Tuesday, September 23, 2008

treasure hunt (for sandals) and movies

Seoul has many many markets that one can get lost in. Last weekend my friend and I spent hours getting lost in different markets and shopping areas. There is everything to extremely fancy and expensive shopping malls to night street markets where you are expected to haggle for a good price. There are still quite a few markets that I have yet to check out. I'm usually not one for spending time shopping, but in Seoul it's a fun excuse to just wonder around the city and explore. It's very hard to find shoes and sandals that fit me here, so it took many days to be able to finally find a pair of work sandals; at my school you have to wear slippers/sandals once inside the building. I ended up finding a pair of nice and good priced sandals in a small store underground that was in the process of closing for the night. The rather old lady that was running the small shop pushed the deal by discounting the sandals to a very affordable and reasonable price. Usually to find western sized shoes you have to spend a pretty penny, or in this case won.

Also the food here continues to please my appetite. I feel that it is almost cheaper to eat out than to cook, which works out in my favor. (That is Korean food is a good deal, western food here is fairly expensive)

Here are my top 3 food options for a typical dinner:
1. bibimbap- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibimbap
2. tuna kimbap w/ soup- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimbap
3. any type of noodels

There are many small kimbap or noodle shops that sell these dishes at a reasonable price. Oh, and kimchi is served with basically every meal in Korea. It tastes great; especially with rice (which is also served at almost every meal). Kimchi might taste a little hot if your not used to spicy foods; Koreans in general enjoy the hot flavors. There is always red pepper paste around if any particular dish is not spicy enough for their individual taste. But it is not too hard to find non-spicy dishes if that is not your thing. You will just need someone to translate for you.

Also, I found an art cinema in Seoul that was showing late eighties and early nineties Korean movies, which was part of a retrospective. Supposedly there are a few more art cinemas around; although the one I went to I think was the 'official' one of Seoul. And since Seoul is an international city, it is not too hard to find English subtitles. It is amazing to see older Korean cinema compared to their contemporary cinema; there is a vast difference in production quality. Although the movies I saw might have had bad lighting and sound production, the stories were solid and entertaining. Contemporary Korean movies have a very polished, almost Hollywood aesthetic to them. Hollywood actually has remade a few Korean movies.


Clint said...

Wow...What a cool adventure. I am glad that you found some shoes that fit you. The pictures you posted look amazing!

Caroline said...

Hey Steven! Blake just now gave me the address for your blog. I've been doing so much research on SMOE and Seoul in general lately, and it has made me SO excited about next year....now all we have to do is get accepted. I'm really nervous about it, actually. We are submitting our applications and resumes later this week, so wish us luck! We are using Korea Connections, is that who you went through? Also, I have a friend who is teaching in Seoul through Berlitz, you guys should totally hang out. Here is a link to his blog:
His name is Adam Lipper, I'm pretty sure you can find him on facebook if you want to get in touch with him. Hope everything is going great, let me know if you have any advice on the application process! Laterrr