Going to Never-Ever Land

We’re up early to go a theme park just outside of Seoul called Everland. Kimberly had seen in the Vagabond travel magazine that this park had one of the world’s best wooden roller coasters and since I’m a serious roller coaster fanatic nowadays, I decided to tag along. It’s me, Kimberly and Henrik that hop on the subway that morning heading for the bus station. On the subway I spot a guy with a Bon Jovi tattoo spelled like “Liv’in on a Prayer”, poor guy. (on the other hand, I bet there are sizable amount of westerners walking around with nonsense Kanji on their skin)

After a lot of asking around we find the right bus stop (there are like 15 to choose from) and start waiting for our bus. There are an abundance of buses here, on average there is probably one bus every 20 seconds stopping just at our stop. The ride to Everland is about 45 minutes and Kimberly isn’t feeling to hot, probably has something to do with the Tequila race she initiated last night.

Entry fee to Everland is 35k (about 220 sek or $30) and then you get to ride everything for free. The park looks more or less like Liseberg but is decked in a Halloween outfit. It feels a bit weird walking around there in shorts when the place is covered in pumpkins and witches. The wooden roller coaster is over at the end of the park and since we heard from the others who were there the day before that the place was packed we headed right over there. We seem to have picked a better day though since the place is all but deserted, mostly it’s just the cleaning crew swooshing around on inlines sweeping up the odd piece of trash. We arrive at the roller coaster only to find out that it doesn’t open for another half hour. Finding not much else to do we plant ourselves first in line and wait for it to open.

Rushing through the queuing labyrinth we seat ourselves in the very first cart and are on our way up the first incline. The first drop is an awesome 77° and it certainly delivers when you’re up front! The rest of the ride is kind of a disappointment though and I actually think Balder at Liseberg is better. Sure, it twists and turns well enough but I miss those humps that Balder has that makes you feel weightless. We decide to give it another go though while there’s still relatively few people in line and aim for the last cart this time. It’s almost an entirely different ride this time with great G-forces and high speed turns. Satisfied we stumble out of the ride, through the little store that’s on the way out. We’d noticed that almost all the Koreans we’ve met here have some sort of headgear, be it cat ears, bunny ears or something similar. So I pick up a pair of Giraffe antennae, to you know, blend in with the locals…

Anyways, we go looking for something else to ride and find one of those raft rides where you sit in a round raft and get water squirted all over you. Here you get some sort of cover to hide behind though, so you’re not getting very wet. The ride itself is not very exciting and we’re realizing that we’ve probably done the best part of the park already. There is another roller coaster, but it’s closed for repairs so we go for a flume ride before calling it quits. On the way out we see a Comanche helicopter passing overhead. There seems to be some sort of military base nearby since there have been passing helicopters and planes the entire morning.

We get back to central Seoul in the afternoon and Henrik heads off to see the War museum. I remember Anna saying she was going for the kind of foot massage where little fishes nibble at your feet taking off dead skin. Sounded awesome so Kimberly and I head over to Stay Korea to hook up with her, turns out she had some other plans and wasn’t there. Peter had also tried the fishes though and tried to describe the way there. Full of confidence Kimberly and I headed off in search of Myeong-dong station where we should take a right and two lefts and look for a foot sign. Right-o, how hard could it be?

Turns out it can be pretty hard, we don’t really mind though since the area is jam packed with one great store after another. There’s just so much cool stuff that I can’t get enough. After a lot of asking around though we finally find the place, called “The Foot Shop” (Peter actually wasn’t that far off, it’s right, left, right and then on the left hand side).

The place has insane opening hours, from 10 am to 3 am so there’s no problem getting a midnight massage I guess. Fish nibbling followed by a foot and leg-massage is something like 120 sek if I remember correctly and takes about an hour. We both go for that alternative and after some initial confusion change into the clothes the staff wants us to. The fishes are a very ticklish experience, after a while I manage to control myself but Kimberly just can’t stop laughing. After ten minutes or so it’s time for the massage, a shame really, since I’d liked more time with the fishes. Not that they seem to make that much of a difference, but I’d still warmly recommend it for the experience alone.

The massage is taken care of by two very capable Chinese women that don’t speak much English. The massage is pretty rough and our poor feet gets what’s coming to them, not that I’m complaining, but with the pleasure comes a bit of pain. We attempt some conversation but they’re not very well versed in English so we don’t get far. Walking away on little clouds we go around the block and just look at stuff before returning home to the hostel.

Tonight is the farewell dinner for the Japan crowd who are leaving for the boat tomorrow morning. Anna and Karina have had some troublems finding a place willing to serve 36 people on short notice but had eventually found a nice Italian place. Across the road from it there is a Lomography shop and Jacob and I head over there whilst waiting for the food. Lomography is a cool company selling cheap old school plastic cameras that uses old chemical film and Jacob has a Fisheye camera from them. I’m really keen on getting one but decide this isn’t the time.

Dinner is great and afterward we’re all in the mood for some karaoke. Hunting down a place isn’t as easy as we’d thought though and the first one is a really fancy non-alcoholic place. That obviously won’t do, but the guy in the door suggests a place across the street under his breath. It’s down a cellar and there’s a guy behind a counter hooking us up with a room and some, probably illegal, lukewarm beer. The room hardly fits all of us, the giant screen and the even gianter remote control. Everything is in Korean of course so it takes us a good while to figure out how to get English text and all. After a few false starts and Johnny buying a Jack Daniel’s to brighten the mood we’re off singing ABBA for king and country. Jacob puts on Bull on Parade for me to sing, thanks man… I do get to put on a smoldering rendition of Creep later on though, so I’m happy.

Anna goes out on another beer run but suddenly comes back and grabs me; “you gotta come see this!” Over in the next room are a bunch of thoroughly inebriated Koreans delighted to have some new best friends come over and sing with them! We do our best to sing along with the awful Korean pop music, all the while being “filmed” by one of the guys using the fire extinguisher as a video camera… Ah, good times!

After a while the others find us and we all party with the Koreans. When we’ve had our fill of karaoke for the night we find ourselves a nice bar with a nice drink selection where we spend the rest of the evening drinking fancy umbrella drinks.

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