A report on the number of immigrants over the last year caused a surprisingly bitter response from most of the media. One paper, The Independent, stood up and claimed that immigration is what makes this country a great and diversified place to live. Their article, Immigration: This island’s story, talks about the quite varied background of the people of Britain. As an immigrant to Britain of course I agree with them. It’s made me pick up the Independent every once in a while just to show my support.
I noticed something when we were walking through Seoul station after booking our train tickets to Busan. I thought it was just an oversight but then I kept seeing it over and over. Everywhere we went had nice, brand new flatscreen televisions. The world cup is a huge deal in Korea and so it wasn’t a surprise that everyone was showing it. What did surprise me was the stickers that were left on most of them. A sticker on the top right that said “XD System” was always left on the television. I think that everyone left the stickers on so that they could return the televisions after the world cup was over. Of course, Yu Kyoung disagrees with me but I’ll check to see if every single restaurant, pub and store we go into on our next visit still has the television. And if they do, if anybody ever got around to removing the stickers!
The title could just as well read Emart: Korean Walmart but since I’ve been living in the UK for over five years now Asda is more familiar to me than Walmart. Of course, they are the same company in the end but that’s neither here nor there. Emart is a department store that seems to have retained some of the ownership of where to place clothing. These days you are forced to shop for clothes by brand instead of the infinitely more useful shopping by clothing style or by the type of event you plan on wearing it to.
Emart also has free samples. I thought it would be quite rude not to sample local fare so we graciously accepted all the food that was offered to us. This turned out to be quite a lot in variety and quantity! We had soup and kimchi and drinks and even dessert! In the end all I could say was “Bepola. Kaja.” This translates into “I’m full. Let’s go.”
So we did.
Staying up to watch a football match that ended at 06:00 doesn’t do much for settling your mind and body from the effects of jetlag. We didn’t wake up until 15:15 which I guess you could call sleeping in since it was just over 9 hours of rest! We went to Myungdon to do some shopping. I couldn’t help but think that my mom would love to shop here because of the variety of brands and clothing. I had a rough time adhering to my no-logo mantra while shopping in Korea. It took me the whole trip to find an unbranded shirt and when I did I bought four of them in different colours!
We bought a traditional sugar cookie with a shape etched into it. The game is that if you can break off the outer pieces of the cookie and keep the internal shape intact then you take it back and you get another one for free. I only clipped two edges from my star but those small mistakes were enough to keep me from my free cookie. This wasn’t really a problem since the overwhelming taste of sugar from the first one was lingering in my mouth even after a couple bottles of water. Maybe I’m too old to enjoy pure sugar treats anymore!
For lunch we met Jooyoung again for Myoung Don, a spicy chicken with noodles. It was quite tasty. We once again had the waitress ask whether or not I, as a non-Korean, could handle spicy food and had to explain to her that I could probably eat spicier food than she could. Not that she believed that of course but it probably is true. I’ll sweat like mad while I’m doing it but I’ll enjoy it all the time and I’ll pour on more hot sauce.