A Fat Purple Fig

Month: November, 2018

The Great Coffee Tour: Golden Brew Black


See how I made it look like Golden Brew Black was another carefully-researched choice? Wrong. We bought coffee here on our way to Bukchon Village, and the photos I took weren’t recorded for Coffee Tour posterity, but because I liked their spotted cups (Koreans really like packaging).

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Variations on a Theme


I find it difficult, when travelling, to make decisions about what to do, and the same debates come up time and time again: tourist vs local, and familiar vs as-yet-unseen. On the one hand, there are things that one should probably see in a new city, such as temples and palaces and cultural centres, and there are also places and sights that have already been experienced, and therefore don’t really need to be revisited.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Anthracite

Anthracite may well be the coolest coffee shop I have ever been to. Their website quotes Hermann Hesse, the building is difficult to find and in the middle of nowhere, and when I first saw the name on the concrete and the giant padlocks on the door, I wondered if it was actually abandoned.


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The Glutton’s Lament

Food in Seoul has been a mixed bag. We have had some great successes and some spectacular failures, in a culture that really enjoys ‘do-it-yourself’.

On our first morning in Hongdae, we went looking for a convenience store, and found this tiny toast shop, which appeared to be frequented by a steady stream of Koreans.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Coffee Lab Express


Coffee for the day was at a little hole-in-the-wall takeaway that we had spotted on our way back from Mary’s tattoo. I think it probably gained inclusion by looking terribly authentic, amidst many that seem to specialise in cream.

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The Best Laid Plans


The sun slowly disappeared as the bus kept hurtling north, 30km from where we were supposed to have alighted. Then the public transport app switched from delivering us hours later (but at least that night) to delivering us the following morning. And Mary and I pretty much looked at each other and said, ‘we’re f*ucked’.

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The Great Coffee Tour: 4F

4F is probably one of the most unexpected surprises I have ever encountered. After winding through a maze of alleyways behind Q and thinking how great it was that we were doing something that we could NEVER have worked out ourselves, he stopped here, at 4F. This photo was taken after we left…I really didn’t know it was anything worth photographing beforehand:


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We met a special human yesterday. And, honestly, if everything turned to utter shit tomorrow (which it won’t, because I actually think I deserve some sort of degree in holiday planning), it would be ok, because I will always be able to think back to Q and the extraordinary day we shared with him, namely his ‘Hidden Look of Seoul with an Artist’.

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Message in a Lantern

Sunday night was the last night of the Seoul Lantern Festival, which I was very keen to see, so, after resting our worn SMTown legs, we set out to find Cheonggyecheon stream.

Mary and I have already become subway-proficient, which I am certain is the key to enjoying an unfamiliar country. We can never seem to sit, or it somehow feels inappropriate to do so (them or me? who knows?), but we have worked out our directions and our exits, and the names of the neighbouring stations. On the way to the lanterns, Seoul showed us how pretty it can be:

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Going to Town

K-pop is pretty important in our household. It’s just kind of there, an all-singing, all-dancing background to life, full of songs that you find yourself humming on the bus (and singing (Korean) words to, despite having no idea what they mean), sung by impossibly-gorgeous, impeccably-styled humans who can blue steel like nobody’s business.


This one’s for you, Eva

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