Sunday, July 10, 2011

The city that sleeps much too late

I'm so tired that I'm trying to figure out where to begin with my post, haha. I've been staying up so late recently that now I think it's finally hit me.

Yesterday, while I was doing laundry, Alex invited me to lunch. He, Daniel, and I went to the area in front of Ewha Women's University to find some food. All his friends were sleeping because they were shopping till the sun came up (which is what I did yesterday, oh my...). We wandered around and debated on what to eat. We finally chose to eat at a little place that basically sells street food, but it was a restaurant.

We ordered 떡볶이 (ttukkbokki, I don't think there's an English word for it honestly) and a side of "a variety of fried things." It was...super good. After, we explored a little bit of Ewha University...basically just tried to find their bakery.

We slowly came back. So full...and it turned out I was gone longer than expected. And I had left my laundry in the washer. -__- I put my stuff in the dryer and waited for it to be done so I could go study with the I-House gang. While studying, I somehow got about half of my reading done! And, well, it took...about 3 hours... I think I need to learn to read faster, maybe... Anyways, I felt like I got a good amount done.

Dinner time! This time, the group I was studying with +Richard, Cristine, and Dana went to dinner together. There's this place in Sinchon where there's always a guy yelling to try and get customers, so we gave in and went in there. It was a meat place and the meat was REALLY GOOD. Definitely worth it this time and nearly infinitely better than the all you can eat meat place, haha.

After eating, we came back and got some ice cream and just waited. We had planned to go to Dongdaemun, an outdoor street market area that also has indoor malls... Apparently the best time to go is at night. So that's what we did!

Everyone (minus Eugene and Bernard) met up to go shopping! We hopped on the subway and walked over to a street with tons of tents set up where it was filled, and I mean FILLED, with knock offs. I saw everything from knock off Chanel jewelry to knock off True Religion jeans to knock off Gucci keychains. It was crazy. And it was crowded...

 We were greeted by this sight when we got off the subway. We were freaking out because we couldn't read one of the signs. It turns out that the lighting was slightly off or the coloring was bad, but I really though my astigmatism had gotten so much worse!

Wandering through the tents set up outside was intense. It was really crowded so we opted to go inside the malls. The goods looked better and you could actually breathe. We went inside two of these malls where there are floor dedicated to different things like "women's wear" and "accessories." Each kiosk is owned by a different owner so some can be pretty aggressive when they try to sell something. But the plus side is...bargaining!

Here come the bargaining anecdotes: at the first place we were at, Maggie and Eileen did much of the bargaining because the shop owner thought they were so cute in how they knew limited Korean and were trying to bargain. It worked! Haha. Even though I could speak Korean, and was asked to do quite a bit of translating back and forth as the shop owner said things like "Do you wanna die?" (it sounds harsh in English but can be used jokingly in Korean) when Maggie asked for such a low price, Maggie and Eileen were quite successful in their bargaining. When Sara and I went to find shorts, those were a little harder to bargain for because apparently they were already on sale. Meh. But the last place, I got some jewelry and was successful in bargaining (got 4 for the price of 3) due to the fact that I spoke Korean, yet was from the US. So weird, but hey, I'll take it.

We were so exhausted. By this time, it was a little after 3:00 AM. Yes, AM. So we went to go eat. After shopping we were so hungry. I also forgot to add that Dana successfully bargained something down from 80,000+ KRW to 17,000 KRW. It was a t-shirt, so I don't understand why it was priced at 80,000+ to begin with, but his bargaining was quite impressive.

 Here's a mall in the area that we didn't actually go into...but it looked really cool.

The food we decided to get...street food is always delicious. This is a hotdog but with french fries wrapped around it. WHAT. (This was something we really shouldn't have eaten at night, haha).

Eileen, Sara, Maggie, and I took a cab home while the other three decided to stay and wait till the subways were up and running again (so I think 5AM). We were too tired to wait. On the way back, the cab driver missed our entrance to the school so we ended up walking to it. =( We were so hoping to get dropped off right in front of the dorms! Oh well. Good thing I kind of know my way around and know Korean. Otherwise, we would have had to walk for 30 minutes...

This city sleeps much too late. Those malls had closing times of 4:00-4:30 AM! And there were still street vendors open everywhere. How do they do it?? They open at 10:30AM! So...a 6 hour break? -__- I'm really impressed. I guess if they can do it, I can do it when I'm a medical resident. Maybe...

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