Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Loitering at 7/11 and the Mall (I feel like I am 14 again)

We had so much fun exploring the city on Wednesday we decided to take the 500 down even farther on Thursday. We really wanted to see the actual ocean; we had been on Jeju Island for 3 days without ever seeing the ocean.  Again we really only knew the general direction of the ocean and we had no idea of any of the districts or landmarks of Jeju City. We took the 500 down the main drag going past the bus stop where we had gotten off the day before. Once the bus turned off the main drag we figured it was time to get off. We walked down the waterfront and just admired the view of the vast emptiness of the ocean. We reached the end of the path and were greeted by a variety of different seafood restaurants and stores which had aquariums filled with living seafood. We all gathered around the different tanks marveling at the freakish looking creatures from the depths of the ocean. We found some outdoor tables outside of a 7/11 right next to the strip of seafood stores and decided to hang out and have a few snacks while enjoying in the sun that we had not seen since getting to Jeju.
The path along the waterway

There was this creepy abandoned carnival right on the water front

Statues on the waterfront

Buffer of cement before the shops on the waterfront

Rusted up punch o meter. These machines remind me of Final Fantasy VII.

The SSU Crew inspect the local maritime food
Shops along the pier-like end of the waterfront.


7-11, our familiar convenience store. No Slurpee's though... 
Our view from the 7-11

These souvenirs are everywhere, they look like they have licked a few too many toads.

The "white trash" selection at the local thrift store

After we got our fill of trail mix and vitamin D we moseyed back to where we had gotten off the bus. We walked through an outdoor mall like alley there were a few dingy little shops with shop keepers in them watching small tube TVs or just napping. When we emerged back onto the bustling street where we had gotten off Professor McCuan noticed stairs leading underneath the street, just like stairs leading to a subway. He suggested that it might be the underground mall which he had heard about a few days before. Of course we were all excited about going to a mall that was literally underneath the street so we hopped on down the less than glamorous staircase. When we walked onto the landing we were instantly mesmerized by what we saw. The mall is not like an American mall where you have a number of large stores which carry a wide variety of things; rather this mall had a hundreds of small stores that could barely fit any merchandise at all. Most of the stores were about the size of a standard dorm room, and the mall was designed so that you would walk down this hall and look into these tiny stores.  When we were standing in the center of the mall looking down to the other end I originally thought there had to be mirrors somewhere to explain the depth of the mall. It was very interesting walking through the mall, although we had to be very careful to stick together as a group as to not get lost. The vast majority of the stores were for women’s clothes probably at a 5:1 ratio, so I rarely explored any of the stores further then a casual glance.

Our grand entrance to the underground mall

Jungang Underground Shopping Center Jeju
This picture does the mall no justice, you could look as and as far as you could see would be more mall. It was insane.

Jungang Underground Shopping Center Jeju, Underground mall jeju

Each sign is a new store

ICE BURGER! Probably going to be one of my life's regrets that I did not buy this.

Once we arrived at the opposite end of the mall we decided it was time to leave the cave of consumerism and to return to the surface.  Right as we exited the mall we saw another alley filled with small storefronts, however this market was selling various types of fresh seafood, a stark change from the underground mall. The crowd at the fish market was much older as were the storekeepers. It was immediately clear that the style of the underground mall was taken from the style of the traditional market, small storefronts with small selections. The street was littered with different types of fish, squids, mushrooms, oranges, and a variety of cooked food that was sitting in open containers on the street. All of the shop keepers were elderly women and would smile as they caught me staring at their exotic foods; a few were catching a quick nap while waiting for customers. We didn’t linger over any one store for too long slightly fearful of the samples that the storekeeper would hand us. I am an adventurous eater but I wasn’t feeling eating raw fish from street vendors.
The beginning the fish market 

Open bowls of deliciousness

Waiting for customers

Fish market in Jeju City
Decapitating fish

The market was expansive this is just one side of the market

Shoppers looking for the best deal on seafood

Buying the specialty dish


Outside of the fish market, citrus is huge here. 

Outside of the main fish market, I get the impression that these women could not make rent and were forced to have a unsanctioned market on a side street.

Moped drivers will kill you. They ride on the side walks and rev up when they want you to move over. Often times they are doing it just to decrease delivery time for hot burgers. 

Another side alley thrift store. I want to go back to get a Korean T-Shirt or a T-Shirt with horribly mistranslated English phrases on it, those seem to be popular. 

The market was a prime example of the amount of different sensory stimuli that I have felt as I have traveled around Jeju. The blended smell of the different fishes, various foods and the cars passing by was truly unique and is something that cannot be easily replicated. The smells on top of the sounds of mopeds whizzing through the alley at unsafe speeds, horns honking, the sound of knives cutting through fish and the chatter of hundreds of people chattering in a foreign language paired with the visual scenery of brightly lit signs, crooked buildings on crooked streets, tiny markets with storekeepers preparing the fish right in front of the storefront, and the people who grew up and lived in a different culture going about their daily business. Everything is different. It is an amazing feeling; it feels to me like I am a child again rediscovering the world around me. It is the fun “honeymoon” period of staying in a foreign country, and I am enjoying it immensely

After the fish market we headed back to the same restaurant that Ethan and I had gone to on Tuesday, lucky for us the same ROTC student who spoke English was there and acted as our defacto waiter. I asked him about the kimchee soup, the same style as the boiling magma soup from Monday, he warned that it may be too spicy for me so of course I took that as a challenge. Everyone else got the delicious grilled pork and we all stuffed our faces with deliciousness and went to bed with our stomachs happy.

More shots of Jeju City

Looks different with sun, eh?

These trees are dope

Jeju National University
Student Union at Jeju National University

Another building at Jeju National University

Our dorm in the setting sun

1 comment:

  1. How was the Kimchi soup, spicy enough for you?

    Malls can be crazy in Asia. You should definitely buy some t-shirts with korean words or badly translated english.