Spending Our Money in Seoul

Today was planned as our day off. But aside from trying to sleep long (which wasn’t really possible due to bright and loud surroundings), we were soon out on the streets again. It was shopping time. First, back to the Namdaemun market, where “someone” had to buy another bunch of t-shirts. (And since the first week isn’t even over yet, “someone” will have very heavy baggage at the end of the trip.) We also had some very tasty snacks there… twice.

Something was already noticeable: Our innkeeper had told us that this Sunday is Korean Thanksgiving – which means many people will leave the city to visit their families. On one hand that means the city is less crowded, smells better and looks even nicer. On the other hand that also means that many shops are closed for the (long) weekend. For a shopping day, that’s a bad thing… or a good thing, can’t decide.

Anyway, after having our first load of snacks, we walked on and found the Hoehyeon Underground Shopping Center, which has to be a paradise for collectors. Never in this millennium have I seen such an abundant range of vinyl records. Collectors of stamps, furniture, art and models can find a lot here, too.

Once we got back to ground level, we entered Myeong-dong. It’s a large shopping area for young people, that can be best described as Japantown or Little Tokyo. Seriously, I think I could’ve gotten along here with my Japanese (which is way better than my Korean – unfortunately that’s not very hard…). That was some nice preparation for the weeks to come, but I think we’re a bit too old not as “hip” as their usual customers.

For the final stop of our shopping tour, we went to Yongsan – probably the largest train station in Seoul. There are a lot of shops and malls around there where you can find anything you want or don’t want. We walked through a couple floors full of electronics and the conclusion is that stuff is a bit cheaper here than in Germany, but customs would kill any savings. Maybe with a lot of haggling you can make a small deal, but the effort isn’t often worth it. The whole Yongsan area is something one should explore (so we heard), but since we had enough and were low on caffeine, we preferred to get back for some coffee and chilling out (read: coding).

In the evening, we went looking for some Korean dinner – which was harder than you might think – since there are so many choices and we don’t have Sam’s nose with us to point out the best food. We ended up with some really nice Korean barbecue – which was a bit small due to some communication problems. So we went to our regular convenience store to pick up some dessert on the way back to our hostel.

Which is where we are now – writing postcards and this blog post (which was only supposed to be a few lines long, but we’re always happy to bore the world).

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