Sunday, 25 November 2012

Chilling at the Dog Café

Last weekend I went with some friends to a dog café in Hongdae. In case you're not familiar with the concept, a dog cafe is a themed café where customers can sit down and sip drinks in the company of dozens of canine friends. A fairly recent phenomenon, there are several of these establishments here in Seoul, along with cat cafés. Most of them cropped up in the last ten years, inspired by Japan, which also has rabbit cafés and even a reptile café. In a country driven by hard work and long hours, these places have become popular for the temporary affection and companionship that the animals provide for their customers.

The café we visited was located in Hongdae and was called Sunnyne.
Upon entering the café we were greeted by a pack of barking dogs, and then stayed in a waiting area until a booth was free to sit in.
Emma petting a Shih Tzu.
The dogs were free to roam the café as they pleased, often sitting on customers' laps or scampering over the tabletops.
Some of the dogs wore nappies, I guess because they hadn't yet learnt where and where not to do their business.
This golden retriever would carry customers' bills in its mouth and take them to and from the front desk.

Here I am petting two dogs at once.

This guy sat under our table for most of our stay, and seemed to enjoy having his belly stroked... well as his chin!
Here the dogs greet more visitors to the café. 
We never found out this bulldog's name but he seemed to like us a lot.

At feeding time I got to give the dogs some cucumber, which they seemed to relish, as shown by their enthusiasm in this photo!

There were a lot of lovely dogs at the café but this one probably won the prize for most adorable. 
Customers can also bring their own dogs to the café. As you can imagine, doing so invites much curiosity and slobbering from the rest of the dogs.

It's a hard life giving so much love and affection to so many different customers.
After we left we had to wash our hands and brush thousands of hairs off our clothes and bags, but it was all worth it for what turned out to be a very unique, heartwarming experience. I'm definitely going to check out a cat café while I'm here, and if I make it to Japan I may just have to find that reptile café too.

Monday, 19 November 2012

From the Sky to the Sea in 63 Floors: Part 2

After leaving the Observation Deck we visited the aquarium beneath the building.

A long, prehistoric fish.
Watching otters swim through pipes connecting their living areas. 
I'd recently taught my Toronto kids the word "treasure," so they were excited when they saw this. "Jimmy-teacher, look! Treasure!"

My Toronto kids also like the Pixar film Finding Nemo, so they easily recognised these clownfish.
A heart for Pepero Day.
Danny, Joe and Jenny.

These tanks had doctor fish inside them. You could put your fingers into the holes and let the fish nibble away.

Iguanas, or as the kids were calling them, "dinosaurs."

We watched a seal show before we left.
On the way out.
A very sleepy bus ride home.

And that was the end to my first day-trip with my school, which I enjoyed very much. Had I visited the building and its aquarium on my own I don't think I would have had half as fun as doing it with the kids, whose excitement was always infectious, if a tad tiring!
Expect more day-trip blog posts in the future, since our school takes the kids on one every month or two.

From the Sky to the Sea in 63 Floors: Part 1

I recently went on my first day-trip with my school, to the 63 Building. Named for its 63 floors, it was the tallest building in Asia when it opened in 1985. On the very top it has an observation deck and the tallest art gallery in the world. We also visited an aquarium beneath the building.

My kids in Toronto class, excited to be going on a trip.
It was November 11th, or Peppero Day, which is  Korea's equivalent to Valentine's Day, so some of my kids gave me gifts before we left for the 63 Building.
On the bus.

View of Building 63 from the bus.
Jenny at the bottom of the skyscraper.
Jacob eating a banana during snack-break.
Excitement as we ride the elevator 63 floors to the top.

On the observation deck. 

Toronto class posing for a photo.
Posing again, this time with my co-teacher Cathy. 

Vicky playing with my tie. 
Lots of Pepero Day cards.

Riding the elevator back down.