Everything started out fine. We walked to the train station, which is only a 10 minute stroll from our apartment, and we had already purchased train tickets ahead of time online. The website, korail.com, has an English version and is easy to use. You purchase the tickets, print your receipt, and go to the train station. At the ticket window, you simply exchange your receipt for the actual tickets.
We had a some extra time so we hit up the little coffee shop in the train station called See U Bean.
In case you didn't notice, these are stairs :)
FAIL #1 - we didn't get seats together on the train. Not that it's a huge deal, but I much rather sit next to my hubby for the hour long ride than next to a snoring stranger.
FAIL #2 - This train was overly crowded. Even if all the seats are sold, "standing room" tickets still always available. We got our seats but it was awkward with so many people standing over us. Especially when those people are either staring at you or have their butt in your face.
The Yongsan Station which is connected to the iPark Mall which is great because you don't even have to go outside to get to the theater. The CVG Cinema was large and impressive. There are electronic ticket machines and there is also a customer service counter. One different thing about movie theaters in Korea is that you get assigned seat numbers. We tried to purchase tickets via the ticket machine first but surprisingly, there was no English available on it. Still, we managed to navigate to the correct movie and time only to find out there were no good seats left.
FAIL #3 - Watching an
IMAX movie any movie from the front row is not comfortable or enjoyable so Harry Potter in 3D was not an option.
A non-3D version of Harry Potter was also playing so we decided to see that one. We even got center "sweet box" seats! This movie was playing a little later so we went to find a place to eat dinner. It seemed that our date night was on the road to improvement.
There are dozens of restaurants in the iPark Mall. All we had to do was chose one and hope for the best! We picked a Korean restaurant that was crowded thinking it must have good food if there were that many people in it.
We were led to a table that already had the numerous little Korean side dishes waiting on it (umm, how long were these sitting out?) and given another odd side dish of small whole potatoes, over-cooked gummy corn-on-the-cob pieces, and hard-boiled quail eggs. Johnnie got a beef dish that came out in cute little heart-shaped patties. They only took a few minutes to cook in the hot skillet on our table.
I rolled with the seafood dumplings (technically an appetizer) because it was the only non-beef item on the menu. They were fried vegetarian dumplings, similar to yaki mandu, and topped with seafood. They were tasty but I'm sure they had way more calories than is healthy for one person to eat.
FAIL #5 - The Korean restaurant food was so-so and they didn't have any kind of meat other than beef. I'll eat chicken, pork, and seafood but not beef.
While sitting at the restaurant we looked up the train schedule on my iPhone. We were seeing a later movie so therefore we had to get a later train. Unfortunately, the trains were no longer running by the time the movie let out.
FAIL #6 - We had to get a refund on our movie tickets so we could catch a train home.
We did, however, purchase great seats for the 3D Harry Potter movie for the next day. So our date night turned into a two-hour trip to get a not-so-great dinner and buy movie tickets for another day.
Date night: Take 1 - FAILED.
On Sunday we once again purchased tickets online and walked to the train station. Because of scheduling, we had to take the express subway (instead of the train) and ended up standing for most of the ride. But at least we stood together :)
We already had our movie tickets that we purchased the day before so we headed upstairs and hit the snack bar before going into the theater. They had popcorn! In fact, they had three types: salt, caramel, and cheesy onion. We went with the normal salted popcorn and bottled water.
We passed through Star Trek type doors to enter the IMAX theater (awesome!), grabbed some 3D glasses, and found our seats. We sat in the dead center of the row and it was stadium seating so there were no heads in our way. An IMAX theater, 3D movie, and center row seats... it was perfect for watching the final Harry Potter movie :)
There were a lot of Korean commercials played before the movie and a few movie previews. Johnnie and I were assuming that Harry Potter would be played in English but since we were in Korea, there could be a chance of it being dubbed over in Korean. We decided to walk out if we had to read subtitles the whole time.
Luckily, the movie was in English! The Koreans were the ones who had to read the subtitles (too bad for them). Watching it in 3D was a-mazing! There weren't many things that "came at us" at all, it was more of a sense of being "in" the scenes. Especially since the screen was so large and we had prime seats! I loved every second of the movie! But then again, I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan :)
After the movie we went off to randomly choose another restaurant to eat in. After the Korean place the day before, we were in the mood for something completely different. We found a place called Pasta Amigo! Other than the odd name and the employees, there was nothing Korean about it. They had good beer and they had chicken :)
This date night turned out like the first one was supposed to. Great seats for the 3D movie, a good meal, and seats together for the train ride home. Date night: Take 2... SUCCESS :)