Dongdaemun

Ginger and I slept Friday night at a jjimjibang (bath/sauna) so we could wake up in Seoul. We stayed at a pretty nice one, with more tubs than our Guri spot, and had this “ajumama” (the real word Koreans use for the older ladies is ajuma) show us what we were supposed to do. First she grabbed us as we were getting out of the hot tub and pulled us into the sauna- which also had a tub- she watched as we climbed in, turned on the jets and left. The steam room was really intense and I felt like I needed the cold tub to cool off.

We got in the cold tub and she came running over to guide us to stand in front of these super powerful water jets that I thought were going to blast my stomach apart. It made me laugh and I actually got a little hysterical- it left my guts cold for a very long time afterwards.

Upon leaving the baths, we got coffee and stopped at a food stand, for a small bag of these hot, pancake like bread things filled with-sweet beans. We didn’t have a plan and were close to Dongdaemun, and decided to head over there.

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Dongdaemun is a city with in a city. It’s both underground and high above, inside and outside, made of tents, tunnels and small boutiques. Seoul is already so stuffed with shopping but this “shopping district” is bigger than I could have imagined and crammed with merchandise.

Every space seems filled and most the halls are narrow so you’re pushing you’re through racks of jeans, and t-shirts with fantastic English like “The Deer that made a Garden” “Taste a cup of my mind colors” and “Treasured Favorite of Cute Animals”.

You could get lost for hours in stalls filled with fabric and blankets. There are rows upon rows upon rows of shoes. I couldn’t help but wonder what happens to all them–because there is no possible way that they all get sold.

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