Monday, March 12, 2012
Not long ago I went to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I only had six hours in Seoul, since we were part of a tour from another area of Korea, and it had been a hectic week at work so me and my buddy decided to see where the bus dropped us off and figure out what to do from there. Turned out that the bus dropped us right off the Itaewon International Market Street. We got to Seoul at lunch time and were hungry after a few hours on the bus so we found a cafe that served Italian with a Korean twist. I got a pasta dish in a rose water sauce that was kinda spicy but really good and an apple juice that was awesome before starting walking again. Ever on the lookout for good jewelry or bead stores, I convinced my friend to go to the “fashion road” first. I was disappointed to learn that all the stores were merely boutiques of ready-made outfits by lesser known designers. My friend told me a fact that made me a little less disappointed at not finding beads. She said that she had looked on Google to see what was said about this street and learned that many designers try out new ideas in Korea before sending them out on the shelves around the world. I hadn’t known that and found it rather interesting. By now we had been walking about an hour without seeing anything worth buying and were slightly grouchy but once we got to Itaewon Street, we found an underground “market” and bought some souvenirs at good prices that got us in better moods. The underground markets on that street are large rooms with a number of stores but no walls. The stores are established there all year round, so it’s not like a market with stalls, but there are walking paths separating the stores and they are designed to be different shops that complement each other. Many of the markets sold jewelry and clothes but the one we went to had jewelry, souvenirs, blankets, baseball hats, and mens suits. We walked around for a few more hours and got souvenirs as well as seeing the International Food Street with restaurants like The Guinness House in Seoul, the Taco House, The Moon Club, My Thai House, Scrooge Pub, and Buddha’s Belly.
After a fun afternoon of shopping and window shopping we got back on the bus for a long ride back to our beds that night. I can’t say that I saw a lot of Seoul, but what I saw was what I needed that day and shopping therapy can be awesome some days.