Thursday, March 31, 2011

And the joke's on me! ... Twice.

Namdeamun Market: 

"The woman at the Myungdung Shopping Center Information Station insists on giving me two new maps to get across the street to the market.  These go in my purse in addition to the one from my hotel this morning, the hotel yesterday, and the two given to Ben at Indadong last night.  Do they have a quota to reach? Does the government award funds to organizations that give away the most maps to tourists or something?

"Everything imaginable and unimaginable is available in Namdaemun Market. Ginseng root shaped like a human body; everywhere. Duct tape in every color and texture? I pass two stalls in the first five yards.

"The stall owners don't crowd or bother as much as other countries in this competitive atmosphere, but I still keep my earphones in until I'm at a stall where I want to ask about something in particular.  That affords me some peace in this bustling area.

"I pass an entire street of knock-off accessories and wonder if any of the name brands I'd seen every fashionable Korean wear have been real or fakes.  Before I know it I've passed from purses to octopus. Smelling dried fish and seeing lives ones in baskets is something I've never gotten used to... Well, best intentions! Ugh.... The end of the street is a long way away to hold my breath!"

Gyeongbokgung Changing of the Guard

I was standing outside of the palace taking these pictures, when an older Korean man says to me "You should go inside." I say, "I will...I will..." thinking he means I should see the actual palace, not just stand outside of it.  But I do go inside, and realize that the real changing of the guard was taking place inside the palace gate! There was a huge to-do of prancing and pacing by men in colorful dresses and feathered hats. Not something I would have wanted to miss! Thanks, old man.  You got me. 

Samcheongdong Gallery Street

Next door to the palace (which happens to be in the center of town) is Samcheongdong, a... dare I say, romantic shopping district. It is a windy road of low, architectural buildings and beautiful trees.  Because it was windy, you can only see a portion of beautiful road at a time, making it very small and romantic feeling, instead of overwhelming like many large-building-ed, high-traffic areas of Seoul.  Many of the buildings are art museums.  Absolutely beautiful.  The remaining buildings are either restaurants (very high class ones offering "couple views" at the top) or expensive boutique stores.  Couples, hand in hand (rare in Korea) are everywhere.  I love it. 

As it turns out, I had been obsessed with the plan of eating dinner one night at a restaurant I read about online:  Beadanbaji. After a few days of asking around and ending up somewhere else, we discovered that the restaurant was in Samcheongdong! I was so excited to go back there on my own date night with Ben :)
Unfortunately, the restaurant had lost its "quaint" lodgings and is now on a floor of the owner's house.  Oh no! We spent our week hanging our hopes on this restaurant, finally find it and it's in someone's living room? No, thank you! We will never forget that ironical experience. 

1 comment:

  1. Those beards are fake on the guards!!! Don't be fooled!


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