyway, Henry felt obligated to buy a pizza from this joint because he had already frustrated the guy working there enough I guess, and it was great pizza, you guys! It really was. But it was extremely similar to American pizza and it was not want we wanted. We wanted that Korean flair.
So we decided to venture on out to the Cheonggyecheon Stream where we saw a place called Mr. Pizza on our second night in Seoul.
But first! We got no further than across the street from the hotel before I realized I left my subway card in the room so Henry obediently went back inside to get it. For some reason, like we need a reason, Chooch and I were nearly peeing our pants in anticipation of seeing our hotel room light turn on, I don’t know why this was such a crucial comedic moment for us, but then it never happened because Henry was all, “I didn’t need to turn it on.” Whatever. At least Chooch nabbed this frameable picture of Henry on his way back to us:
I can only imagine what Chooch and I looked like to passers by, as our raucous laughter caused us to fall into each other like drunks.
This reminds me that I never talked about (lol, like this is a talk show) how we accidentally got lost from Henry the night before on our way to Hongdae. We were walking to one of the Jongno subway stations when Chooch and I stopped to look at jewelry in a store window. I thought dumb Henry knew we stopped but he kept walking and by the time we looked up from the window, WE WERE ABANDONED.
This was like the theme of Korea now that I think about it.
Anyway, we were mildly panicked because there were two subway stations near us and weren’t sure which one he was going to, so we chose the closest one and waited.
And eventually, this happened:
He didn’t realize we weren’t with him anymore until he turned around to hand us our subway cards.
“You couldn’t tell that you didn’t hear us laughing anymore?” I asked.
“No, because I block that out,” Henry mumbled.
Random alley picture because I don’t even want to forget those narrow Korean alleys that pop off once the sun sets.
When we got to Cheongyecheon, we were excited to see that another night market was going on! It was so tempting to just pig out on all the food vendors there, but we had a fucking pizza to scratch off the Korea bucket list, goddammit. To Mr. Pizza!
Gold pizza level achieved!
So, one notorious thing about Korean pizza is that “gold crust” means that it’s made with sweet potato — I fucking love sweet potato but nothing is better than Korean sweet potato, my friends. It’s like candy. Also, corn! Somehow, corn is as synonymous with pizza in Korea as pepperoni is here.
I just asked Chooch what his Mr. Pizza review is and his eyes got all bugged out. “Yum,” he said, with a very ‘duh’ inflection.
But yeah, so worth it and I’m glad we didn’t settle on the other normal pizza!
I just also asked Henry if he liked Mr. Pizza and he said, “Yeah!” with an actual modicum of enthusiasm because he’s trying to keep me from leaving him so he’s suddenly Boyfriend of the Year.
Also, I was excited because I got to push the button on the table to get the waitress to come and bring us a box! I always wanted to push the button!!!
Afterward, we took the subway to Myeongdong. I chose Myeongdong for our final night because that area rules and we hadn’t experienced it at night before then.
“Are you sure there are noraebangs here?” Henry asked, and I was like, “Uh yeah, le duh” because where aren’t there noraebangs, is the real question. Funny though how as soon as you’re looking for one, they’re suddenly gone, like those little trolls from Labyrinth were flipping over the signs before we walked past. Also, I did notice that most of these places don’t have any English on the signs, so unless it’s a really big, touristy noraebang with big windows in the front to let you see in, you might walk past 59 of them without ever knowing. So if you’re planning to go to Korea and want to sing your face blue in one of these joints, look for this word: 노래방
We eventually found one (not like we were bored looking for one though; Myeongdong is so freaking vibrant and upbeat at night, even on a Sunday!) called Sing Sing. When we walked in, Henry was like, “OH” because it reeked like a dive bar and was pretty dark and creepy, but I loved the atmosphere! It felt more authentic than the shiny, bright ones in Gangnam and Hongdae. This one felt like a place where locals would hang out, and we were definitely not the only ones there.
Henry paid the nice boy approximately 20,000 won for an hour and he lead us into our own private room, gave us a brief tutorial on how to work the remote, and then let us have our privacy to hold faux Produce 101 auditions.
Chooch’s first song was a goddamn Maroon 5 song and we were like, “Oh.” Then he sang something else that was dumb too, while I flipped through the book to find him something cool to sing.
Guys, the rooms even come with tambourines.
I had no intentions of doing any singing because I’m just not into that. And that’s when I saw it.
“Even the Night’s Are Better” by Air Supply.
Air Supply, you guys.
“Henry, you’re singing this with me,” I ordered, tossing him a mic and punching in the number.
“Wha—?” he stuttered, and then the song started and he was like, “Are you kidding.”
I immediately launched into my famous brand of shriek-singing on top of a bed of throaty giggles, while Henry mumbled along, and Chooch stared at me with the most appalled and disgusted look on his face.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?” he cried when the song ended.
“God, I forgot how great I sing!” I said, and Henry was just like, “No.” I think it brought back his PTSD from all the Saturday nights we spent at McCoy’s on karaoke night. I think my crowning moment was the time I sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and called for audience participation. The weathered broad who ran karaoke there, DJ Danger (lol), haaaaated me with such a passion and actually got to the point where she would make executive decisions and veto my song choices.
WELL THEN DON’T PUT THEM IN YOUR SONG BOOK, BITCH.
Anyway, back to noraebang, we also sang SHATTERED DREAMS and Chooch was like WHAT IS HAPPENING AM I HALLUCINATING, OR….
“Ugh, I wish they had Skater Boi!” Chooch groaned, flipping through the book 7800 times. I knew they had it because I saw it but I lied and said they totally 100% did not have that song or any other Avril Lavigne songs because she has a lawsuit out against noraebangs, but then I felt bad and said FINE HERE IT IS, SING YOUR DUMB HEART OUT.
But the grand finale was Chooch and me dueting with….
CAN YOU GUESS?!?!
CALL ME MAYBE.
Oh good lord, we were so sweaty by the time our hour was up, and our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, and my throat hurt from going ham on Air Supply, and it was just the perfect way to end our time in Korea. I especially loved how we could hear people singing in other rooms every time we paused to find our next song.
It was so good! Don’t skip out on noraebang if you’re in Korea! DON’T!!
Here I am in the noraebang bathroom!
Here’s Chooch under the noraebang sign!
We capped off the night with ice cream from Milky Bee.
My hand looks so weird here. Henry’s pose, tho.
On our walk back to the hotel from the Jongno subway station, we stopped at a snack shop and I stocked up on some Korean candies for my International Candy Pumpkin at work and had to snap this picture because I’ve had some these corn sticks in there before and at first my work friends were skeptical but then grew to love them.
OK, maybe “love” is a stretch, but they ate them. There were so many different varieties in Korea! Back at the hotel. Chooch and I collapsed and Henry did all the packing while muttering things like, “Just lay there, assholes. Sure, I’ll do everything. Don’t help me.”
I don’t even know how to end this. This was so much more than just a vacation, though. It was a dream come true and a really amazing thing to experience with my little family unit. But, all good things, am I right? We’re hoping to go back again next summer, because there are other cities we want to explore in addition to Seoul and Busan, and plus there was so much in Seoul alone that we weren’t able to get to.
So, if you read all of these or followed along with us on Instragram, thank you! You’re the real MVP!
“OMG I don’t want to hit ‘publish’ on this because once I do, it’s done. It’s over. It’s really over,” I just wailed to Henry. “UNLESS YOU WRITE YOUR OWN RECAP!!!!”
And do you know what he said?
THAT MEANS YES!