Today Jackie and I wandered around Hongdae, a district in Seoul is known for Hongik University (the most famous school of Fine Arts and Design in the country), and it’s nightclubs. Hongdae has a Brooklyn-like feel, with intimately tucked away shops, and trees lining the many small side streets. The design is one-of-a-kind, free and artsy, yet intentional, with every detail carefully considered. Our original intent was to go to a place called “Doctor Fish,” which offers a spa-like treatment where fish eat the dead skin off you feet. Some friends of ours had gone and recommended the experience.
With our out-of-date guidebook in hand, we wandered around in search Doctor Fish. It was chilly and rainy, but we were determined to get our feet fishily refreshed. We knew the subway exit that it was near, that it was on the second floor of some building, and it’s name in Korean. There aren’t really street names in Korea, so this information is usually what you have to go off of. Thankfully, a friendly Korean woman saw us looking at a map and took about 30 minutes out of her day to help us find it.
I’ve realized this magic trick if you are lost in Korea (which I often am)…Instead of going up to someone to ask for help, since many people can’t or don’t want to speak English, just stand on a heavily populated street holding a map and looking puzzled. Someone will come up and ask to help with surprising frequency. I’m not sure if this is a result of Korean culture, which dictates hospitality to foreigners, or perhaps many people just want the chance to practice their English. Either way, it’s helped me out on numerous occasions.
The woman eventually discovered via her iPhone that Doctor Fish no longer existed, so we thanked her graciously and parted ways. Perhaps a fish got a little too hungry? Since we were already in Hongdae, we decided to explore the clothing boutiques and cafes, which are numerous, and overwhelmingly adorable. Some shots of Hongdae: