I'd say, it was a good hour later (with us changing lines 3 times I think) before we finally arrived at Itaewon. Upon stepping out of Itaewon station, we found ourselves standing in front of a building which had the word Hamilton on it ( I can't remember if it was a hotel / shop or restaurant). We immediately turned left and started walking amongst the crowd... but weren't sure how far we had to walk before getting to the mosque. Luckily, husband spotted the minarets of the mosque in the distance... probably some 50m away. We quickly zigzagged in between rows of shops and soon found ourselves in the vicinity of the mosque.
The front facade of the mosque
It was interesting to learn that Malaysia had a role in setting up of the mosque. In fact, if I'm not mistaken the late Tunku Abdul Rahman had helped by purchasing the hill top land at the price of US 33,000 back in 1962. However, the plan was derailed due to inflation and the mosque was only built in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood in 1976. The president of the Korea Islam Institute estimated that there are about 40,000 listed Muslims in South Korea, and about 10,000 are estimated to be highly active practitioners.
We met a few muslims at the mosque and wished them Happy Eid Mubarak as Raya Haji was just 2 days away. From them we found out the location of halal restaurants in the area and soon found ourselves at a Turkish restaurant called "Salam Restaurant". Hubby, Dr Chew and I were more than happy to escape the cold and have a quick bite and pit-stop at this very cosy place. Feeling rather famished, we happily ordered dinner which comprised of lamb kofte, chicken kebabs with salads, pitta bread and turkish coffee ( the last one for the heck of it).
With a full belly and an empty bladder, we left for Myeong-dong for our last shopping spree in Korea. We were leaving for home the next day and I was feeling very apprehensive as I hadn't bought anything for the kids. I was told by Dr Chew that this was the best place to get cheap cheap toys for children.
Ready for riot?? Normal scene in Korea
Myeong-dong.... shop till you drop
Had it not been sooo cold, we might have stayed longer and explored the area better. But it was freezing cold... -10 Celsius, and I felt as if my nose was going to fall off soon. So with shopping bags in hand, we ran into a cab and headed for our hotel. While husband had a short meeting with a colleague back at the hotel, I had the task of packing for our trip home the next day. We managed to get loads of stuff for our girls at Myeong-dong, but none suitable for our boys. Hubby later said that we'll just do what he normally does on his overseas trips when it comes to getting gifts for the kids...that is shop at KLIA toy shop before getting into the taxi home. Yup! That's what we did... and a big Kamsa Hamnida to the cashier for snipping off the price tags before stuffing the things into our shopping bags.