G-Star Journal: Day 3, Part 2 continued – Signs, Subways and Street Food

So after covetously eyeing all the seafood at Jalgachi, I turned away from the water and toward the hills. Walking into the streets I ran into seriously, the biggest, most crowded and most incredible shopping and dining area I’ve ever seen.

Were I twenty years younger, I would've totally bought these.

Shops lined all the floors of 2-3 story buildings and the narrow streets were packed with vendors selling clothes, shoes, handbags, sleepwear, hats, Hello Kitty – you name it. Squeezed in among the vendors were little carts selling all kinds of street food on sticks. I had no idea what any of it was, since the signs were all in Korean but most of the carts were mobbed by groups of people munching away.

Where non-foreigners go to eat.

I was sort of intimidated by the cart crowds so I stalled by going to a little 2nd story coffee joint called “Zoo Coffee House”. As you might expect, it boasted a zoo motif, with lots of wood and bamboo and jungle animals. I ordered a sweet treat called Honey Bread, a thick french toast looking thing with ice cream on top of it.

So funny – I might be too old to make an impression on the men anymore, but I’m doing OK with the women. First I have my dinner paid for last night and then as I was sitting there waiting for my honey bread, the young girl who took my order came to my table and very shy, said, “I like you. I would like to be friends. I give you one more ice cream,” then giggled and jogged away. Cute as a button.

She likes me! She really likes me! =P

It’d be nice to think that I’m just so likeable, people here can’t help but want to buy me things. Experience however, tells me that’s not the case. My guess is that the girl wanted to practice her English and was using the few phrases she remembered from an old ESL program. I mean, if I went to Spain and had to rely on what I’d retained from my years of wasted Spanish classes, I’d be stopping everyone and saying, “I have come from the library. Where is the shoe store?”

Anyway, when my new young friend brought me the honey bread, I thanked her but was mildly horrified to see how big the thing was. It was easily enough for three people and although it was good, I was only able to eat a third of it before feeling kind of ill.

Enough stomach ache for an entire boy scout troop.

After that, I was desperate for something savory and had built up the courage to try my luck at a food cart. I found one finally that wasn’t horribly crowded and got a sort of pancake with some kind of green onion in it. Dee-licious.

Who knew a buck-eighty could buy so much flavor?

Two dignified, grandmotherly types were cooking ‘em right there on a small griddle and serving them up with a soy saucish condiment and a cup of broth. After eating it all, I was uncomfortably stuffed and you know what it cost me? 2000 Korean Won. That’s like, $1.80. So cool.

It took a while post-pancake, to be able to move faster than a slow waddle, so I meandered through the streets looking at all the stuff. It was totally overwhelming. I wanted to buy souvenirs for friends and family, but I suffered a kind of sensory overload and didn’t end up with much. Eventually I ran out of energy and decided to head back to my hotel. Now I’m back and getting set to take myself a little nappy-poo. Gotta rest up. I got a party to go to!

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