We decided to go explore Namdaemun market on a rainy Saturday after hearing it was one of the largest markets in Korea containing over 10,000 different stalls. The market is spread over several city blocks and is composed of outdoor streets lined with stalls, as well as multilevel buildings which we did not explore… Yet. We set out from the exit of the subway station and we were immediately greeted with the smells and sounds of local open air markets. We began to make our way through the maze like streets in search of something which would appeal to us. We found many unique vendors selling hand carved items, weaved baskets, socks with all kinds of characters and designs on them (huge here), clothing and many other items.
Austin wanted to check out Sungnyemun the name of the gate dating back to the Joseon Dynasty it is one of the Eight Gates in the Fortress Wall of Seoul. It burned down a few years ago but has since been rebuilt and restored to its original condition. It is always and odd feeling when you are standing beneath something that is so old when you are surrounded by the ultra modern city of Seoul.
We began to get hungry so we set out to locate the food vendor alley as it is rightly named. Austin was in the mood for kimbap (김밥) which is rice, cucumber, yellow radish, some sort of reed, and imitation crab. Kimbap has a few different variations but Austin prefers this one. We located a very nice Korean woman who directed us into her restaurant with the promise of an English menu. Although Austin no longer needs it has he reads Hangul fairly efficiently now (plus he knew he wanted Kimbap). We ordered cucumber kimbap which is filled with cucumber, rice, ham, yellow radish, artificial crab, and some roots. Korean food is fairly inexpensive each roll was 3,000 KRW which is less than 3 dollars Canadian. We had retro bottled coke to accompany our meal. Our meal was less than 10 Canadian dollars and we left feeling very full.
We had to return to the Airport station to pick up the newest member of our household . A few weeks ago we decided (maybe more I decided) to adopt a dwarf hamster. There is a website her called http://www.animalrescuekorea.org where cats, dogs, and other animals are up for adoption or can also be fostered. We decided to adopt Dexter from an American couple who were returning to the U.S. They were kind enough to purchase a new cage, ball, food, and bedding for little Dexter. To adopt him it cost 10,000 KRW less then 10$ Canadian, he is now happily living in our living room.