söndag 16 december 2012

Trip to Seoul: Day 2 - Traditions and night shopping

After trying my second cup of tea here in Korea, and this one also hade a bonus taste of something fishy (as in fish), I was happy I got myself a cup of my Twinings Earl Grey from home. The other stuff att Dunkin Donuts was great though, got my sugar levels multiplied by 10 I guess. ;-)
Today was a day for a ”traditional roundtour meaning the areas of Insadong and Bukchon Hanok Village. The first is, in a mostly positive sense, tourist trap in the form of a main street of shops selling traditional stuff like arts and crafts and anything loosely related to ”cultural heritage”, be it eatable, made of wood, stone or textile (or plastic). One place not to miss, roughly halfway along the road, is the Ssamzie-gil shopping centre. Its like a spiral walk with qaint shops along the way. I found several fun things there (presents…).
Bukchon Honok Village is sold as an area with traditional houses mixed in with never ones, but dont be fooled by the standard toursit map thinking its a whole homogenic area, rather there are small zones of picturesque alleys coupled with larger areas of dwindling but more recent styled houses and shops. But the Gahoe dong area is a good place for photographs, I found one place there with Namsam Tower in the background. I also managed to take courage and seek myself lunch in a sidealley where I got a very nice lunch with the classic sidedishes fore a mere 7000 Won ie rougly 42 SEK or 7 dollars.
After recuperating and sleeping (yes, I shouldnt do that if I want the sleeping to return to normal, but wait) before going out for the night shift. Yes, I *could* have gone for the ”see the nice palaces” stuff but I honestly wasn’t in the mood for it. Instead I chose sleep and…night-time shopping!
Yes, Seoul is indeed, like most all Megacities, a great place to shop, and one of the hundreds of markets you must not miss out on is the Dongdaemun market. Its really more of a city area spanning a number of shopping malls but it got two cards up its sleeve. Fi rst it has wild opening hours, it really only close for a few hours early morning (5 -10 am), and som only open at 10 *in the evening*. The other thing is its catering for all tastes. The area is the place where the clothes business do business, ie wholesale selling and buying, but in the other end you got high fashion too. My favourite was Doote, which is the place to go if you have already been spoiled by YesStyle .com and therefore have rather high expectations, but on the other hand doesn’t have that big of a wallet. Yes, I found some stuff here too. Presents… and yes some for me too. All men out there: it is an unfair world in regards to clothes, we are whoefully underrepresented in the selections and fun factor of it all, but floor 4 of Doota gives some solace at least. Recommended. The neighbouring galleries have men’s clothing floors also, but there you will have to expect some more aggresive (not much or often,I just hit two rotten eggs among all the sellers) selling tecniques.
One thing good to know: the Seoul subway closes at 24:00 so if you are thinking of using it, stop shopping before midnight. I didn’t. I didn’t want to take a cab. SO I hade to walk for 1h40 mins (roughly 10 km’s) back to base. *aching feet*.

As expected in Korean countries, you leave your shoes outside your hotel room, in this case in a small cupboard

Hihihi. "Chicken Mother". Guess who I'm thinking of ^_^

Political ads on SIncheon crossroads

Typical Korean flower arrangement

Just one in (seriously) hundreds of cute style business concepts

More cute, this time a Mobile service provider

Breakfast. Note to self: don't order green tea again here. Also, Koreans like their donuts, it seems.

At the seemingly popular Dunkin Donuts chain. It was everywhere.

Insadong street

I found the places selling traditional spices and dried mushrooms fascinating.

Yes, it's a pooping man. And, yes they are making poop-shaped somethings on the grill. Guess if it was a popular Kodak moment? (And for some reason few buyers)

Handmade soaps packaged in bamboo. Very nice. As above, at the Sszamzie-gil

At the roof there was this place where one could buy name tags and attach them to this opening. Seemed a couple thing.

A reminder that Seoul (and Korea) is actually quite mointainous.

A series of photos from Bukchon. I found it interesting to see contruction of new traditional houses. Reminded me somewhat of english oak houses in structure.

Bukchon alley




Bukchon house. Very nice.

Stir-fried pork was my choice

Yes, all this for the cost of less then a McDonalds meal at home

This was the entrance to the earlier mentioned Ssamzie-gil. You can't miss it from the main shopping street so don't worry

Girl giving free beuty-product-samples. One catch, you have to enter the shop...

A shop dedicated to swedish Fjällräven. Funny.

"Cannabia" drink with nice leaves on the sticker...from Germany. Wonder whats in that drink?

DOngdaemun suggested shopping walk

Bah, just 8 floors of shopping at this place. Small stuff.

Koreans really like their hats and headwear in general.

Bags. And more bags. Sooo boring. Kidding.

This wasn't really the best example of a bag, just it was diffreent.

Christmas night at Dongdaemun

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