the weekend that was (Itaewon Global Festival)
I was anticipating the long weekend we had but unfortunately we weren’t able to get out of Seoul as planned. Last week, I had a serious cold which prompted me to visit a doctor. It isn’t difficult to find a doctor since every major street in Seoul has at least a motel, church, kikay store, noraebang (karaoke room), restaurant, dental clinic, hagwon (private school), doctors, convenience store and PC bang. In fact, we have all those on our street.
As a foreign wife, I’m entitled to health insurance which means I just have to pay a small percentage of the bill when I consult a doctor or a dentist. As far as I know, we pay about 30,000 KRW a month for my insurance. I think I’ve spent every penny alloted by the government for my insurance since I made several trips to the dentist this year. I had a wisdom tooth extraction and an operation plus a root canal. Medicine is also covered by insurance and we just pay 1,500 KRW for the service.
Anyway, we planned to go to Wonju City last weekend for the Hanji festival. Hanji is traditional Korean paper. Instead, I hanged out with Anna Banana and Jasin Itaewon where there was a Global Village Festival. The theme for this year’s festival was about food. The streets on the way to “hooker hill” was lined up with tents where you can buy international dishes at half the original price. Imagine a piece of “tandoori chicken” for 1,000 KRW!
Itaewon is that infamous foreigners’ district in Korea. It is said that Koreans are the foreigners in this part of Seoul, where people who are not Korean spend their free time hanging out at the bars or dining at the international restaurants. This is also the place to look for imported goods and clothes. The new Philippine Embassy is also located in this area. This year they held their third annual festival, which ran from September 30-October 3. I wasn’t in my best mood last Saturday because of my cold but I went there anyway. International dishes were on sale while Coke, cider and beer were offered for free. We sampled the Mexican taco and quesadilla, Indian samosa and tandoori chicken, Turkish sandwich and took home Chinese mooncakes. And I drank about four cups of O.B. beer, courtesy of Jas’ husband. There was also a talent showcase where Koreans and foreigners challenged each other in a singing contest. We didn’t know who won since we left early.
I spent the rest of my holiday resting! Hay!