Saturday, 14 June 2014

"Is that man pooping?" | Seoul's Trick Eye Museum

In the name of the moon... and cutting off your ear for love~!

So, quite a while ago now, f(x)'s Amber posted a series of photos to her instagram from the Trick Eye Museum in Hongdae, Seoul. When we found out we would be meeting up with some lovely Korvia recruits in Hongdae, we took the opportunity to head off to the museum first.

Being completely unaccustomed to Korea's odd street labelling system (or lack thereof), combined with the fact we didn't have our usual option of Google Maps to fall back on (all hail the Googly Overlords), it took us quite a long time to find. The museum itself is in a basement, so the entrance at surface level is only really big enough for a staircase. I think we wandered all over the place in completely the wrong direction before finding it pretty much right where we started. Sigh.

The Trick Eye Museum is basically a theme park based around optical illusions. Two of my favourite things, then. The walls are covered with various perspective paintings that only really work from a certain angle, and to make the most of this, they're usually pretty ridiculous.

When we got it, we realised we'd totally forgotten to consider there'd be an entry fee (I think about 10-15,000 each, and found out we hadn't brought enough money. Booo~

Thankfully, they've got a few examples of the treasures within in the lobby area! There's a cafe and also the entrance to an Ice Museum (which, reality meeting expectation, seemed to be playing the Frozen soundtrack) and a couple of photo "studios" down there too, so really it's not a bad place to pop into even if you can't go into the museum itself.

The inspiration for the rather creepy title. Yeah, I think that's a little fake poo under the naked squatting man.

Butt chairs. Endless hilarity.
Anyway, there's only so much you can do with a handful of displays and a busy exhibition, (Did I mention there's a little Etude House boutique down there? WHY DO THEY TAUNT ME) so we thought we'd leave it for another day.

We'd arranged to meet the lovely Erin et al at Sangsu subway station, and glory be to Facebook and the miracle of modern technology, I spotted some familiar faces. Panic averted. (I'd stupidly forgotten to take note of any phone numbers that might have been useful)

We ended up going to a Korean Barbecue place, which was great, especially considering we'd been too scared to go to the one across the road from our officetel, just because those strange extractor vents and the pan of hot coals all looked far too space-age and complicated to comprehend.

Apologies for dark photos. I blame the makgeolli~
But yeah, so there was no need to worry at all, really. You order your selection of raw meat, then a lovely man with a pan full of burning hot coals (held in, I think, nothing but a pair of tongs. Eek.) appears and puts it into a well in your table, pulls down the strange metal funnel, and then it's all up to you. Ready, steady, cook.

There was SO much food, even for 6 people, and it all tasted great and cooked quickly. Despite this, our next plan of action was to be shown around some choice parts of Hongdae with some soju.

Soju, for the uninformed, is pretty much South Korea's national drink. Some places call it wine, some call it vodka. I think it's basically moonshine. I was told it's like vodka, but terrible, but after trying some neat I can say that it's nowhere near as paint-strippery as the rubbish we used to get fo£9 in Asda. And I'm pretty sure this is cheaper. For the most part, we drank it with "cider" (confusingly, cider here is basically 7-Up at home) and it was very enjoyable.

Despite our huge meal, we went and bought what was described to me as an "ice cream waffle taco". It's pretty much, a fresh round waffle, folded in half and filled with various scoops of ice cream. It's enormous. It's delicious. It's about 50p. I think I was also told that it's not actually ice cream, but flavoured frozen butter? Who knows.

We watched a dance troupe get their groove on to various k-pop staples (read: EXO) while we ate and drank and half-listened to what I can only assume was a rap battle. In general, the area reminds me a lot of Camden and the Trocadero area in London, very chilled out and fun.

Here's a soju-photo of the dancers.

Forget cat and puppy cafes (which we saw a few of), we found a sheep cafe. I was unable to take a photo but my nose and I assure you that there was definitely a live sheep wandering around in a pen outside a cafe filled with sheep toys.

Anyway, we went to a little bakery called...Chocoyum or chocolate yum... something to do with chocolate and yum. Appropriately, a lot of the food in there was both chocolatey AND yummy. Score.

We hung out in a comfy bar for a while, watching music videos on a huge projector. It had the feel of a dive bar without the terrifying vibes I usually get preying on my delicate sensibilities. Anyway, there was a request book and lots of good air-guitar songs, before we were kindly herded on to our train home.

blogger template by lovebird