If you ever pass through Hongik University Station (or Hongdae Station), especially during the weekend, you will have to watch where you're going; eyes on the path and not on your smart phone. This place is crowded, especially on Friday nights! Last year, on our way to the 2012 Yeosu Expo, we had to board our Adventure Korea bus that was waiting for us at the Hongdae Station. It was a Friday night and passing through that station was crazy! It seemed that the parties at the clubs in the Hongdae area spilled out into the subway station! Ha-ha-ha!
And this week, when I met up with an old friend Andrew, whom I haven't seen in months, I passed through the Hongik University Station again and relived that memory. But this time, I was willing to navigate the crowded areas because, one, Andrew and I had a lot of catching up to do, and two, the Seoul Fringe Festival was going on!
Every summer, the Seoul Fringe Festival gathers more artists and performances to be enjoyed by the crowds. And after a few minutes of walking from the subway station, we already saw a couple of street performances while we were on our way to finding a restaurant where we wanted to chat and, of course, to stick to the Korean tradition, drink! Soju, that is.
We paused to listen to a few bars of some songs being sung by the performers, who were surrounded by an audience intently listening, or taking videos and photographs.
This is what I like about the Hong-dae area. There isn't a shortage of artists. I would have wanted to take a look at some performances in the theaters, but the Seoul Fringe Festival website does not provide enough information about the locations of these theaters.
Chatting over soondae keupjang beukkeum (explaining the dish makes me drool again. Ha-ha-ha!), which has soondae, tteok, veggies, red pepper paste and a few garnishings cooked over low fire, Andrew and I argued as to who between us gained more weight since the last time we met. Ha-ha-ha! Well, I guess, with this dish, we could always find some excuses if we both did. And to make us even fuller at the table, the ajumma dropped a cupful of rice on the hot plate, mixed it with the red pepper paste and what ever was left of the dish and instantly turned it into a more appetizing hot refill of reddish rice with sliced kim and a few veggies. And there went our diet. Ha-ha-ha!
So, to walk off our heavy tummies, we roamed that part of the Hong-dae area full of bars, cafes and restaurants, next to rows and rows of shops selling clothes, accessories and everything else, and ended up in a coffee shop to chat some more.
(At first, I thought it was an exit to a subway station!
But it was an entrance to a club!)
That night, I decided I have to return to Hong-dae and explore more of it under the daylight. I figured, if I had more time, I'd be able to discover the other corners of this popular place, see more street performances and take more colorful pictures.
And perhaps, also find reasons why I should visit this place more often.