I stepped out of the courtyard of Gyeongbok Palace just before the sun set in the west of city. In the late afternoon, I stepped more casually towards Gyeongbokgung Station which was only 300 meters from the palace. “After all, my exploration is over,” I thought to calm myself in the midst of air temperature which starting to drop colder.
Inside the station, I was constantly confused between going straight to the inn or going to a destination once more. “This is my last night, should I spend time in the inn?”, I thought to myself, defending myself.
I, who was impatiently waiting for the arrival of Seoul Metro Line 3 in the side of platform, now I prefered to sit down and opened the city map in search of an additional destination to spend the night.
The whoosh of train sounded loud in front bend. I smilingly prepared myself at the queue line to entering carriage. “Yes, I know where to go”, my decision appeared.
Oh, yeah….You know Park Jae-sang, right?
That’s it… a songwriter from South Korea who is better known by his stage name PSY. The main character in the music video for “Gangnam Style” which went worldwide in 2012.
Yes, that time I wanted to visit his birthplace, which was Gangnam District. Gangnam District is a luxurious district in South Korea, home to top millionaires, politicians and artists.
I understood that it was already dark outside, even though the bright light was shrouding Seoul Metro carriages creeping down Seoul underground lines. The Gangnam district was still ten kilometers away when I a moment ago sat at the end of carriage.
One by one stations were combed quickly and led me to get off at Seoul National University of Education Station. From that station I changed to Seoul Metro Line 2 to Gangnam Station.
In this Seoul Metro Line 2 carriage, I met five tourists from California who had just landed from Tokyo that afternoon. Even that five tourists had already explored Taipei before reaching Tokyo.
Their story, which was almost similar to my journey before reaching Seoul, also through Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Tokyo and Osaka (Japan) and Busan (South Korea) made our introductions and conversations were very familiar.
I only remember a name among them so far which was Brendan. Brendan does tend to be more outgoing and appeares to be the spokesperson for their travel group. What was clear that Brendan was a person who didn’t like alcohol, I could tell from his words that he didn’t want to touch Soju when his other friends actually enjoyed it since arriving in Seoul.
I arrived at Gangnam Station within 10 minutes of changing to other Seoul Metro line. Tracing the long corridor within Gangnam Station, led me to exit to the ground level right at the edge of Gangnam-daero Avenue which was decorated with a large name box “Gangnam Square” and the stage “Gangnam Style Horse Dance” which was very crowded with tourists.
From that big intersection I began to enter alley after alley in Gangnam to explore the district’s nightlife. The bustle of alleys in Gangnam District made me feel safe even though in front of my steps there were two men and a woman walking arm-in-arm because they were heavily drunk while raving uncontrollably. The show only made the streets busier with laughter because the trio’s behavior was very funny.
While on the left and right of alley, local residents mingled with the newcomers to enjoy the atmosphere of bars with faint smell of alcohol wafting from sidewalk. Apart from that, some of them prefered to make atmosphere more relaxed by enjoying restaurant dishes while conversing to spend the atmosphere of night starting to get icy cold.
My last night in Seoul was satisfied when I crossed alleys of Gangnam from end to end. But it was time that finally limited my visit, it was almost eleven o’clock at night. I decided to immediately return to Gangnam Station and return to Kimchee Guesthouse Sinchon.
I have to prepare myself to return to my homeland tomorrow morning.