Thursday, September 1, 2016

Raccoon Cafe (Blind Alley Cafe)

The most surprising cafe was definitely the raccoon cafe, located near another women's university. In the States, raccoons are seen more as a wild animal that is not easily domesticated. There is also the probability of it having rabies. So finding out that the cafe owners took in raccoons and made it a business was very surprising. The raccoon in that particular cafe is blind, you can find out more about his story inside the cafe. Like other cafes, the only entrance fee is your order of food/drinks. Once you place your order at the counter, you are free to enter the room with the raccoons. You are cautioned not to bring anything inside with you incase the raccoon damages it, but overall, we didn't have a problem with bringing our phones in to take pictures. You might even get the chance to feel the raccoon! Unlike the dog and cat cafes, the raccoons are less interactive aside from feeding.

Pigs Feet (Jokbal)

Jokbal, or pigs' feet, is a popular late night snack in Korea. It is well known for containing a lot of collagen, which is good for the skin. However, it can come off as very greasy. I ordered jokbal takeout from a restaurant in Hongdae called Myth Jokbal that always seemed to have really long wait times. This restaurant can be found by turning in towards the street performance street of Hongdae, by the tourist info center. If you keep walking down on the left side of the street, it is the restaurant with a pig next to the name of the restaurant.

Their jokbal was very filling, I liked how it came with sides to make lettuce wraps, along with a platter of salad. You could tell that it was well made because the pigs skin itself was packed with flavor. The broth it was boiled in for hours was fully incorporated into the layers of the pigs feet. Personally, I prefer a higher meat to fat/collagen ratio, so it was too greasy for me, but making wraps with the lettuce and pickled sliced radish helped cut through the heaviness of the meat.

Sheep Cafes

As mentioned in an earlier post, Korea is filled with many unusual themed cafes. Another one we visited was called Thanks Nature Cafe, also known as the sheep cafe. It is located on the main street of Hongdae, near the Honggik University entrance. Take the train to Honggik University (Line 2), and get out at exit 9. Then walk straight until you reach the McDonalds and turn left. Continue to walk down until you reach the block with restaurants on multiple levels. The cafe is located downstairs on that block. You are welcome to take pictures of the sheep from outside of the pen, but do step inside and order food/drinks. I ordered one of the hot floral teas, which was served in a pretty transparent tea pot. It was fascinating watching the flower "bloom" inside the teapot as the tea was steeped. There are also waffles, and cold fruit ades that you can order. Once you order at the counter, and pick up your order, you are free to enter the sheep area again and if you're lucky, you might be able to feed the sheep as well.

Address: 486 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Thanks Nature Cafe

Cafe's Website: Thanks Nature Cafe Facebook Page

Lotte World

Lotte World, along with Everland, are the most popular amusement parks to visit in Korea. Lotte World is a more kid-friendly spot with lots of interactive attractions, and a few thrilling rides whereas Everland is a bigger amusement park with many more rides, including the intimidating wooden rollercoaster. Unfortunately, I only had the chance to visit Lotte World again since it was much closer than Everland. It is located at Jamsil Station (Line 2).

There are 2 sections of the part, the indoor section and the outdoor section. Some of my favorite rides indoors include the Pharaoh and the mini water ride. A popular ride is the Conquistador, commonly referred to as the biking, which is a boat that constantly  swings back and forth, nearly reaching 90 degrees. Personally, I dislike this ride, especially when it drops forward. Others include a hot air balloon, a 360 degrees roller coaster, a haunted house, a carousel, 4D stimulations, etc.

The rides outdoors include the Gyro Swing, bumper cars, and my favorite, the Atlantis. The Atlantis is the biggest rollercoaster they offer at Lotte World, but is definitely worth waiting on the long line.

Dog Cafes

Themed cafes are trendy in Korea, especially dog and cat cafes. This particular dog cafe is located Hongdae, several blocks from the Honggik Station (Line 2). Bauhouse is separated into 2 parts, sectioned off by gates. The first section is where a majority of the smaller dogs are, and then the back section is much bigger, where the larger dogs are. There is no additional entrance fee--you simply order a drink and you are free to stay for a short period of time. You can also purchase treats, but do beware of all the dogs swarming over to you once they hear or see the plastic bag of snacks in your hand.

Moving into the Dorms

There are multiple forms of transportation to get to the dorms. The first is to take an airport train from the airport to Hongdae Station and then transfer to Line 2 (Green Line) and get off at Sinchon Station (1 stop--Euljiro 1-ga bound train). Another is to take the Airport Limo (a bus) to the Ewha University area. Finally, you can tell the taxi driver to bring you to the East Gate of Yonsei University, which will most likely drop you off at the back side of the dormitory.

The check-in procedure is surprisingly easier than I expected: you find your name on the list posted on the pillars in the lobby, along with the room number you are assigned to. Then, line up and pick up your room key and an info packet before heading upstairs to your room. The key card is used to enter and exit the dorm and also to get into your actual room. Using the booklet, check the condition of your room and bring the signed paper back downstairs and pick up a bag of bedding. 

**Tip: Try to grab a bag with a normal pillow. Many of the bags have pillows stuffed with strange plastic bits, which can be quite off-putting and uncomfortable if you aren't used to it. 

Each room is equipped with basic furniture--a bed, desk, closet, and chair. Most likely the closet will not have any hangers, but don't worry because there is a one stop store where you can buy all your necessary dorm supplies. Daiso, is the well-known dollar store chain in Korea (also found in Japan) and has hangers, toilet paper, pillows, bath supplies, etc., offered at an affordable price (anywhere from 500 won to possibly 3,000 won).