Tagged: Shopping

Fake Breitling and Rolex: Made in China

You can find much you don’t need on the streets of Beijing. $500 for the pair was her asking price, and after nearly 20 minutes of back and forth, I got them both for $95. Although they function and appear to be rather intricate forgeries, I still think I paid too much. Only time will tell. Ha.

seoul, take 2

In Korea, if you want the price lowered, you say “ga ga joosayo”. Hahaha. I think this is hilarious, and apparently so do some Koreans. The one time I used “ga ga joosayo” this past weekend at a jewelery store, the clerk flat-out laughed in my face. Then she called over the manager, repeated the phrase in a mocking tone, and he too laughed in my face. Did I just ask for a blow job? Only after the manager caught his breathe did he knock off 5000 KRW. Confused? Yeah me too.

Navigating our way through the spaghetti pile of subway stops and transfer stations was much easier the second time. We sat next to a Korean teenager on our first train from the Express Bus Terminal to Sinseol-dong. He was noticeably red in the face and, as they say in New England, right fackin’ pie-eyed. He ran off the train at the next stop, and puked in a storm drain next to a very well-dressed Korean man violently kicking a vending machine. Nobody seemed to notice except for us.

We stayed at two hostels, one in Sinseol-dong called Backpackers Korea (or something very close to that) and another near Hongik University called Hongdae Guesthouse 2.0. Nicknamed the “Yellow Submarine”, the Hongdae Guesthouse is managed by a middle aged Korean man named Henry. He looks like John Lennon, really, he does. For anyone looking for a cheap hostel at a great location in Seoul, look no further than the Yellow Submarine; 17000 KRW a night to stay in a newly renovated town house (carved up like a frat house) just a 15 minute walk from the ridiculous night life near Hongik University. The employees speak English and are VERY hospitable. Please enjoy.

Coming home from the 2009 Seoul Lantern Festival, we stopped at a bar called Texas, which oddly enough served mainly European beers — except for Sam Adams and Honey Brown. Don’t waste your time at this bar, unless you enjoy pissing your money away on skunk beer and second hand smoke. It was late, so we waved down a cab for a ride back to the hostel. Upon telling him were we were looking for the Yellow Submarine, he drove away immediately. Poor choice of words I think. No matter, the alley was awash with taxis. Another cab pulled up immediately, but when we tried to get in, the doors were locked. “Where are you going?” he said in perfect English. Hongik University Subway Station? “Yes I will take you there for 15,000 KRW.” The previous cab ride had cost half that amount. “We’ll just walk.” Confused, the cabbie rolled up his window and drove away. A third taxi driver pulled up… and the doors were not locked. As he raced us down the two four-lane road towards Hongik Station, he started frantically pushing he buttons on his GPS and made a few rather obscure left turns into alley ways and gas stations. It became clear to us that this cabbie did not know where he was going, or he was trying to rip us off by running up the meter. Either way, we wanted out. One of us said, “Yogeeyo”, which in Korean means “drop me off here asshole”. Lost somewhere in the general area of our hostel, there was only one solution; booze. Cackling like hyenas in front of a gas station as we ripped butts and mixed soju with beer, the Koreans passerby’s were magnificently unimpressed. It was then I said it; “I love this city.”

Yangdong Market in Gwangju

Yangdong is a traditional Korean marketplace, located in a large warehouse that is built atop the Gwangjucheon Stream. There you will find mostly butchers, fish mongers, seaweed dealers, tailors and farmers selling their latest crop. From the Grand Hotel downtown, walk North West along the stream for 15 minutes. Breathe deep. When it smells like low tide, you have arrived. Please share any recipes that you have; we are just dying to know how to make something with octopus or head of cow. Thanks to Erica for taking awesome pictures (she had to do it quickly to avoid offending people).


in Life

Street Markets in Korea

Of all things interesting, random shit is the most. Moon Handbooks: South Korea by Robert Nilsen recommended a trip to the outdoor antique market held on Art Street every Saturday. “On [weekends] only, this street turns into an art and antiques market called “Gaemi Marketplace”. As someone that used to rummage through antiques and collectibles looking for things to sell on eBay, these types of flea markets really get me excited, so this promised to be a real treat. From the unfinished Grand Hotel, we walked North West until we spotted a moderately sized Buddhist temple on our right, wonderfully juxtaposed amongst the modern high rise buildings of downtown Gwangju. While strolling the courtyard taking pictures, a bald and slender fellow wearing a strange outfit approached. I have seen ads for his pants on Craig’s List.

Was cleaning out my closet and found a pair of burlap colored MC Hammer pants. Was going to burn them and dance around the flames to try and make it rain or something, but thought maybe somebody would want these. They are the worst pants of all time. I have them all in a huge garbage sack sitting on the sidewalk. You must come pick up the bag if you want them. If anybody comes up and tears the bag, spilling those hideous things onto the street where my neighbors can see, I will be very unhappy.

This was Wongak-Sa, and we had just met the lead Buddhist Monk. He spoke good English and told us of his travels to America, and that the temple we were photographing cost $2 million. We talked for probably 30 minutes, then his cell phone rang, and he had to go. Art Street is maybe 2 blocks from here.
Art Street Flea Market Gwangju
In reality, the “Gaemi Marketplace” is maybe 4 or 5 vendors tops. I saw a lot of bells, books, pottery, paintings, watches, wallets, records (all shit), lighters, jewelery, silverware, sculptures, coins, buttons, knives — — mostly vintage, but there was a fair amount of cookie-cutter crap. The whole thing spans probably 100 feet of sidewalk and can be thoroughly explored in about 10 minutes. Damn you Nilsen! Looking through a box of old coins, records and bootleg watches, I found a bronze knife about 8 inches long that looked unique. As I picked it up, the merchant approached and said “Korean knife. Yes? Korean knife”. I emptied my front two pockets, signaling that I did not have any money. He responded by giving me a firm slap on the ass. Hmmm, what could I use to cut the tension? A Korean knife? Yes… a Korean knife.