Monday, December 3, 2007

Itaewon Shopping Madness

On Saturday I had planned to come to school, maybe do some blogging, and finish my classroom's Christmas display on the bulletin board. As I sat down in my cubicle, ready to buckle down and get some real work done (for a change), I got an IM from my friend Liz saying she wanted to go shopping in Itaewon and did I want to come along. Uh, YEAH I did. I left school as soon as I arrived and we hopped on the subway to Foreign Town, Itaewon's nickname. Now you have all seen pictures from my nights out in Itaewon, but I had never ventured out there in the daytime to shop so this was a new experience for me.

My general feel for this neighbourhood is... uncomfortable. I mean, when you spend your night in a danceclub or a foreigner's bar in Itaewon it's fun because you embrace the seediness- you embrace the homeless people and the passed out drunks and the prostitutes and the gay bars and the street food- you even, to a certain extent, embrace those abrasive American soldiers who prowl the place at night. During the day, Itaewon is the same place, and it embodies the same things (plus about a million street vendors trying to sell you their black market merchandise), but it just doesn't evoke the same feelings.

Putting feelings aside; however, Itaewon is the only place where you can find plus sized clothes, it has great ethnic foods and is a rich, multicultural environment. And it has the Rocky Mountain Tavern, a Canadian bar that I like to frequent, and Gecko's, which has delicious western-style food. But it's still too seedy for my daytime taste. Here are some pics:

Elbow to elbow with strangers on the street

Baby Adidas

3 for 10! Movies that are not even out of the theatres in Korea yet.

Yeah, the sales are good, and the clothes are plentiful... but a lot of these clothes seem to be from American stores from five years ago, and the quality of the clothing is not the greatest.

There were a lot of people who appeared to be Christmas shopping, which gave me the weirdest feeling of all! Think of the seediest place in the world, and combine that with Christmas cheer. Something is just not right!

However, dinner with my friends at Gecko's is never a disappointment.

My lovely cosmopolitan. Sometimes, soju just won't cut it for me.

Liz's boots were the topic of conversation for the night. Countless drunk army guys had been at Gecko's since 2PM (I guess they have early curfew or something) and several people approached Liz to tell her they liked her boots. We also had a conversation with an Army dude who, when we told him where we were from, said " Oh yeah! Nova Scotia. That's near Winnipeg, isn't it?" So impressive. A drunk old Korean man came to our table and told Liz he'd give her 10,000 Won (about ten bucks) if she gave him her boots. It was a riot, since this all occurred at 5 PM.

1 comment:

Helena said...

Yeah, I always thought Itaewon was kind of creepy, too. We'd go there occasionally for some oatmeal from the black market store, or to go to the Pakistani restaurant behind the Ashoka.