We had a day off this Friday for Korea’s foundation day. Not the foundation of the modern state, but way back in the day-even before the Jeoson Dynasty. It was nice to have another break. Really, Korea is spoiling me. First, we had three days off for Chuseok, and now this! I shouldn’t get too used to it though. There are no National Holidays in November. I’m still okay with that. I have the weekends to go exploring.
I tried to do one new thing every vacation day. On Friday, I took the subway down to the local stream. I’d never been to that part of town, so it was nice to just look at the local shops on the way. Since my area is more industrial, we have more construction and sign making shops- that sort of thing. By the stream, there were more restaurants and beauty shops.
The stream has more wildlife than anywhere else I’ve visited so far. There are herons, egrets, ducks, flocks of pigeons, and giant koi in and around the stream. Pigeons may not seem like a big deal, but there are so few of them here! Just today, a flock of sparrows surprised me on my walk. Those were the first sparrows I’ve seen.
It’s really popular with locals for biking and exercise. They have recreation equipment dotted along the walkway. You can play basketball, tennis, croquet(nope. Not kidding), or do some hula hooping. They have giant black hula hoops, and I saw some adjummas using them. Probably the most unusual installation was a path of black rocks embedded in the sidewalk. You are supposed to walk on them with your shoes off. I guess it’s soothing? Another older woman was using it, and she didn’t seem to be in pain.
I’m really happy with all of the exercise equipment that is available to the public in Korea. I used to see a lot of machines in Southern California, but it wasn’t in the best shape. Maybe it was more of a fad in the 80’s, because I remember seeing them in the early 90’s. There was some installations along the bike trail in New Mexico, but I very rarely saw them in use. The Korean machines seem to be pretty well cared for, and used frequently.
The trail goes on for quite a ways. I’m not sure how far, but it took me an hour to get to one end. Actually, I was a little too stubborn. When I saw how close the mountain range was to the trail, I decided to walk till the end. Ha ha! Looks are deceiving. It was worth the spectacular view, but it was a long ways back.
I ventured off of the path in search of food at one point. My face was growing pinker by the minute, and my throat had dried up a while ago. I stopped at a cafe called Sleepless in Seattle. It’s a Korean chain. The kiwi yogurt smoothie was tasty and filling, which is what I really needed.
When I got back to the subway, I made a stop in downtown. The craft store I have been trying to shop at for the past few weeks was finally open! I bought a pair sewing scissors and some yarn. The scissors were around 30,000 Won, which is around $30. Yes, it’s expensive, but I’m used to those kind of prices for sewing scissors back home. The yarn was about $9, which is super high compared to prices back home. It’s very good quality, but I probably won’t do much knitting or crocheting while I’m here.
On Saturday, I visited Seomun Market for the first time. Seomun Market is one of the big reasons I chose Daegu over other Korean cities, and I was not dissapointed. It wasn’t too hard to reach from the subway station. It’s Sinam Station. Just go up exit 1, and keep walking down sock street. It’s not hard to tell you’re on the right path,because everyone is selling socks. In fact, I bought a cute pair with Scream on them.
The market is a little overwhelming at first. There is so much to see. The food vendors are the first thing you spot from the entrance.
People are selling dried fish, raw fish, fruits, rice, everything. I had to wander through a few of the buildings before I found the fabric vendors. I was in heaven. There is fabric everywhere. A faint chemical smell permeates the air, but it’s not overwhelming.
Many of the fabric vendors specialize in hanbok, or traditional korean clothing. The silks they sell are fabulous, but a bit much for everyday wear. I settled on some red and white buffalo checkered fabric. I’m a little ashamed to say that I have no idea what kind of fabric it is. It feels like cotton blend, but I can’t say more than that. It costs 24,000 won. I was decently happy with the price until I got home and measured it. It’s four and a half yards! That is a really good deal. I can make two dresses out of that.
The woman whom I bought the fabric from had an adjushi lead me over to the thread and zipper vendor afterwords. The spool of thread was 1,500 won, and the zipper was 500 won. Such a great price! I am going to be doing a lot of sewing this winter.
I stopped at a small cafe in the market after that. There are several little fully designed cafes hidden in the market. They look a little jarring compared to the booths with food and other items. The royal milk tea was very good. I’ve struggled finding drinks that aren’t overly sweet here, and this one hit the spot. Just steamed milk and tea.
When I got back home, I bought some Twigum Mandu for dinner. Twigum Mandu is fried dumplings. I was totally unaware of this when I ordered it, but I don’t regret it. They may not be the healthiest, but it was a tasty one time treat.
I went out again that day and got some Bungo Bbang. These are fish shaped waffles with red bean paste in them. Three of these bad boys were 1,000 won. They are so good. Really, I should stay as far away from them as possible, because they will disappear into mah belleh.
Reading this, I’m realizing how many fatty yet delicious foods I had. Oops. Yesterday wasn’t the healthiest day food-wise, but it’s okay. I can always be more active and food conscious today.
In fact, I’m going back to the stream to ride my bicycle. The weather is cooling down with the arrival of fall, and I don’t mean to waste it. This is my favorite time of year!