May was a month for spending time with friends, hiking and drinking. I may have spent more time doing some activities than others.
I hiked Mt Bukhansan with some great girlfriends. This is the same mountain I hiked back in August 2014, so won’t add any photos of the scenery. I don’t really do exercise willingly, but I do like to spend quality time with quality people, so I had a great time conquering the mountain with these lovely ladies!
It was also in May that I was first introduced to the ‘Self Bar’ concept in Korea. Basically there is a row of fridges on the side of the room, you pick which ones you want, then you bring the empty bottles up to the counter at the end and pay for them. I love this honesty system, and they had a huge variety of beers, ciders and alcopops (like Smirnoff Ice, etc). The one we usually went to was called B-Turn, which I believe is a chain, as I saw another branch in Jeju (in July 2015) – however I didn’t go to it as I was solo travelling at the time. Great fun on a Thursday night…. wait? Don’t I work on Fridays? Damn it!
This was of course, only the warm up to the Seoul Gone Wild (look it up on fb if interested) Pub Crawl. This is the last photo appropriate for public viewing that was taken that night.
You see what I mean…
A couple of friends and I also went to the Seoul Lantern Festival, but all the lanterns created a weird light, so my photos didn’t really come out that well.
Jess and I hiked up to Namsan Tower. I decided we should walk up the hill to get to the tower – terrible decision, it’s a mission and a half. Then we rode the lift up to the top (you can get popcorn and drinks, just like going to the movies!), and we were able to see Seoul at night. I 100% recommend Namsan Tower. Try to give yourself lots of time, and it’s almost like going to Paris… a tall tower and lots of street artists. Benefits include no pick-pockets and no beggars. This was taken with my phone through a somewhat dirty window, the real view is spectacular.
Finally, I can’t finish off May without mentioning the MERS scare that swept across Korea while I was there. As is usual with these scares, in a developed, advanced country such as Korea, there is almost no chance of an infection like this getting out of control. MERS came to Korea in May 2015 via a Korean business man who had just been to the Middle East (where Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome comes from). It was eradicated in Korea in July 2015. There were supposedly 186 sick people and it claimed the lives of 36 people. People in my area near Seoul got the disease. People were very scared. Hundreds of schools closed. While we knew that the disease targeted the old and sick, it was still hard to keep calm when it was on everyone’s mind and lips. We decided to get some masks to wear in the subway.