After 10 years in Mumbai, enjoying (or getting bugged?) every moment of the noise, traffic and the hustle and bustle, life in Songdo was quite a change - we were back to the basics of silence, clean air, no noise, no crowds, no traffic and quite a peaceful existence.
But then, once in a while, we do get homesick, the perils of living abroad. And it does make sense to head back to the hustle and bustle, and Seoul offers just that.
So today, we decided to headed to soak in the soul of Seoul, the amazing energetic pace of this metropolis of over 10 million people.
We headed to Itaewon, a district of Seoul popular amongst foreign residents, tourists and US military personnel from their barracks close by. Itaewon is home to numerous cubby-hole eateries serving a varied cuisine from all over the world - India, Turkey, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Mexico.
And tonight we were craving for a hot, greasy and spicy Indian meal, the perfect antidote to homesickness. We got into the Taj Palace that proudly proclaimed that it was the home of Indian cuisine but we were bewildered to discover it was owned by a Pakistani(!).
Now there is a joke among the Indian diaspora in Korea - Pakistanis brand their restaurants as Indian because if they were to brand them as Pakistani, they would have no patrons! They say imitation is the best form of flattery, so while the Pakistanis may not want to admit, they too, much like the rest of the world, are enamoured by all things Indian! That is again another evidence of India's immense soft-power!
Our meal tonight - pure vegetarian for a change - daal makhani, aloo gobhi, naan and yogurt! Who cares if this place is owned by a Pakistani as long as the food is great, which indeed it was! Finger-lickin' delicious!
A manhole cover on the streets of Itaewon...
A wonderful way to encourage patrons of this building to use the stairs instead of the elevator...
Ni Hao Beijing!
Desert time! Ice cream with fresh mango...
Nothing beats Alphonso mangoes in Mumbai and obviously, Neeti's irresistible mango cream - this ice cream was no match for stuff back home!
Tempted to have some more desserts at the Turkish cafe...
Tea in a tulip-shaped cup, coffee that promises to be "Black as Hell, Strong as Death, Sweet as Love" and the very sweet and sinful baklava!
Indeed Itaewon was quite a revelation, we got to come back here soon, again, to discover the charms of this district!