Travelling and other things, but mostly VIXX

April 19 is the date of my final presentation of my final university semester but April 19 not only means freeing myself for good from the shackles of school life, because now it also means a new beginning in more ways than one…….VIXX comeback!!! *sad trombone anti-climactic sound* Sorry, if you were expecting something more profound and philosophical. Feeling just a little overwhelmed here because finally, a comeback! But more importantly, it’s happening as the same time I’ll be in Korea!

It’s just so amazing to me, how of all the times to make their comeback, it happens to coincide with the 4 weeks out of the 52 weeks in a year that I’ll be in Korea. There can’t be any other explanation for it… it’s… it’s fate. My destiny to see them during a promotion cycle. I guess I have no choice but to accept this fate. *proceeds to rewrite entire itinerary and plan it around VIXX’s schedule* Okay fine, I guess I’m only half-kidding…

I’ll be in Korea from April 27 and fly back on May 24, but will be spending the first few days in Busan with my mum. I’m actually really excited to be going back to Busan! I wonder how much it’s changed… It’s still quite unbelievable to me that I spent an entire four months in this beautiful city.

 photo DSC_0133_zpswoprqrwb.jpg
All the huge lilac clusters that stretch out for miles are all cherry blossom trees!
 photo DSC_0021_zps5ebqmgbr.jpg
Igidae Park was torture to climb but holds some of the bluest seas I’ve ever seen

This place will always hold special memories and it’s gonna be that one thing that’ll likely bond Kiat Jiun, Gen and I for a long, long time, even despite not meeting up as often as we’d like to now. Busan will forever be what connects us together, and I love that. Sometimes I’ll see Kiat Jiun in class and we’ll catch up now and then, but most of the time, I have no clue what’s going on with her… which is kinda strange. To think, for a period of time, we spent practically every single day together as both classmates and roommates. We took almost all the same classes, had the same circle of friends and went everywhere together – even travelling to Japan! Life can be so amazing and unpredictable sometimes.

 photo DSC02399_zpsfghjfyzm.jpg
Three Musketeers teehee

But I digress. After my mum leaves, I’ll spend a day and a half by myself (hopefully VIXX has something on or maybe I’ll try and make it for Leo‘s Mata Hari arrival just for fun) before Cindy, Fel, Alex and Mel arrive in Seoul. Squotongs, unite! Buuut if I’m being completely honest, I’m a little wary about travelling together as a group of five because I feel like there’s going to have to be a loooot of compromising.

Because I’ve been to Korea, I’m quite clear about what I want to do or don’t want to do (not that the list is very extensive), especially since I’ll already be doing some of the things with my mum the week before. So I’m afraid I’m gonna end up feeling like the bossy hard-ass that tries to impose her opinions on others (which is kinda a new feeling because on most travel trips, I’m pretty hands-off when it comes to the itinerary). Either that, or because two of them are first-time visitors (and thus willing to try everything) and the other two can be more free with their money, I may end up feeling obligated to spend on food or activities that I would probably prefer to spend elsewhere. Team player and all that. And I’d hate to keep harping on money, so I might just go along with it (as I weep on the inside).

Of course, I’m still really, really excited about spending time together in a place we all love, but I can’t help but worry. Travelling and living together for two weeks is a lot different from occasional outings to the mall and one another’s houses. But now that VIXX has entered the (love) equation (hurhur), I think it does make things a little easier! We can bond over that no matter what, and we’re all keen to try and make it for some schedules while we’re there so that does fill up a chunk of our two-week itinerary. Yep, gonna be lugging all my official Starlight merch there. No doubt about it.

And if anyone’s been counting, yes, that does leave quite a few days where I’m by myself (hashtag HanSeoulo). It’s mostly an opportunity to prove to myself that I can do it. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do during this time but I’ll probably try and go to all the places that I didn’t manage to in the three weeks before that. And if VIXX happens to have a schedule too… well. :-)

Advertisements

Building blocks of Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)

I suck at doing tutorial type of posts because my sense of direction is the worst so I’ll just include some vague directions in this and let the pictures do the talking. Two or three Fridays ago, I finally explored one of Busan‘s most well-known tourist attractions (though admittedly, I haven’t heard of it before I even stepped foot here) and the day didn’t disappoint! To get to Gamcheon Culture Village, we alighted at Toseong station Exit 6 and took Bus 2 which brought us all the way up (here’s some better directions that someone else wrote up).

 photo DSC_0009_zpsb3f022dd.jpg

 photo P4040587_zps2627d085.jpg
At a certain spot, the three sculptures of people coincide with the village scenery so it looks as though they are “becoming one” with Gamcheon

Gamcheon-dong began with very poor living conditions after the Korean War. The area formed with a unique stair format spanning from Oknyeo-bong to Cheonma-san and the housing complexes are built in a way that they don’t block the adjacent housings. Because of this, people often come and reminisce about the past days here since it’s an area where the original traditions of the Korean culture are preserved. The first thing you’d want to do is purchase a map at the tourist information centre for 2000krw before you enter the village and then you can have a full view of the place and see which route you’d like to take. The only reason I bought the map was because there are these stamps you have to collect at certain “stations” and at two of them, we get to collect a postcard of our choice for free!

 photo DSC_0014_zps29dff98b.jpg

 photo DSC_0024_zpsf47b6f15.jpg

 photo DSC_0019_zpsfba32a13.jpg

We explored Gamcheon-dong in a group of 12 and spent a relaxing two hours or so just winding through rather narrow corridors and popping in randomly into empty houses. It was so interesting! A lot of the walls were painted in bright colours and some of the rooms were also completely covered in graffiti (of course we couldn’t help but add to it). Besides the housing complexes, there were many quirky art installations in rooms and on walls that made everything so fascinating to me.

 photo DSC_0051_zps6df3254f.jpg

 photo DSC_0033_zpse99561fe.jpg

 photo DSC_0038_zpsae5a168e.jpg

 photo DSC_0021_zps0426a374.jpg

 photo DSC_0077_zpsaa7ad52b.jpg

 photo DSC_0052_zpsb05bd2c7.jpg

 photo DSC_0044_zps65a91111.jpg
Eternity by Kim Jeong Ju
 photo DSC_0046_zps60f86792.jpg
Tree of Hope by Choi Jang Rak

 photo P4046028_zps7fe92156.jpg

 photo DSC_0062_zps3a497fd4.jpg

 photo DSC_0063_zpsa2bf9811.jpg

We passed by rows of daisies which made me inexplicably happy because I love daisies!!!!!! We also passed by a beautiful cherry blossom tree and while that was a common sight during Spring, this one was particularly luscious. Ying Wei and Leo immediately climbed up and demanded we all take photos – and so we did.

 photo DSC_0064_zps37bcb76f.jpg

 photo DSC_0067_zpsfdca63a0.jpg

 photo DSC_0070_zpsbf6d3399.jpg

Camera 360 Camera 360

GC2

20140404_172205

After spending more than 15 minutes taking every possible kind of photo you can possibly take with a cherry blossom tree, we finally moved on. There was so much to see!

 photo P4040608_zps7de9a6fd.jpg

 photo DSC_0079_zps45348953.jpg

 photo DSC_0116_zpsbb5c69d0.jpg
People, and birds by Jeon Young Jin
 photo DSC_0091_zps6ab96799.jpg
Little Prince and Desert Fox by Na In Ju

 photo DSC_0089_zpsed90098f.jpg

The Little Prince and Dessert Fox above was one of my favourites of the day! Apparently, the two descended from the stars and stopped by Gamcheon-dong and sat on the banisters to look down on the village (yeah, okay…). Naturally, we all took turns to take the middle spot between the two to join them as they wistfully look out into the open. Hah. Later, when we passed by a wall that reminded me of a scene taken right of Anne of Green Gables, of course I urged Chong Xin to pose in front of it and pretended he was walking down the path. …And then the rest of us all took turns being silly and trying to see who can most realistically look like they were actually part of the scene. I don’t know, I think I did a pretty good job…

 photo DSC_0093_zps2e30ad3d.jpg

 photo DSC_0100_zps391450a0.jpg

 photo DSC_0075_zps77079239.jpg

 photo DSC_0111_zps22803deb.jpg
Fish in alleys by Jin Young Seob

 photo P4040657_zps3f263dec.jpg

We ended the day with a noodle dinner where I spent half the time panicking over the sales release of Block B tickets (I managed to procure completely crappy seats thanks to my sucky phone connection) though the night ended on a high when we moved on to this place in the PNU area that I have a love-hate relationship with. The staff is seriously rude and mean for absolutely no reason, but the place serves the Best Drink Ever, which…I will get to in another post ㅋㅋㅋ I’ll also hopefully be able to post up my Jinhae and Jeju entries before I fly off to Japan next Wednesday! Till next time~!

오랜만이네… (also, greetings from Busan!)

It’s been a while! It’s about a month since I’ve arrived in Busan and I can safely say I’m all settled in! I actually have a third of my Seoul post drafted up (I spent about 5-6 days in Seoul before travelling to Busan to begin my exchange semester), but as always, going through and editing pictures is such a chore so sadly, the post may be left sitting there for awhile… Honestly, the only reason I’m even typing up this mini update is because I have an assignment due tomorrow and I’m doing what I do best – procrastinate.

Busan has been lovely, meeting new people has also been nice and the group of exchange students I’ve met are a wonderful, wonderful bunch. We’re all also assigned buddies through this PNU buddy programme and my (and Kiat Jiun’s) buddy Soohye is the loveliest person!!! She’s a year younger but she’s so warm and friendly and just super nice!!! ♥.♥ She’s really helped us a lot and everytime we meet her, we always end up with huge smiles on our faces, I swear. Her English is so great too, even though she’d beg to differ. I’ve also met a few other buddies, mainly Gen’s, because he picked us up when we first arrived in Nopo station and also helped us lug each of our 25kg luggages. He’s also sort of our go-to drinking buddy because istg the guy drinks from Thursday to Saturday and then mugs on Sunday. How do the Koreans do it, I will never know…

I have to admit that I haven’t completely explored every inch of Busan despite being here for a month already. Our hangout is still the busy PNU streets (which are pretty happening!) though I’ve also been to Seomyeon and Nampo-dong to shop. Those two are the main shopping areas in Busan, I’d say, since they have underground shopping malls that sell some really nice clothes at pretty affordable prices. It’s to the point where anything above 20,000krw is considered expensive because you can get a lot of items at way less than that.

 photo 20140329_014206_zps93025d76.jpg
Some highlights from the past month:

  • Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday/Noraebang (노래방)

On March 20, we celebrated Ying Wei’s 22nd birthday in the common room as the clock struck twelve, complete with a yummy chocolate cake that Banks got from Tous les Jours (still don’t know how to pronounce this). The Germans taught us how to sing Happy Birthday in German while we taught them the Chinese version before we all ended with a weird terribly off-key medley of French, Spanish and Cantonese versions. It was so much fun. The whole thing was also awesome because Ying Wei was completely caught by surprise. She’d spent the whole day with Kiat Jiun and I shopping at Seomyeon before we ended the night by casually dropping by the common room where the rest of the gang was “studying”. Apparently, she was touched to the point of tears :’))))) And also, apparently we can’t take a decent group shot where everyone has their eyes open .__.

 photo wei1_zpsc18d5e95.jpg

 photo wei2_zps4b2b6741.jpg

 photo 20140320_144524_zps5d05c82d.jpg

The next day, we went out at night to celebrate her birthday at 천탁 which is this super popular place in the PNU area for drinks and snacks and you usually have to make a reservation beforehand or risk not getting a seat. It was a really big group so it was a little awkward and it wasn’t until half the group left and we hit the noraebang when the night really began. I think this night was one of the funnest nights in Busan so far!!! Naturally, a lot of alcohol was involved (which meant a trip to GS25 to stock up hehehe) and I think we sang from 9pm to around 1.30 in the morning. Crazy. Sanguk (Gen’s buddy) also popped by to surprise Ying Wei with an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING ㅜㅜㅜ

Since PNU has a 1am curfew, if you miss it, you can only return to your dorm at 4am so we ended up shifting the party somewhere else. And by party, we really meant we wanted to find another place to drink at. We ended up in this really nice but pricey place with individual booths and played drinking games until 5 in the morning. We taught Sanguk all the lame but fun ice breaker games that we usually play at orientation camps in Singapore (like the neh-neh and 洗牛奶 game LMAO) and he was so confused half the time. We also played “I never” and now I know more about all these people I’ve only known for a few weeks than I do about people I’ve known for years, it’s insane. Also, I think noraebang is fast becoming our new favourite hang-out because I’ve been at least five times in the last month (but the only way to get me to sing is still to get me high first, thanks).

Camera 360

wei3

Camera 360

wei4

  • Beomeosa Temple

A few weeks back, we visited Beomeosa Temple and it was so pretty and everything was fine until everyone thought it was a great idea to attempt Mt. Geumjeongsan (which is right next to the temple) so just imagine me wobbling along in my boots and maxi skirt as everyone treks up the long windy trail upwards…… :-) We only managed half before we realised it’d be another 2km upwards and that we wouldn’t be able to complete it before sunset so we postponed the hike and decided to come another time to finish it (me NOT included). (Pictures here taken from Facebook and Kiat Jiun’s camera because all I took were selcas ha…..ha…ha…..)

 photo 1947541_10153883651170702_129575203_n_zps4de4de78.jpg

 photo bm1_zps3708b388.jpg

 photo bm2_zps84c1634d.jpg

  • Spring Music Festa at Lotte Hotel

I headed back to Seomyeon two days ago to see my OT7 and now I can officially say I’ve seen all my favourite groups live. So very blessed n_____n It was a three-hour concert with five other acts besides Block B and even though my boys only did seven songs, they performed ‘Romantically’ and ‘빛이 되어줘’ which are my two favourite songs so it was well worth squeezing around with a bunch of frantic high school girls for. And perhaps more importantly, Jaehyo is platinum blonde!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is every bit as awkward and adorable in real life as he is onscreen and I’ve never been more attracted. ♥.♥!!! I spent the whole time with my eyes and camera glued to his every move because I WAS A WOMAN ON A MISSION and now I have a bunch of shaky Jaehyo-focused fancams that I don’t really know what to do with BUT

LOOK

tumblr_n3aj6geQov1shkkn2o1_1280

HOW

tumblr_n3aj6geQov1shkkn2o2_1280

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

tumblr_n3aj5gugs81shkkn2o2_1280

(Picture credits: wittyB | DO NOT EDIT)

  • Igidae Park/Gwangalli Beach (광안리 해수욕장)

Finally, here’s a shot of the main group at the famed Gwangalli beach (sans the two Germans since they were away at Gyeongju that weekend). We went to Igidae Park right before that and it was such a climb but the view was absolutely gorgeous (I mean, just look at the last two pictures!!!). I’m so glad I decided to lug my DSLR out that day! Even though we ended up not being able to catch the sunset at the beach (the sun ended up setting behind a bunch of buildings so we couldn’t see anything from the beach, sigh), it was still relaxing just enjoying the sea breeze and munching on fresh strawberries with good company. (◡‿◡✿)

 photo DSC_0116_zpsc0443e7a.jpg

 photo DSC_0122_zps88056ce5.jpg

 photo DSC_0065_zpsc9300b4d.jpg

 photo DSC_0019_zps061c819b.jpg

Will blog about everything in more detail soon (with a ton more pictures), hopefully! In the meantime, happy 1st of April! It’s springtime over here in Korea and everything is sooooo beautiful that it makes the everyday trek up and down the mountain to and from classes less torturous. Well, just a teensy little bit.

I’ll be heading to Jinhae this coming weekend and Jeju the weekend after to get the most out of spring in Korea and I can’t wait! Till next time~!

WA Diaries: Flying off to Perth

I’ll blog about the Perth trip that I recently came back from in a series of blog entries starting off with the first day and it’s mostly just so all the pictures I took using my DSLR (as well as my iPhone 4) can go somewhere since I’m not much of a travel writer. Our trip was from May 14-21 and our flight was super early in the morning so all I could vaguely recall was eating a plate of 6-dollar wanton noodles at the airport at six in the morning (I wouldn’t recommend it). I also remember forgoing sleep the night before since I knew I could have six hours of uninterrupted sleep on the plane anyway (and I did).

My face with zero sleep and at an ungodly hour of the morning u_u

On the plane right before I fell into a 6-hour slumber orz

I always feel like maaaaybe I might be missing out on something if I slept throughout a plane ride, but the desire to sleep always wins out and once again, all I could remember was waving off the lady who wanted to serve me breakfast just so I could continue sleeping (I woke up starving). I travelled with my parents and my brother and we flew by Singapore Airlines (at about $6XX per ticket if I remember right) and it was a pretty smooth 5-hour plus flight even though none of the inflight movie choices caught my eye.

The view right after stepping out of the airport

We spent the first day in Western Australia in Perth before driving to Margaret River the next morning. We arrived at about two in the afternoon and had to get a cab from the international airport to Bayswater Car Rental to rent the car that we’d be using throughout our eight days there because when you’re in Australia, it’s better to drive from place to place instead of forking out money on public transport, or so I hear. The cab ride came down to about 30AUD for a 20-minute ride and I was so apalled as I monitored the meter. We were at a traffic light and I remember it jumped almost 2AUD during the time the car was stalled there waiting for the light to turn green. *insert money flying away emoji*

Anyway, I just looooove how blue the sky is over there and how you can see so much of it because it’s such a rare sight in Singapore where there’s pollution and skyscrapers everywhere. So I did what any other girl would do (okay maybe not)… I took a ton of selcas. The sky makes everything look so gorgeous (even though of course the subject does help ahem ahem)…

Inspecting the boot space because we needed lots of room to fit all four of our suitcases since we’d be driving from place to place and switching apartments
Me being of absolutely no help while everyone tried to figure out how to work the GPS

Minusing the time taken to travel to our apartment and check in, we weren’t left with a whole lot of daylight hours. The first night, we stayed at a place called City Stay Apartment Hotel which is literally a road across from Harbour Town, a shopping mall consisting mainly of factory outlets and some food places. Our apartment was pretty small but it was cosy and best of all, it had wi-fi!

After arriving and settling in, all we really had time for was a late lunch at Subway and now, our expectations were sky high because my brother had spent a year in Australia studying and came home raving about how it was a thousand times better than the Subway we get here because of the variety. We ended up splitting a chicken parmagiatta foot-long which was… not amazing, but pretty yummy.

I think I actually have a ton of pictures of my parents (but mostly my dad) from this trip because they’re the most willing subjects ever

We wanted to find a supermarket because we’d all agreed that we’d buy groceries so that we could have homecooked meals as far as possible in order to minimise our spending (everything there is so expensive!!!). The receptionist at City Stay had mentioned there was one nearby so after dinner, we got walking… and walking and walking… I swear we walked at least 3km before we finally got to a supermarket that basically had nothing because it was already 5pm by the time we got there (keep in mind that everything pretty much closes by 5.30pm over there).

A very very posed obligatory touristy shot that my dad insisted I took – I think this was the third try

My parents were pretty much always at least 20 paces ahead during the walk… while my brother and I trudged after them reluctantly

What we really needed was bread but they’d run out of it already so all we could do was buy things here and there in order to make up some semblance of a meal – which mainly consisted of some crackers and dip as well as readymade pasta. We also got some yoghurt and cake for breakfast the next morning but worst of all, everything added up to almost 50AUD!!!! …This was obviously gonna take some getting used to.

Our not-so-pretty hastily thrown together dinner

As you can see, the first day in Perth wasn’t particularly eventful since we essentially only had a couple of hours but I have to say that the weather was a much-needed getaway from the scorching Singapore sun. Since it was winter when I arrived, the weather was about 18-20 degrees during the day, which was honestly a little chilly (especially when you’re so used to summer all year round) but still pretty perfect. Till my next entry xx

If you look carefully, you can kinda make out my parents at the traffic light somewhere… in the distance

Holiday update

For those who don’t know, I’ve been in Chiang Mai for the past week, and it really is quite lovely here. The only part of Thailand I’ve been to is Phuket, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s not exactly a shopping paradise (though their Sunday night bazzars at Tapae Gate is huuuge) but I like the atmosphere here and the people are nice despite the language barrier.

Today’s my last day here and while I’ve had a nice time, I do miss home quite a bit (oh what I’d do for stable Internet connection~~). The reason why we came was mainly because my dad wanted to take part in the Chiang Mai marathon and wanted to drag us along by disguising it as a “family holiday trip”. The run was on Sunday morning, and despite my initial overwhelming dread, it turned out surprisingly okay. Let’s hope my one day workout is enough to make up for all the pigging out I’ve been doing. Thai food is both cheap and amazing. I think my brother’s had at least six different variations of Pad Thai from six different locations. Hmm…

***

While I’ve been away, it seems that U-KISS, the idol group that first got me into K-pop, will finally be popping over to our shores in Feb 2013 since their last visit in Nov 2010. …Yes, I’m actually excited enough to dedicate a post to this.

I’ve seen the boys twice now – once in KL last year ((long story short: I cut work and endured a 6-hour coach ride to see them)), and another time earlier this year at the Simply KPOP taping in Seoul. Which was an amazing experience because the members were just all kinds of cute, and really friendly and down-to-earth, and it just made me really glad to be a fan.

But what I don’t like is that because they’ve have been around for so long, they have such a huge body of work that when it comes to performances, they only get to do their title tracks, which is merely a sliver of their entire discography. Which is disappointing for me because they have so many better songs that aren’t part of their promotional cycles. So I’m especially excited to hear that this time, they could be here for a concert, instead of a fanmeet so we’d hopefully get to really see what U-KISS is capable of.

As of now, it seems that the concert will be (1) in February (2) after CNY and (3) during a weekend, so that narrows down the dates to either 16-17 or 23-24. For updates about the concert as well as details that are soon to be released, do keep checking back with @Judyvein from Jig Asia.

***

And finally, though I’m a little behind and it’s already Boxing Day back in Singapore… a huge Merry Christmas to everyone!

Here are some videos to be merry about:

Flower Boy Next Door just released another video teaser, which shows clips from Episode 1, and everything is so cute and fluffy and there’s eye candy everywhere and god, I hope it’ll turn out as good as it looks! The drama will begin airing on January 7 so mark your calendars!!

Also, BtoB, a rookie group that I couldn’t really bring myself to care about when they first debuted in March, have definitely shone a little brighter in my eyes since. I really like their personalities, and I especially love their energy and fanservice on stage.

They’ve had some experience with reality shows, and I’ve watched some clips here and there and the boys are adddoorrraableee~ I’m convinced this is a group you’ll never be able to have a permanent bias because they all have their individual charms. My favourites as of now are Hyunsik, Sungjae and Peniel. But ya know, that’ll probably change as well…

They’re currently filming for SBS MTV’s B+ Diary and here’s one of the clips from Episode 2, where the members are sort of in an… unusual dating show scenario. This made my cheeks hurt from watching because I was grinning so much.

And finally, some holiday greetings from my OT6, and the group who will always be 2012’s Rookie of the Year to me no matter what happens:

+ a bonus Christmas selca from Daehyun

tumblr_inline_mfjeeqR2WD1r2zn28

With love from Chiang Mai,

xx