Shopping (and other things) in Seoul

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March 1st 2010
Published: March 2nd 2010
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Yet another long weekend in Korea. Of course, Im not complaining about them! After the trip to Beijing only two weeks earlier we decided to do something cheaper on this one. The weather was not scheduled to be any good anyway.
The days leading up to the weekend we had tossed and turned the idea of going to Busan. Eventually it was decided that we would got to Seoul and stay over on Saturday. Since the new highway opened last summer driving to Seoul has been really fast and the bus only takes around 70 minutes. This has made taking the train a very distant second option. The train from Namchuncheon to Cheongnyangni takes exactly 2 hours at a VERY slow speed, there is only one train every hour and there are numerous stops. However this weekend as I was taking the dog we opted to take the train.

We arrived in Seoul at noon and headed for Yongsan to begin the 'search for sneakers'. My friend was intending to buy some in Seoul and had seen some here before. We looked in iPark mall and didn't find anything. At this point I was still wearing the dog (in his bag) and was developing a sore neck. After an unsuccessful trip here we opted to separate and I would drop the dog at the dog hotel and my friend would head to Myeong-Dong to continue the search for trainers. It took 2hrs for me to get to the dog hotel and get to Myeong-Dong.
I am always surprised how long it takes to get places in Seoul. The longest subway ride Ive really used in London is to and from Heathrow and its about 45 minutes to South Ken from there and it always felt so long but its nothing compared to Seoul. Plus, I find the connections here are very few and far between.

Myeong-Dong was packed, even more than other times. I guess Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend is prime shopping time. We looked in every sports store for the shoes she wanted but there was an obstacle in each one. Mainly they didn't have her size in stock and she doesn't exactly have huge feet; a UK6. We were unsuccessful and it was pretty much the end of the day.

We decided to go to Itaewon next and get phone cards. We also checked the New Balance store and Athlete's foot, both to no avail. From Itaewon we went to the motel we had been told to try out. This was our first time in this area and we had directions from the subway station that included a McDonalds and a Paris Baguette as reference points. We got to Sincheon station and my friend got out the directions...
"Exit at McDonalds..." So that left us with 8 possible exits. We chose one randomly and came out fairly close to Mc D's.
"Walk straight until you reach Paris Baguette..." Mc D's was on a corner and 'straight' would depend which was you are facing at the time. We took the main street and there was a Paris Baguette which may or may not have been the right one.
"Turn right, its on the left..." So the right turn at Paris Baguette led us into a seedy, dark side street with stinky street food lining the sides. We were looking left and not seeing a motel. Then, boom there it was... Eros Motel ... we had found it on the first attempt! We went up to the reception and asked the price of a room. The guy quoted us 60,000 for a night which is a) more than we paid in other motels and b) more than my friend said she paid. We asked him for a better price and it went down to 50,000. We took it but may have got him lower, I don't know.

After a short rest and dropping of our bags we went to look around and find dinner. We walked around and realised it was mostly restaurants here. We ate at "on the boarder" Mexican restaurant and the food was expensive but the big portions made it worthwhile. We took some home to eat for breakfast the next day. From the restaurant we took the subway to Hongik to check out the area. It was gone 11pm at this time and we didnt know the time of the last train. It was busy at this place although we wern't sure why. There was a long line to get in/out of the subway at 11:15pm. Again this area was mainly restaurants and bars. We saw several drunk people who'd been Soju surfing for the last few hours. We left and went to the room to watch the huge TV.

Sunday morning 10:00am - back on the sneaker hunt! First stop, Dongdaemun. SUCCESS she found the ones she wanted in her size and bought them. She also got a 10,000 discount. With the spring back in her step (and the well-earned silence my ears were now getting) we headed back to Myeong-Dong to the large multi-storey on the first corss road. Its called "Uth 8". We found a discount sportswear stall and I found a great T-shirt - that wasn't in my size, of course. We then went to collect the dog from Puppy School and were planning to head to Childrens' Grand Park before taking the train home. However the plan was altered when it started to get very grey and look like it was about to piss it down. We thought it would be better to not be in the park at that time as we had no umbrella and several bags. We headed straight home with a very tired dog who slept for the entire train ride. i don't know what he gets up to at puppy school but he always leaves like he was out partying hard the night before!


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