FOBY’s birthday and a splash of culture


It was FOBY’s birthday and time to experience some quality accommodation, a Saturday night at the Fraser Suites in Jongno, Seoul. Check-in (Korean Style) was forbidden before 3:00 pm.

I arrived in Seoul on the 7:05 am from Chungju and settled in the wired comfort of Holly’s expecting to fill my face with a breakfast ciabatta and coffee. It was 8:50 am, the café had been open since 8:00 am but apparently I’d been beaten to the only breakfast ciabatta in stock by a beautifully coiffured American lady. What transpired next was surreal! Firstly a rotund creature floated in and out of consciousness; when joining me on planet zod she stared. She stared and stared and stared and…….Alongside she of the sculpted hair dismembered her ciabatta, then reassembled it before complaining “the eggs are not scrambled”. I could and would have eaten that ciabatta with any form of egg in situ! She didn’t speak Korean of course and they had limited Englishy but they smiled and waved the remnants of the microwave packet back at her. She huffed and she puffed before returning to her seat. Next, you guessed it, she dismembered the by this time cold butty. She proceeded to toss the egg to one side; then swirling the ham with her fork she ravished it. The remains of the ciabatta were placed in her by now empty coffee cup and she stormed off. Meanwhile my visual stalker continued to peruse my fake leather clad frame until I squinted and pulled my tongue out at her. Visually admonished she went back to sleep.

FOBY’s birthday pressie was to be overly expensive European delicacies captured from Shinsegae. I considered armed robbery but remembered that I had another years contract to honour and more importantly I didn’t want a prison sentence to impinge on my winter vacation to Myanmar. All things considered I picked up Olive Bread, Rosemary Crackers, Spanish Peppered Chorizo, Serrano Ham plus French Blue Cheese and soft French Goats Cheese. Isn’t he one lucky *******?

I met FOBY at Seoul Station; he’d celebrated his birthday by demonstrating some common sense, taking the KTX. After a spicy curried concoction adjacent to the Bosingak Belfry we headed over to lively Insadong. It was too early to checkin so we visited Insa Art Centre. I’ve enjoyed exhibitions there in the past but todays were uninspirational. The Fraser Suite we were designated was positioned on the 20th floor with fabulous views towards Mt Inwangsan in the North and Namsan to the South.

After a 40 minute sojourn to the spa we had a great evening devouring a pork dumpling soup in Insadong and crawling around the bars of Jongno. After a footie fix in the morning we walked through Insadong towards the new National Museum of Contemporary Art in Samcheongdong. The newly opened but incomplete museum complex is impressive but its contents of mixed quality. I’m looking forward to the time when it hosts travelling world class exhibits. For now the Leeum in Itaewon far exceeds this space in terms of its displays of quality art. After a hearty Italian lunch we headed down to Central City for our respective journeys home.

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