Tuesday, August 6, 2013

parting from seoul with an aimless walk


Dongdaemun, Seoul

after browsing the photos from my camera, i realized i had taken only a few during my aimless walk around dongdaemun, namdaemun, and then myeongdong. it has always been my conscious goal to take more photos but it ends up being less. sometimes when i get too amazed with the new sights around me, i just let my eyes stare momentarily at the awesomeness of everything. as there are many exciting and most of all foreign things, i can only gape in wonder. no words. just taking it all in. but unfortunately, without clicking that camera button.

however, i managed to snap a close-up photo of the steaming pots that looked so tempting for everyone who happened to pass by this restaurant. with the freezing weather, anyone can surely make use of a bowl of piping hot soup. i bet it would be spicy though.

and the soup would look like this.

Dongdaemun, Seoul

curiosity got the better of me that i went over to see what's cooking but i still had no idea after. haha! i took this photo for about a split second because i was imagining someone from the shop would barge out from the door and would ask me what the heck i was doing. either the caught-in-the-act awkwardness or the admonishing in korean would definitely scare my wits away.

Dongdaemun, Seoul

not another cautionary story, i saw these books in stacks at the only open store along a block. i actually got excited, only to know that the books were in korean (of course). or i hadn't examined the books thoroughly but i did see many educational books (because of the graphic illustrations you know. hah!).

Dongdaemun, Seoul

then, i stumbled upon this historical site when i went towards dongdaemun's shopping complex but again due to the lunar new year holidays, most of the shops were closed. i can't say that it's a totally unfortunate situation because i had to earnestly consider my decreasing dough after all.

correct me if i'm wrong which i may probably be. this is the the dongdaemun gate, the east main gate which was built all the wayyyyyy back in 1396 by king taejo. not by himself of course (all you sarcastic people) but his subservient followers.

while at this area, i had a brief and interesting encounter with a man who was selling korean cookies and crackers, which came in various shapes and sizes. most of the cookies were coated with sesame seeds either black or white. he tried to persuade me in buying by pointing at which part of the body that benefits a certain variety. i did try a sample and while i was munching on my free goodies, he asked me where i was from and i told him that i'm from the philippines. his face lit up and he talked about how thankful he was for the filipinos who helped them during the korean war. he even pointed towards a presumed direction of a building which he said, the filipino soldiers helped to build. he then made another grateful action with his hands.

this is one of those times i regret not having taken a picture. i hope my memory serves me well someday.

filipino soldiers in the korean war, is a fact. this, i was able to confirm when i visited the philippine military academy museum last may. there was a specimen of a herculean-looking boot (because there was only one) which the filipino soldiers used during the harsh winter in korea. it looked painfully heavy. :( i couldn't imagine how tragically difficult it was to go through winter (let alone war though), most especially that the philippines is a tropical country.

Dongdaemun, Seoul

Dongdaemun, Seoul

moving on a lighter note, this is what i mean with closed shops! the above photo was taken from dongdaemun underground shopping complex (apparently, undergrounds were my refuge from the freezing cold).


Namdaemun Market, Seoul

Namdaemun Market, Seoul

since i was already at the underground level, i decided to head over to namdaemun by hopping on a subway train. after a few train stops, i arrived at the namdaemun market which was buzzing with much more activities than in dongdaemun. i found many different kinds of shops, selling from souvenir trinkets and whatnots to seaweed snacks and what korea is famous for, ginseng. as in many areas in seoul, street food galore was also evident in namdaemun. i had in mind to try some street food but alas, my stomach could only accommodate so much that even my resolve had failed to stretch it. how could i miss out on the fresh korean strawberries when it's sold at an expensive price elsewhere! huhu


Myeongdong, Seoul

after buying a few souvenir items from namdaemun market, i backtracked my way to myeongdong, not by walking for pete's sake. but by train even if it was only one train stop away! i didn't want to impose a risky venture in finding my way, not with the night taking its turn and certainly, not with the biting cold.

i made a repeat scene in myeongdong because when i was here on my first day, i saw a lot of coffee shops almost in every corner. but because i bought seoul-exclusive starbucks tumblers, i was forced to claim the free drink. sigh. if ever in some distant future, i will be back in this side of the world, my main agenda will be food (many street foods) and coffee!

to console myself, i capped my short myeongdong escapade with a bit of shopping.

ta-ta seoul!


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