Yesterday, I taught my Monday 4pm Bridge Reading class becuase it had been cancelled on Monday due to Lunar New Year. Afterwards, a bunch of the CDI and April teachers went out to a galbi (갈비) restaurant for dinner to celebrate Blake’s (the head instructor at April) birthday. Suwon is suppose to have the best galbi in Korea and this place was pretty delicious (and expensive! but that’s okay every once and a while).

After dinner, Maggie (the CDI faculty manager) and Jason (who works at Dongtan) said they were going shopping at Dongdaemun (동대문, meaning “Great East Gate” as Jason told us) in Seoul. Dondaemun is home to both the Dongdaemun Market and the Night Market, where you can buy all kinds of clothes and accessories. Quinn and I decided to tag along and possibly pick stuff up for cheap.

On a side note, Jason was telling us that Namdaemun (남대문, meaning “Great South Gate; also known as Sungnyemun -숭례문 – or “Gate of Exallted Ceremonies”) was apparently burned down in 2008 by some 69-year-old man. He burned down South Korea’s greatest treasure because, apparently, some land developers didn’t pay him in full for the land he sold them. And this wasn’t the first time he turn to arson to solve his problems – trying to burn down Changgyeonggung Palace… How is this guy managing to burn down Korea’s NUMBER ONE NATIONAL MONUMENT and a freaking palace?

Back to Dongdaemun! It was a neat little area and I wish I had brought my camera with me because the gate at night was pretty cool. We also drove by the bell they ring at (Solar) New Year. After sitting in traffic that shouldn’t have been there for a good amount of time, we eventually arrived at the Night Market, which is several streets of heavily packed yellow tents. Quinn and I got separated from Maggie and Jason pretty early on (yay for cell phones) so we ended up wandering over to Doota!, one of the department stores of Dongdaemun market.

SO. The Market. Jason had warned us it would be overwhelming for newbies and the night pretty sufficiently insulated us from being extremely overwhelmed but even in just Doota! … there was a lot going on. First of all, Dongdaemun market has 26 shopping malls. That’s not 26 stores – that’s 26 separate malls. With in each mall, there’s like… A LOT of stores…

Quinn and I wandered around Doota!, speaking German (we decided we need to learn the German word for ‘snazzy’) and marveling at the many-buckled shoes and that crazy sweater thing that zippers across the chest instead of down. I finally got a belt, which I’ve been putting off getting for it seems forever, for no particular reason. Quinn really wanted to get suspenders. I was pretty skeptical that we would find any but somehow, after looking at only two stores on the men’s clothing floor, we found them.

After that, we met back up with Maggie and Jason at Hello A/PM, another mall, where haggling was abound! Jason managed to get a ₩150,000 suit for only ₩100,000. Quinn (who I need to bring with me any time I plan to haggle because he’s pretty much vicious) was able to get a vest and jeans for a pretty great discount. However, it took so long to eventually get to that discount that I can’t remember how much the price was at the beginning. But the guys and gal at that stand of clothing were very friendly and excited to hear we were from the US and Canada.

To end the night, we all went back to the Night Market and picked up a couple of small things. Knowing that soon my sneakers will be giving out, I picked up a pretty cool pair of blue hiking boots (picture to come), which will hopefully come in handy when the weather starts getting nicer and I try hiking around the mountains of Suwon.

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