Sunday, November 2, 2008

Korean Adventure: Tuesday

I felt better when I woke up Tuesday morning. Not as feverish, but still very congested. At school I visited the nurse, she took my temperature (which was a little high) and got hooked me up with some Korean drugs. I have no idea what they were really, but they did the trick. Over the next day I my temperature taken every so often, and was given pills or some liquid for after each meal and my cold basically was gone, which is awesome as usually colds stick with me for a while. I also had some herbal medicine a couple of times over the next day. It came in this brown bottle, was given to me warmed, and tasted horribly nasty. There were some students in the nurses office when I first went in, and they stuck around to watch me drink it, knowing exactly how it tasted. Similarly, in my fiancee's office, her co-teachers all gave a "yuck" look when I mentioned it. I don't know if it helped, but I do know that if you're teaching here and you get sick, see the nurse, and the intense drugage will see you better soon.

Grade fives on Tuesdays, they asked many of the same questions as the fours. One class seemed quite a bit interested in our relationship and wedding plans, and asked a lot about that. I've discovered that when I tell the fives and sixes that I'm a computer programmer, they misunderstand me and think I'm saying "computer pro-gamer". Considering the level of gaming love in Korea (ALL the students seem to play Starcraft), this really impresses them until the co-teacher steps in and explains the disconnect.

After school we went out to some of the big shopping places. First up was Yongsan, a huge electronics market. There are over 5000 stores selling cellphones, mp3 players, cameras, computers and peripherals, and pretty much any electronic gadget you want. We didn't look around too much, but it was fairly intense. We were in one of the larger buildings, which is basically 5-6 level department store, like say Sears, but filled only with electronics. I ended up grabbing an wall outlet adapter, router, and a card reader so that I could grab the photos off of my camera. Some things were pretty cheap, others not so much. You're expected to bargain, and I think you could fined some amazing deals there, but you'd have to put in a lot of time shopping around. You really need a full day of it I think.

Next was Dongdaemun Market, a market near one of the old city gates, Dongdaemun (Dongdaemun means Great East Gate). Again, there are a lot of markets around here, but the one we went into was the Dongdaemun Shopping Complex, a very long, somewhat narrow building that basically has two aisles running down it on each floor. They connect to each other at the ends and one or two places in the middle, so it's basically an incredibly long, narrow hallway with little clothing stalls oh each side. I was looking for a few long sleeve shirts, as apparently I brought the cold Toronto weather with me on my flight. One of the other hallways is filled with craft supplies and is where my fiancee finds her wool for knitting. The place closes up early, so most of the stalls were locked down by the time we left.

The market also sits right next to the Cheonggye Stream, a site that's been going through some urban renewal projects and was uncovered a few years ago. It's quite the nice place to walk along in the evening.

The stream with Dongdaemun Shopping Complex behind

Finally we went to Myeong-dong, another shopping district. This one is filled with stores rather than market stalls. It was incredibly busy, with the streets absolutely packed with young Korean shoppers. When we got there, my fiancee tells me, "This is how Koreans shop." There were also a fair number of food vendors on the street, and we picked up a fried potato on a stick. It's basically a corkscrew sliced potato fired into chip form. Very tasty and the vendor was very friendly.

The crowds and me with my chips

Another unfortunate choice of English for a sign

I found the shirts that I wanted at UNI QLO, which seemed to be a lot like H&M. Also, while I'm a medium to large in Toronto, in Korea I need to buy XL for it to fit. Asians are small.

We went to dinner at Om Dristi Indian and Nepali restaurant tucked away on the fourth floor of a building (in Korea, you really have to look up a lot to see all of the signs on the second, third, and fourth floors or you can miss a lot of good places). It was good, but I was too full afterwards.

Oh yes, on our way our of Myeong-dong, see saw a large stage and some sort of grand opening with Karaoke. We filmed this guy doing some sort of rap, even throwing down the N-word.

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