Our research group had two amazing experiences today. We interviewed the Land and Housing Corporation (LH) as well as the Korean Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS). I personally went on the LH "tour" of affordable housing units in Seoul. Our guide was Senior Researcher, Meeyoun Jin, Dr. Lee (professor) as well as an interpreter. Both women were so hospitable and friendly. They picked us up at the hotel, took their entire morning to drive us to 3 separate areas, all while filling our research data with solid and interesting information. Our other group took the metro to KRIHS and had an unbelievable time with 3 lectures and a plethora of useful information for us to use in our project.
After our interviews we had a free afternoon to explore. A small group of us ate lunch at a local eatery then went to Namdaemun market, which is across the street from the Sungyemun Gate (Southern Gate). The market was busy with locals and tourists even on a rainy afternoon. What seemed like thousands of shops, vendors, and food carts lined this narrow marketway and the busy sellers plus the smell of grilled meats and fried sweets made your senses
explode. The market reminded me of our downtown shopping districts in LA. As we approached the far end of the market, the rain was picking up so we needed to get inside. Shinsegae mall was open and flourishing with people. This 14 story mall had everything you could imagine of high end clothing and accessories. It was Neiman Marcus on steroids! Our favorite part was our journey to the food court in the basement level. Gorgeous deserts, patisseries, markets, boba tea stations, and sit down bars filled the floor and people were buzzing through. We had some snacks and boba then headed back out into the rain. We ducked into a few shops in the market and within a short time the rain cleared and the sun came out. We took a few photos next to the Sungyemun Gate, grabbed a cab and headed back to the hotel.
I loved how the day started with formal interviews and ended with casual shopping and snacks. I also loved that the cab fare was only $5 to take you across town! I'm sad we don't have more time in Seoul, but hopefully I can make it back here in the future.
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