I have been back in Nova Scotia for a week now and the jet lag is just starting to abate. Not much could have prepared me for falling asleep during the day and getting up at 3AM for days on end. Lucky for me I have some insomniac friends to talk to at that hour. After a couple of evenings taking an ativan and two melatonin I think I am on the road back to humanity.
I had not told you about the fun shopping experiences I had in Korea, in particular the markets. They say that if you can’t find it in the market in Seoul, then you probably don’t need it. I concur. One thing I wanted to buy was some colorful, traditional silk materials for my quilting and I was not disappointed. We went to some kind of manufacturers place where there were miles and miles of indoor fabric shops. Unfortunately most of them would only sell a minimum of five yards, so I had to content myself with some sample pieces.
With the help of my interpreter Jonas, I was able to swing a deal. And I think that both the lady and I were happy with each other, even if we didn’t speak the same language.
Another market Dan and I went to was Dongdaemun market in Seoul. This place was so huge it would take many trips to see just a fraction of it all. There was everything from underwear, socks, dried fruits, pig heads (I kid you not), dried fish, pottery, teas, and lots of ginseng. This body-shaped root was everywhere, as Korea is one of the few places in the world where it is grown. It has many health benefit claims but the common folkloric ones are that it is a stimulant, a good treatment for type 2 diabetes and for sexual dysfunction in men. I didn’t make up that last one, by the way. It tastes not bad, but I think I like ginger better. I did manage to buy a green pottery vase which seems to be the thing to get when in Korea. There were many price ranges for them, depending which kiosk you shopped at. I paid 25$ for mine; when I went to the airport they had the same one, same size at the duty free shop for 75$. So I guess I got a bargain.
There were many jewelry manufacturers in the marketplace. So much dazzle all in one place ! It was difficult to choose, but I did manage to find a few pairs of earrings that, once removed from the glittering wall of them, looked pretty good.
There were coffee shops abounding, but a cuppa joe was costing between 4000 and 6000 won. In the convenience stores they had a ” hot fridge” where there were cans of coffee, and they were hot! You just pop the lid like on a can of pop and ingest your caffeine. What next?
Olympic park was a treat! It was just a five minute walk from Dan’s place, and so we went there for a walk. It was just beautiful in winter; I can only imagine it in summer with all the roses.
People were there taking a walk or a jog and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw an outdoor gym at the top of a little hill, complete with treadmills, elliptical trainers and bench presses with weights. So people would go for a run; then bench press some weights and then continue on. Dan told me that there were outdoor gyms in almost all the parks and they are used winter and summer. No wonder there are no overweight people in Seoul!
All in all it was a wonderful trip; the first time off the continent for this Maritimer. But the best part was spending time with my son Dan and meeting his girlfriend Sara. Thanks Dan! XO