This past weekend was good for a few reasons. First of all, last night I officially booked my flight to Thailand for my winter break. Four other girls and I will be headed to Southeast Asia for 12 days at the end of February. We will be hitting a bunch of hot spots in Thailand as well as spending day trips in Cambodia and Laos. After the cold weather that swept through Seoul this weekend, I am more than ready to head to where the weather is warm and soak up some tropical sun.
Today I went to see the Korean National Ballet perform Swan Lake at the Seoul Arts Center’s Opera House. Perfection would be an understatement. The entire ballet was performed flawlessly but seemingly effortless. Apparently, Swan Lake is Korea’s favorite ballet, so it was a great first Korean ballet for me to see. They used Grigorovich’s version, which includes incredible and almost impossible turning combinations, which the dancers handled to perfection. The opera house was beautiful and for the $10 I paid for the tickets the seats weren’t bad although a pair of binoculars would have been nice. I can’t wait for my next ballet. Can you guess which one that will be?
After the ballet performance, my Korean friend wanted to take me to an authentic fish market to taste some raw fish. This was one of those “Wow, I’m definitely not in America anymore” moments. We went to the Noryangjin fish market, which is definitely not a hot spot for foreigners. This was the real deal. The market is enormous and includes everything from live octopus and swimming bass to oysters and shrimp (along with a whole bunch of creatures that I didn’t even want to ask about). I guarantee that you will never experience anything like this ever, but if you want to have the best seafood in the world this is the way to go. Basically you choose your fish. We choose a large bass and a bag of oysters. They take the live fish out of the tank and kill it right in front of you. Then they take your selections to a nearby restaurant of your choice. The restaurant prepares the fish so it is ready to eat. In about ten minutes we were looking at a huge plate of raw bass, oysters, fried shrimp and all the authentic Korean side dishes and sauces to give the fish some flavor. I had never eaten such fresh, succulent fish in my entire life. Minus the hundreds of inquisitive looks and awkward hellos I got from the natives, I had a great time enjoying myself in a real Korean setting. In Seoul everything is so modernized that one could easily live here a year without experiencing anything Korean if they really wanted to. Sometimes I forget I am in Korea. It’s times like this, when I come to places like the outdoor fish market, where I really appreciate the fact that I have the opportunity to experience this amazing culture. Only in Korea!