Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Shopping!

We got up bright and early this morning and discovered the first (sticking) snow!  There was only a tiny bit here, and there wasn't any in Seoul, but it was very cold all day.  I imagine we might get more tonight.

Oddly, there was snow in the valleys, but not in the hills.

Just a little white dusting.

We got on the 8:00 nonstop bus and arrived in Seoul at the same time we do when we take the 7:30 one, 9:30.  I think we'll just take the 8:00 from now on.

We didn't do any sight seeing and we didn't take many photos since we were Christmas shopping , but we did take a few to share with you all.

We spent nearly the whole day in Namdaemun Market and the shopping district around it.  We took a break around three to get some Indian food from a new place near Ewha Women's University.  The food was really great.  We were so happy and so, so full (we each had a samosa and garlic naan and I ordered Dal Makhani and Ian got Baoli Handi).  There was an Indian woman dining there with her Korean friend and she spoke with us briefly asking if we liked the food.  She is a student at the university and thought that I might also be.  Sometimes we wish we were still students.  It's so strange not to be.

We stopped at Starbucks (twice, actually because we were so cold later in the day) and were delighted to find a little Christmas spirit there.

Christmas cups!  The place was decorated and they had their seasonal items, too.  Though they did not have the usuals (like Peppermint) they had a Toffee Nut Latte and A Dark Cherry Mocha on the menu, as well as a black forest cake.

We found a white pigeon outside Starbucks.  But, we had a hard time photographing him as he and his two friends wanted nothing to do with us once they figured out we had no food.

There was evidence of the holiday season in Seoul, but it was almost entirely commercial.  I know many Americans (myself included) complain about the commercialization of Christmas in the U.S., but there's definitely a something transcends the cultural spending spree.  There's a feeling about it; it's pretty difficult to describe without sounding trite.  But, in Seoul, it's obvious that the Christmas makeovers that some stores are sporting have nothing to to with joy and everything to do with capital gain.  Maybe it's just difficult to tap into their cultural emotions about Christmas.  Nonetheless, it was welcoming to see it.

Store in Namdaemun selling holiday decor.  There were several such shops.

Lights on a commercial building, I think it may have been Chanel.

A statue near the Chanel building decked out for the season.

Here are a couple of random fun things we thought we'd share:

Look hard at the woman in the apron.  She's carrying several trays of food on her head.  There are many women hustling around the market delivering orders to the shopkeepers.  They move very quickly and they weave in and out of crowds with ease.  It's pretty amazing.

I found the baby brother to the Japanese piggy bank I have at home.  They're exactly the same, except this one is tiny.

The majority of our Seoul trip is top secret, since it regards gifts.  But, it was very laid back and we had a great time.  We're a little over halfway finished with our shopping, the rest of which can be done in Jecheon (except for one difficult thing). 

We got notice of a package today (probably the one from Rob and Danie), so hopefully it's down in the guard room.  I'll be sure to post about it tomorrow if it is.

Good night!


  1. Sounds like a fun day, after your screwy week with Julia. The pigeons walking away from you crack me up!

  2. Glad you had a great day of shopping. Still find it kind of sureal that you are shopping in Seoul Korea. Hope you are drinking in the whole experience. Stay warm, the snow looks lovely.