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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Insadong and Dongdaemun

There won't usually be two posts in one day, I promise, I just got thrown off schedule by blogging in the morning when it's really better to blog at night. So after today, blogs should go up at night (well, morning in the USA). Anyway...

Today we set out to visit some of the great markets we had heard so much about -- Insadong and Dongdaemun, in particular. Insadong has a fabulous street market specializing in traditional goods in crafts (as well as the usual touristy fare).

Managed to restrain myself buying too much by rationalizing that I'll be here for an entire year so I can come back later and buy souveniers and gifts. I did get a gorgeous and heavy orangey-gold-copper silk scarf that I adore -- thanks to Melissa for recommending it.

Cool hand-made paintbrush store

Some of the most interesting buildings are hidden in side alleys

Insadong Starbucks is the only Starbucks in the world to have its main sign not be in English!
My first Korean street food experience: extraordinary. First I tried Bungeoppang, a fish-shaped pastry made of batter and red bean paste. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first bit into it -- not even sure if it was really fish or not -- but it's so delicious and sweet, the perfect snack.

Then there was meat on a stick -- like most of Asia, absolutely anything can be found sold on a stick in the market. Most stands don't label their food in English so it's just a matter of seeing what looks good and pointing. I got lucky with some delicious but extremely spicy pork or chicken. Now I know that when they say spicy in Korea, they mean it!

You can come across the loveliest buildings in the middle of ultra-modern Seoul

While venturing back to the subway, we came across a random travel photography exhibit in the station. Amazing! So many gorgeous shots from around the world -- especially loved pictures from London, Paris and the Grand Canyon.

I desperately want a print of this picture!!

We then headed off to Dongdaemun to check out the shopping there and the best way to describe it is as the world's largest flea market. Street after narrow street is crammed with goods ranging from second-hand dishes to used shoes to extremely graphic porn videos. Yep. Mostly men too, for some strange reason, so we got a lot of stares and "oh, you beautiful girl." One guy (wearing a University of Michigan hat, randomly) actually was super-creepy and just kept walking by and leering, turning around, and doing the same thing. Strange.

Highlight of the day: finally finding a suitable coffee mug (at Starbucks, actually, as part of their City Mug Collection).

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you're having a blast! I CANNOT WAIT to come visit!!!