Long weekends are the best thing ever. And they come very few and far between when teaching in Korea. I´d only been here a month and probably didn´t appreciate it to it´s full extent, but did try to make the best of my time off. Chuseok meant that many things were closed, especially Sunday and Monday, but in a city as big as Seoul, there was still a lot to do.
Saturday I went with a group of teachers and friends to a market in Seoul that only happens a few times a month. It wasn´t very crowded because of the holiday, but there was a lot to see. They had everything from kimchi, herbs and remedies, tennis shoes, eel cut alive in front of you, dried whole squid, puppies for pets and even dogs sold for their meat. It was quite the roller coaster of smells and emotions ranging from pity to outage to excitement.
(Centipedes! Being cooked?)
Very disturbed by the dogs on display that were sold for their meat. This is one of those cultural differences that is hard for me to swallow because I´m such a dog lover. But there is some truth in the idea that killing a dog is just the same as killing a cow. Still, for me, eating dog is not something I think I can partake in, as much as I like to be open-minded.
I bought myself a hat and sat down for some delicious, freshly fried pajeon at a little stall.
Saturday night the teachers went out to Hongdae (my first time) which is sort of the college age area of Seoul. They party HARD in Hongdae. We had a lot of fun.
Sunday I hosted dinner for the teachers (fresh rolls and noodle salad) in my one room tiny apartment. It was a nice way to get together and everything was closed anyway.
Monday I went to Myeong-dong, which is one of the best shopping areas in Seoul. It was awesome. It had an H&M with five floors. So much shopping at reasonable prices and lots of street vendors selling crazy hats, socks and glasses. Seoul fashion at its finest: kooky and über cute. After shopping we went to Itaewon for some grub then back home.
I attempted to cover a lot of ground this weekend, but there is SO much to do and see in Seoul and I´m still figuring out buses and subway systems. I can´t wait to keep exploring. I´m going to spend today unwinding a bit and getting ready to go back to school tomorrow. October will be a fun but busy month at school with Halloween on its way.
Still on my to do list for Seoul:
Coex mall (kimchi museum!)
Namdaemun market (late night market that´s been around since 1414)
Insa-dong for tea kettles and dishes
Seoul fish market
Gyeong-dong (oriental medicine market)
And in Suwon, the Suwon fortress walls