Jordan and I on the bus

So, the week went by without any hitches.  Towards the end of the week, Nina, Jordan, Jonah, and I realized we'd spent every evening together and were also planning on a trip to Daegu over the weekend.  I think it's safe to say, we've all become good friends LOL. 

We celebrated Jordan's birthday in style with lots of drinking on his Korean birth day, a cake from the Paris Baguette, and another round of dinner and beverages on his American birth day :P.  Besides that, we enjoyed a dinner prepared by Nina and another by me later on in the week. 

Saturday we all climbed aboard the bus from Yecheon to Daegu and hit the road.  The plan was to:

  1. Go shopping for clothes (I need shirts!!!)
  2. Go to a kitty cafe (Nina was jonesing for some furry affection)
  3. Meet up with Chang Wan, as well as Jason and his wife Anissa for dinner in Banwoldang
  4. Go to a Jjimjilbang and have a Korean sauna experience
  5. Go to the hookah bar
  6. Go to Organ (bar that plays amazing Indie music)

Anything else we could do on top of that would be icing on the cake!

Once we arrived in Daegu it had already started to rain.  Why is it that I don't realize there's a typhoon coming until it's practically running me over?  Anyway, we only had one umbrella and we were too stubborn to fork out $2 for a cheap one LOL. 

Korean girls going gaga over kitties...

We went to the kitty cafe near cell phone street.  There, Chang Wan met up with us and we got to experience this cultural phenomenon where people sit at cafe tables and allow cats (some the size of medium dogs!) to roam freely about the place.  The cost of admission is a beverage.

Chang Wan petting the cat that was as long as two chairs

After we finished we met up with Jason and Anissa and made our way to an excellent Indian restaurant.  The dishes were approximately $9 each and included free refills of the course!  Insanity, I tell you :P.  Once we'd had our fill we hit the streets to do some shopping.  I must admit it was frustrating as hell, because I'm with an entourage of people and it's sprinkling and most of the clothes are not made for a curvy body :(.  So, we found our way to Organ.

There we said goodbye to Chang Wan (who had to go to work), Jason, and Anissa.  After searching through endess websites in Korean, I located the famous Flower Field Hookah bar, which turned out to be located around the corner on the same block.  Yay! 

The bar was awesome!  Such an amazing ambience and the music was entrancing.  Nina and Jordan enjoyed their Mango shishi (I had a couple puffs and it was good!) and we ordered an awesome cheese plate with salad to nosh on.  Eventually we were joined by Jonah and a friend of his from Ireland (who is also teaching English in elementary school). 

After we packed up and headed back out onto the streets, we attempted to find Chang Wan's work place.  The task proved to be more difficult than I expected, as I did my best to get a taxi to take us there.  But with the rain and the increasing frustration felt by everyone (including the taxi drivers having to navigate the horrible roads... We even witnessed a taxi accident directly across the street from where we were trying to hail a cab), we decided to just head to the JJimjilbang.  Thankfully the taxi had no problem understanding where we wanted to go LOL.

황소 25시구들방사우나
대구 달서구 이곡동1244
Daegu, Dalseo Gu, Igok Dong 1244
Open 24/7


The sauna at the Jjimjilbang

A Jjimjilbang is basically a Korean sauna, but on steroids.  When you arrive you pay $8 and they hand you a shirt and a pair of shorts.  You then go to the men/women's section and enter a room where you must lock your shoes up.  Using that same key you go to the next area where you find the same locker number and change into the standard clothes (or not... if you prefer to run around naked).  That area is a communal dressing area, where wooden platforms are in the central section and women relax and watch tv while doing their hair and various grooming activities. 

Through large glass doors is the sauna area.  Here there are various sections such as standing AND sitting showers, three large hot tubs (at varying temperatures), a dry sauna and a wet sauna (which I LOVED), a huge pool with cool water and then a section where you pay for basic spa treatments.  Nina and I decided to have the spa treatment, which was $18,  The women that do this are available 24 hours a day and work their butts off! 

Using large plastic bowls, they throw warm water on the massage tables and then instruct you to lay down on your stomach (we're naked, obviously LOL).  With abrasive exfoliating mitts and an oily soap they vigorously rub down your body, starting from your toes and working their way to your fingertips and then back down again.  Occasionally they will splash more warm water on you, to remove any dead skin cells and keep you warm, I suppose.  Once they have finished the back side, you flip over and they place a hot damp towel over your face and then move it to your chest.  They then take two fresh cucumbers and shred them (right there) mix them with milk and apply it to your face.  Once this is done they begin to rub down your front. 

Again, toes to finger tips... thorough and concentrating on areas that may not be scrubbed much or are more prone to callousing (like knees and elbows).  Then the sides.... more scrubbing and more scrubbing.  It feels amazing!  But, those with sensitive skin may not enjoy it.  Personally, I could have fallen asleep, but wanted to keep track of the process LOL. 

After the scrubbing came baby oil.  The woman takes a big handful and lathers it on your body, rubbing it all over and then kneads your muscles along your legs, back and neck.  She pounds and pushes for 5 minutes or so and then has you lay on your back, where she removes the cucumbers and then coats your face and upper body with an oatmeal milk bath. 

That's it!  :)  45 minutes later and your skin feels deliciously smooth and alive. 

Once Nina and I cleaned off we made our way down to the Jjimjilbang section.  This is where everyone gathers in a large room and goes to sleep.  There are several side rooms where you can use computers, sleep in saunas in a variety of temperatures, eat at the 24 hour cafe, or just get some snacks at the snack station.  One thing you MUST do is eat eggs.  Granted, I am the only one that did this, but in Korean jjimjilbang culture it is customary to get the black eggs (which are hard boiled eggs that are cooked IN the sauna.  The white turns a caramel color and there's an aromatic quality to them, which reminds me of barley.  Yum-my!!!!!!  ^^

All of my friends made pallets on the floor and went to bed amidst a hundred or so other patrons (ages between elementary and all the way to 60's?... mostly younger, though).  I couldn't go to sleep, so I went back upstairs and drew another sketch of one of my students.  Eventually I went to bed around 5. 

In the jjimjilbang section... where everyone sleeps.

The next morning we got up and hit the cafe, where we ate ramyun with egg and various sides.  Mmmm... then it was back to downtown.  Eventually we found a department store where I located clothes that fit and looked good on me.  It's a new Korean label called Heritory and is NOT cheap, however it looks awesome and perfectly suits me.  When I receive my next pay check I will definitely be buying a few more outfits. 

Yes, that's a Bellamy Brothers t-shirt...  LOL!

We continued to walk around th Bandwoldang area (still raining,folks) and then concluded our journey around 2:30 via taxi to the bus station.  It was a quiet ride back as we all passed out in the bus LOL.  No shenanigans and everyone went home to recover for school.  Then, lo and behold, school is cancelled for Typhoon Sanba (wll, cancelled for the students hahaha). 

So, here I am... writing my blog on a rainy, insanely windy Monday and bored out of my mind!  Oh well... that's called being an adult, right??!?!!  :D