All in an Afternoon in Itaewon, Seoul

Seoul Travel Blog

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All in an afternoon in Itaewon


Where else can you witness a small truck overloaded w/ every conceivable household item reminiscent of the peddlers of yesteryear America? And after that, going down the sidewalk is the amputee beggar in his big floppy hat, pushing along his little boombox, providing music to the shoppers on Itaewonno. As he has no legs, we must be careful not to trip over him.

Next, as I waited in line for the ATM, a 20 or so year old foreigner, North American, was propped up against the wall,his Korean girlfriend w/ huge fake eyelashes and impeccable make-up helping to hold him up. He was tryin' to look fly for a white boy. This isn't so unusual, but he grossed me out when he spit and it went straight into his untied high tops. The girlfriend proceeded to yell "OOH, gross, you spit in your fucking shoe!"

Then it's across the street to see what jewelry the Egyptians have for sale today as often they have some decent deals. Especially when they are so high they can barely talk.

If you need a personalized card made, be sure to ask the man in the entrance to the Hamilton Shopping Arcade. He will whip one out beautifully in a matter of minutes.

The walk to "What the Book?" is always interesting as the prostitutes come out of doors in frightening outfits and makeup and try to flag down foreign guys to visit their bar!! A new magazine or Lonely Planet in tow, I stop by the foreign grocer. Always great to hear shoppers exclaiming over finding their favorite cereal or chocolate or spice.

I go to the New York Wholistic Health Center whenever I can--maybe the best chiropractor and masseurs ever! Follow that with a delicious buffet a few doors down at Marrakech Night. The falafel melt in your mouth and the hummus and baba ganoush are to die for, let alone the hot dishes. The owner is friendly and accomodating and speaks several languages. Bon Appetit!

My day wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Well-Being shop. Chi-young is likely the most energetic person in the city and full of innovative ideas and projects. She is a great friend to have and just might hook you up with a deal on an imperfect salt lamp. As small as this place is, I have met several interesting people in there.

Amazing encounters happen in Itaewon as well. I once ran into acquaintances in Starbucks who I had only met at the SIWA ball. Maybe that isn't so unusual, but my friend ran into a guy at Gecko's who she knew from college in Canada several years ago! Then I ran into someone else there who I had been trying to avoid. How could we possibly end up at the same exact spot in Seoul at the same time???  Ah well...the world seems a bit smaller, cozier and full of surprises in Itaewon!

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photo by: chiyeh