Tag Archives: pastel art

Smelling the flowers or..

There is a pine tree lined walking trail behind our apartment. it’s not particularly scenic – just a 2.5 kms long and occasionally dusty stretch wedged between Gangnam’s high rise apartment blocks and a very busy thoroughfare, but it gets the job done. Whenever we feel like stretching our legs but don’t want to venture out far from home, this is where we head to.

Besides offering quick access to nature, this path provides fantastic people watching opportunities! You get to see all kinds of characters engaged in various workout routines. Five minutes into the trail you are greeted by a bunch of retirees bending and stretching every which way at the outdoor exercise facility, then there are the brisk walkers kitted out in gym clothes marching ahead with their nordic walking poles, the joggers zigzagging past ajummas ambling down the path in sun-visors perched on their signature permed hair, you have the dog walkers, the elderly tennis players, the moms energetically pushing kids on swings, the office workers in business suits with TUMI laptop bags rushing home from work, and the families of course, young and old, in groups of four or five, taking leisurely strolls.

One time I saw this guy with his dog kneeling down on the sidewalk looking for something in the bushes. I lingered around for a while to check what he was up to. Was he stopping to smell the flowers or was he searching for his dog’s poop? I couldn’t tell. The rest of my walk was spent pondering over his motive. I had to come home and sketch the scene. The mystery remains unsolved.

Day out in Euljiro

After spending a sunny weekend afternoon exploring the dusty alleys of Bangsan Market – known for its incredible range of baking supplies – we decided to rest our feet at the nearby Horangii cafe located inside Sewoon Plaza, a timeworn shopping mall that used to be Korea’s first electronic market back in 1968.

Today the place is a maze of identical looking stores crammed with audio devices, security cameras, room heaters, TVs, air conditioners, electric fans, arcade games and a vast selection of light fixtures. Because everything looks alike it’s easy to get lost, which we did, several times before finally locating the staircase that led us to the third floor where the scene was noticeably different – one made of trendy cafes, eateries, shiny boutiques and a flock of hipsters posing outside Horangii, clicking selfies.

Once inside, the cafe reminded me of the poignant setting of my fav Wong Kar-wai film – In the mood for Love. The narrow and dimly lit space with pale yellow walls, dark wood furniture and vintage lamps evoked nostalgia.

In stark contrast to this plush setting, the stained wall exterior, exposed wires, and the air-conditioning units were a lot of fun to sketch. The shopping plaza overlooks old print shops and metal workshops with tin roofs. Loud banging noises interjected the hum of conversations from time to time which seemed like a part of the setting.

We found a table right outside the cafe from where we enjoyed our lattes and scones. Interestingly, each coffee cup comes with a sticker of a tiger (or Horangii in Korean) which you can peel off and take home as a keepsake!

Before leaving we walked over to the skywalk and soaked in the sweeping views of the ever-changing Euljiro skyline with its old buildings – some still standing while others already demolished with rapid construction underway. Below, the streets were packed with cars and Cheonggyecheon stream flowing right through the middle of this urban jungle, reflected the cloudy sky.

Content that the day couldn’t get any better, we took the bus home, which is where I spotted this lady wearing the neatest pair of frilly white socks with little hearts on them! The edgy black loafers complemented her delicate side-slit pastel dress. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see her face but remember seeking refuge from time to time in the visual delight of those little red hearts on that boring 40 mins bus ride.