Vacation to Seoul South Korea – Day 6 – The Open Market

We contacted Chris via facebook and arranged to meet him in Seoul. We made the 50 minute trip to our meeting place and arrived early. We followed our noses to a waffle vendor. The product’s aroma was wafting through the tunnel and enticed us to stop and purchase some. The prepared waffles were recooked to produce a crunchy texture then wiped with a slathering of sweetness from something that looked like whipped butter and folded into a sandwich. It was delicious. 

We found Chris without a problem and headed for Itaewan. Itaewan is the multi-cultural section of Seoul. Chris spends a lot of his free time here. This is the place it is easiest to find English speaking people. He has befriended a Turkish guy who owns Sultan Kebabs. We went there to enjoy one of his  culinary delights. We had a choice of chicken or lamb kebab. Both meats were cooked, seasoned, and pressed tightly together on a huge upright skewer. He then used a big machete-like knife to slice thin layers of our chosen meat.  The meat plus vegetables were combined in what can best be described as a flour tortilla and eaten like a burrito. A sauce was then applied as we munched on this fabulous item. The flavor beats tacos with a stick! 

Chris wanted to shop for some headphones at the electronic market. We went to Yongsan Station and found the 7 story shopping center with electronics on all 7 floors!  The first floor was about the size of an American grocery store with scores of dealers mostly selling camera equipment. The other floors were the same size with different specialties–another floor sold I-pods and other personal devices, another floor sold computers, etc.

We got the headphones and went to look for a protective case for Chris’ I-Touch. We found it and decided to also get screen protectors for his I-Touch and mine. The guy who sold us the thin clear covers was meticulous about applying it correctly. He scrubbed the screen, then made sure to remove every piece of lint before applying the protective film. He did this with amazing precision and care. The results were a bubble free layer of protection over our valuable personal electronic devices.

Yongsan Station is a ginormous place. It is a combination train station and shopping malls that included the electronic market, plus food courts, specialty shops, and E-Mart. It easily covered 12 city blocks and had multiple levels above and below the street. E-Mart was crazy alive with people. E-Mart is a grocery store. I have never seen so many people in a grocery store at one time in my life–and I worked in grocery for over 20 years! Sunday is family day in Korea, so the store was filled with families shopping for food for the week. It was an amazing experience.

We left the station and had another bite to eat. A street vendor was selling corn dogs, so we went for them. The prepared dogs were refried to create a crispy crunchy outer shell with a hot dog in the middle on a stick. It was served with ketchup, just like in the States. It was very good.

Lori was on a hunt for a Louis Vuitton hand bag. Her initials are LV, and the designer’s initials are the same and are used as the identifiable logo design, so we had to find a place that sold them. Louis Vuitton must be the designer of choice in Korea, because these bags seemed to be the bag of choice for a majority of women on the train. We went to Namdaemun Market in search of designer accessories.

Namdaemun is an open air market that greets about a half a million people a day! The market covers a very large area–100 acres or more–and mostly sells clothing. It was bustling with activity on another cold Korean day. The single degree temperatures with a constant wind made for a frigid day of shopping in this outdoor market. We managed to find an LV scarf that matched Lori’s coat and some LV socks at a good price, but no handbags. I promised Lori that we would return.

The freezing temperature was starting to affect me. At one point, the wind was blowing so hard in our faces that I got a brain freeze from the breeze and began to feel sick. We dead-headed for the train terminal that would bring us home. I went to bed at 5:00 p.m. while Lori and Chris arranged to meet a friend who is in the military and stationed in South Korea.

Erik Nevens is Lori’s friend from the horse barn. They arranged a meeting place and connected for dinner and had a good time at a Thai restaurant. They commented on the antics of a foursome of Koreans suffering from soju madness–they were hammered–and trying to get off the train. These guys in their mid 20’s kept getting stuck in the automatic doors on the train. They were on the ground and pulling each other to and fro while stumbling around and keeping the train from leaving. Other passengers looked on with shock and disgust while Lori and Chris laughed their butts off.  The whole episode lasted near 5 minutes and was so animated, it almost seemed staged. The Three Stooges had nothing on these guys.

Meanwhile, I was sleeping myself back to health. Chris prepared a big bowl of Ramen noodles for me at midnight. It was very spicy and hit the spot after a long nap. I am feeling better and should be ready for another adventure. 13 hours of sleep, and all is well again.

Mike enjoying a fish shaped waffle filled with sweet potato

Street vender making a fish shaped waffle


Hard Rock Cafe in Itaewon is about the size of a 2 bedroom 2 story American house

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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