Shop til you drop


On Thursday, I took the subway to Incheon to visit my friend Jessica, a girl I studied abroad with in France. She too is teaching English for a year. Incheon is a big city but it has more of a suburban feel to it.

[Jessica in Incheon!]

Anyway, Jess and I got some lunch at a cute noodle restaurant. She needed to get back to her apartment though because a guy was coming by to install the internet. We didn't have enough time to go back on the subway, so we took a taxi instead. On our way there, the taxi guy was chatting it up and after about 2 minutes, I had to tell him I couldn't speak Korean. He said, "But you're speaking it right now!" and then proceeded to talk and ask questions for the rest of the ride there. When we got out of the cab, Jess was like, "You DO know how to speak Korean," but I had to explain to her that I didn't understand 75% of what the man was saying. I just nodded and laughed in agreement to everything...for all I know, he could have been saying, "You guys are idiots," and I still smiled and nodded :)

[Noodle soup with fishcake]

After the internet guy came, we went to Princess Cafe. And, boy, do they know how to stick to a theme...frilly curtains, velour couches, crystal chandeliers, flowery teacups, the whole shebang. I got an Americano and Jess got 2 pieces of chocolate cake and a mocha.

[Inside Princess Cafe]

[Most cafes in Korea are upstairs with big windows
overlooking the busy streets...perfect for people-watching :)]

We headed back to the subway station, which also doubles as an underground mall. I had about 30 minutes to spare before heading back to Seoul, so Jess and I wandered around like zombies, staring at the millions of shoes, clothes, jewelry and electronics. It was definitely sensory overload. And once I got back to Seoul, I met up with Jamie and a new friend, Christine, for more underground/subway shopping. In total, I spent about 4 hours experiencing the most chaotic shopping possible to mankind. Store owners were auctioning things off in a microphone, yelling things at me that I couldn't understand. Jamie and Christine thought it was so hilarious that I had no idea what the employees were saying to me. I'd just walk past them as they asked me some question and continued shopping.

[Tons and tons of nail polish]

[One hallway of the underground mall...there's about 15 of these that all connect]

[Shoes, shoes, shoes]

[So random: if you look closely, there's an "Obama" body scent..???]

I only bought a couple items but they were super cheap. I got a cardigan for 5,000 won (about $5) and a pair of trousers for 10,000 won. Not bad eh? As tempting as it is to buy a new wardrobe for under $100, you can guess that the quality of these clothes aren't exactly great. Plus, from what I've observed, most Korean women spend most of their time doing 2 things: working and shopping. Thousands of women flock to these shops every evening, all buying the same items. So there's a high chance that I'll see more than one person with my cardigan on the street...something I'd rather avoid.

[A picture taken before dinner with my new cardigan of course ;)]

The following day, I decided to explore Myeong-dong, the shopping mecca of Seoul. I didn't go to buy anything in particular. Rather, I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. I can't really describe how overwhelming it was to be surrounded by so many people and shops. Within 5 minutes of walking up the subway station steps and into the shopping district, I was mentally fried. It was like the underground shopping experience x 1000.

[I have no idea what is going on here, but this isn't unusual to
see when partaking in Korea's favorite pastime: shopping]

To save my sanity, I popped in my iPod, drowning out the chaos of Seoul and marched to my own beat and immediately I felt better. I walked slowly, soaking in as much of the scene as possible as girls in high heels pushed past me to get to their next shop. Rather than get a quick bite to eat, I bought some street food and ate at the cart, watching the lady make the food and multitask live I've never seen before. It was quite an experience and I'm glad I explored it by myself first. I think I'm going back with my cousin Ji-Hye this coming week...hopefully my initial experience prepped me for what's to come.

[Street food: pot stickers]

After a couple hours, I headed back to the apartment for a very important meeting, which I will explain in my next post. I also can't wait to share how insane my first weekend in Seoul was...

Until then, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! Have a beautiful day <3

Bisous xoxo


Susan said...

Fun, fun, fun. Mary asks me daily (with her eyes bugging out) if Sissy's written her back yet.

Michelle S. Kim said...

Your posts are so great, friend! Bummed we couldn't hang out before you left but we'll be virtual blog buddies for a while and I'm totally okay with that :)

jen said...

Hey Lys!
I didn't know you were teaching English in Korea, are you doing the Epik or TaLk program? I'm seriously considering doing it after graduation too! I visited Korea twice this summer and fell in love with it! What city are you teaching in? Also, if you get a chance you should fly over here to Taipei and have a visit :)