One of Seoul’s most tourist-packed areas but also one of the most breathtaking ones at that. Seoul Tower is one of those things you have to do as it’s a part of an unwritten checklist of tourist sights to stop. There’re two ways to get up to Seoul Tower one you ride the cable car all the way to the top (10$ roundtrip) or do an almost mile hike to the top (Free). I suggest the mile walk cause so many don’t hike up, so they’re fewer people around, and you still get fantastic views own the way up and down. You miss out on all the surrounding nature when just cable car to the top. Once you get to the top, though, that’s when it becomes jammed packed with people all trying for the best photos on the railings, so you got to slide your way through. All these tourists trying to take pictures was annoying to me (although I was doing it too). I felt people were just looking for the best picture to take instead of soaking in the view. Still being at the top was magical all the people there and seeing the whole view of Seoul it was unbelievable. Now at the top there’s a couple of things you can do eat cause their are restaurants, there shops, you can go up Seoul tower for a higher view (20$) or lastly if you are doing this romantically there a bunch of locks at the top all with names on them. Buy one and put it there is supposed to signify an active forever bond between the two people. I suggest ever going to Seoul do it.
What’s the best way to explain this, it’s a district that’s gigantic for selling products, like almost any product you can think of they had it. From clothes, food and electronics all in either mid condition to new you could find it there. It’s basically a giant flea market. Although with these types of places comes some level of secrecy as some shop owners don’t allow you to take photos of their stand as it might have fake, stolen, replica or bootlegged items. I asked Hy why the cops don’t shut them down? She said it’s not that serious of an issue. Saying don’t question where the item came from, and you’ll be okay. Although in the past around the 70/80’s there was something called ghost market (DoKKaeBi ShiJang 도깨비시장) it sold items from the U.S. Army base usually ration packs and due to it being highly illegal. When the cops showed up, they vanish. Also in the area was a toy/action figure area selling toys at significant discounts.
Somethings I’ve found. So Hy said people just simply call it “mp3 player for seniors.” It got a bunch of preset songs for ease of access. Although not all of the songs on it maybe be licensed for use.
Imports are also a big thing here and usually your paying high prices for them but I was shocked to see this Hershey’s chocolate sauce being sold for only a dollar. Now it dose go bad in about a month (8/2) and where I found it the bottles were sitting out in the sun, but I still think it’s a steal all thing considered.
DoKKaeBi– a ghost-like a creature with a giant hammer and has a horn. He brings gifts to humans (sometimes)
ShiJang- traditional market
I’m usually not for out sourcing but in this case I will have to as I don’t have continuous access or knowledge of Korean media to do an in depth look on it. What I do know is Korean Censorship is slightly odd. Knives and tattoos are blurred, but knives are only blurred in a violent manner yet can still be used a murder weapon. So what’s the purpose !? This YouTube video is by people whom have lived in Korea for several years. It’s supposed to be a little bit more on the humorous side but still get information across. enjoy
The cool thing about Seoul is you can’t ever get truly lost while walking, well, at least if your walk has no destination. I, for the most part, will just walk the city and listen to podcasts, and as they’re long, I always have something stimulating during the walks. It’s been so much fun just picking a random direction and walking it. I used to get worried when I would walk the cluster of the inner streets, but like rivers when you follow them they’ll lead you to a large body of water (don’t quote me on that). Similarly, the smaller inner streets will lead you back to the main streets that have street signs or subway stops. Normally what I do is walk until I get bored or tired then walk a little bit longer to a random subway stop then ride it back home or if my walk didn’t pull that far way from home use the street signs that point back to campus. The architecture of the city is just amazing. They are steadily building here which is a good and bad thing. Not to get into too much detail is while they build all this new stuff there neglecting the old leaving it to decay and become run down. What nature is left in Seoul is being carved out for newer housing instead of demolishing these older parts of the city and rebuilding it, but I’m not a city planner or any person that would have that type of information this is just my off-topic opinion. Regardless Seoul’s a cool place to walk around.
So, just today I realized I’ve lived here long enough to see many aspects of life from the good to the bad and in this tiny little post, I will be writing mostly on the sad side. I saw what I assumed was homeless men fighting outside a subway station. I was by myself because Hy was clothes shopping inside. It was so surreal because this was Seoul Station it’s a pretty large station connected to the airport line, so a lot of people are coming through this station. Although that wasn’t what made it so surreal, it was the just the fight itself so slow, no yelling or shouting that I could hear just homeless men fighting while onlookers watches and others kept it moving. Then it just stopped from what I saw I went back inside to see if Hy was done shopping. I don’t even know if the cops were called I just remember coming out of the store twenty minutes later and the people fighting were gone, but other homeless people were still around. Hy told me that usually the cops don’t get called unless there was blood and by the way, there were punching nothing was going to be done about it. Later that day Hy had to a school meeting, so I accompanied her to near her school because I knew of a good chicken place near there we had gone multiple times, but didn’t know how to get there myself. She gave me pretty simple instructions on how to get there, but she was worried I wouldn’t be able to get back home. She was slightly right cause I was a little nervous but when I started getting closer to the chicken place things were looking more familiar and memories came back to locations, and I got there. When I got to the counter, the girl looked at me and swapped out for a person who could speak English. It might just be in his tone, but it seemed like he didn’t want to deal with an only English speaker. Then the girl came back to do more orders in Korean. Although when it was time to give me my chicken she looked like she was given a pop quiz that she never studied for. To look on her face was just on of pure “OH GOD PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!!!” I might be over exaggerating, but that’s how I felt. All of it over putting peanuts on chicken. I felt so offended like it’s not that hard I’ve figured out ways to communicate with others without the use of Korean. Just yesterday I was able to convince someone to hold on to my camera and another person tell me the price of bread fairly easily with barely any Korean. Although not everyone is the same, her struggle and mine are entirely different when it comes to communication barriers. Lastly after eating my chicken I walked home but not back the same direction what’s the fun in that I had an okay sense of my surroundings because I had been so much to hang out with HY I knew enough. Like in the states make sense of direction comes from landmarks so returning home was easy cause I passed all the places we had been to get home, easy.
I’ve noticed something recently or at least been paying more attention to it, and that is (like the title says) people’s eyes. I don’t know if this is reaching some philosophical realm when it comes to body language, but I feel like you can tell a lot from a person’s eyes more specifically their mood. I like most humans cannot read minds, so all I can do assume and I don’t know if it’s because I am a foreigner that my mindset is different in the situation, but I feel like people are uncomfortable around me. I had a conversation with CL about when people see us what is there 1st thought is foreigner then race or the other way around or is a blend of both because what I have heard (translated) is some Koreans think Blacks are aggressive. A person might see me and just skip over me being a foreigner and I just being black. I too also notice glances when I’m with Hy I used to say it’s because of me that we get all these glances, although that’s not 100 percent accurate. I was still thinking from an outsider’s perspective and how I’m her imposing on their society and “taking their women.” Although Hy like most “young people” is a part of Korea’s own “Youth Culture” that doesn’t fit standard society mold. Her wares and hair get her looks too. It’s usually from older people, side note she said a couple of times due to the way she looks and her ease of use in English Koreans sometimes mistake her for a foreigner as well. They will come up and speak to her in English, and some, when she reverts to Korean will, realizes she’s fluent in it and go back to English as well. Others will try and keep the conversation going so they can work on their own English. The most uncomfortable eyes to deal with is children because they haven’t learned social rules yet, and one of those being it’s impolite to stare and will stare for a while. It’s semi-cute when babies do it but downright creepy when kids do. You want to tell them to stop but can’t. Recently when I notice a person staring I’ll stare back until they avert their eyes I’ve reached a point where I no longer care.
I’m sorry as I originally stated I would post three times each week and videos, sadly I didn’t keep up my promise….. If this were a real job, I would be fired for not keeping up with my quota. Although it was for an okay reason, last week was packed with last dinners, last goodbyes and seeing people off I was busy, so I haven’t spent any extensive time working on this blog. For that, I do apologize, but because I did move to the new part of the city I walked around a took a lot of photos, so I’ll link those and get working on some actual posts soon
Thank You For Your Understanding,
Not really, being lazy and “out-sourcing” my work. while scouring the internet as I do, I came across an internet thread about historical pictures of Korea. Intrigued by it I wanted to show it to you all as well. Now there’s a lot of photos and I haven’t been able to look through them all so I don’t know what’s all in it, but I do know they range from the 40’s – 80’s and that’s prime time war time so keep that in mind.
I guess you can say I have had very “political” last few days. Yesterday (6/11) I went to a Pride Parade other wise know here as Korea Queer Culture Festival. I was there cause my girlfriend HY was on one out of the floats in the parade. You’re probably asking why my Heterosexual Cis-Gendered Girlfriend was a part of the Pride Parade Floats? Well at her school they have an LGBT club, and although she’s not a member she is friends with most of the people in the organization and because she’s a big supporter and ally to them so she got to be on the float for her school’s club. I was there to give her support (as usual). Most of my campus friends were like your wasting your time, you don’t want to be there, and they were partially correct. It didn’t help when we got there it down-poured hard, but after the rain let up the festivities started up again and then everyone was standing in one giant mass ready to start their march through Seoul. It was unbelievable! All the people, all the flags and when I was standing in the mass it felt like we were an army ready to go to war as one unit in support of a cause and against another… I am not the person to have to conversation about sexuality; my belief has always been a pretty lazy one, and that is love who you want as long as your not harming no one asterisk because people like to act smart and spiral it out with dumb counter arguments to that statement. Each year anti-pride people show up and like to hold their protest outside the venue as a way to tell the goers that their way of life is wrong and “Homosexuality is a sin.” Bright side there were way more of us then there were of them, so they had no power over the Pride Parade’s Unity. It was interesting because many of the anti-pride people were wearing traditional era clothing. I guess it’s their way of saying we need to turn back the clock to a point in life where Homosexuality was not seen. It was all types of weird the anti-people I mean there were even tents pitched outside the venue where people had church. I’m proud to know someone so supportive and active in the issues that surround their city. It has even sparked a little fire in me to think about things in my home country. I will say the major difference to me is how these protests and parades have been structured. I have never been to a protest or pride parade in the states so this is just guesswork, but the police force that was out of both things were massive especially for this because of the anti-pride folks. What I initially noticed is that many of the police force looked young, and there is a reason for that. It is mandatory for all Korean males between the ages for 20-30 to do 18 months to 2 years of military service. I believe as part of it, or something you can do instead (not entirely sure) is be a part of the police force. That’s why almost every step of the way there were police lining up and down the sidewalk keeping civilians and anit-pride people at a distance from the pride walkers in the streets.