Thursday, June 16, 2011

[SEOUL] Wish Upon a Tower

There is an island in the middle of the Han River dubbed as Korea’s Wall Street and is said to be one of the most affluent districts in Seoul. There you'll find the offices of  TV giants MBC and KBS. There is also a tower that goes by the alias “63 Building” which houses the highest art gallery in the world. I went there for that tower, and I got lost in that island.

Looking at a map of Seoul you'll see how small Yeouido seems to be. Don’t be fooled. Two stations of the Seoul Metro Line can be found here: Yeouido & Yeouinaru. All I could remember was that after my Jung-gu excursion I decided to hop on the Metro and go there to see this building that according to many had been popularized by that Korean Drama My Geol, which is a personal favorite. I couldn’t recall having seen that building in the series given that it’s been years since I’ve last seen it, but still it piqued my curiosity so why not visit, right?

All I could see were buildings when I got out from the underground. If this building is as tall as they claim it to be then it should dwarf the others around it! But I couldn’t see such a tall building anywhere. Most of those in sight were almost of the same height. So I walked. Maybe due to its popularity as a landmark you'll see road signs bearing its name and an arrow pointing to its direction? I saw a park with a futuristic looking bridge. I went there to rest.

The name of the park is Hangang and it is located along the banks of the Han River. I believe it surrounds the whole island in that you could tour its entirety and find yourself at the same spot after who knows how many hours. I didn't test that theory, but I love the bridge because it looks so modern, and you can  bring your bike up there because they have a special gutter to guide your bike as you climb the steps. It was all wandering around the city after that side trip.

The 63 Building is actually the headquarters of Korea Life Insurance. “63” refers to the 60 floors of the building above ground plus another three at the basement. On the 59th floor is an art gallery that doubles as an observation deck. People don’t really go there for art’s sake. They come for the view, which is awesome. Bring a 500-won coin with you to use the binoculars they have up there. Are those even called “binoculars”? Whatever. Anyway, the view is nice and they also have info about the scenery on various stands around the floor. The elevator trip takes more than a minute and at night it is said that there are special elevators meant for couples to enjoy an exclusive one-minute ride. Wonderful view of Seoul as you go up!

There is a “wishing wall” next to the cafeteria where you can post a wish and it would come true, at least according to them. Well they better get ready to shed a few million won for me because my wish doesn’t come cheap. Hahaha. I wrote it in Tagalog, and for that I fear that they might remove it because they might think I wrote something vulgar. Most of the wishes there are written in Hangul but I saw one in Russian, which gave me more reason to write mine in Tagalog, haha. Anyway if you see a Tagalog wish there stating a desire to study Korean at SNU for three weeks (but one year would be better), that wish is mine. My online handle is there anyway so it will be pretty obvious. No, my dears, wishes don’t come for free. You have to pay 3,000 won for the orange star. It does come with a Hershey’s Bar though. Your sweet tooth be damned in the name of one wish.

It took me half an hour wandering around that island to find a way back to the guest house. At last I found the other subway station after passing by the MBC office. I don’t know a lot of Korean stars so I am not sure if I saw one, although even the security guard did look like a TV personality. Someone needs to review his Korean Pop Culture, hehehe.

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