Another day, another market


IMG_0279, originally uploaded by Almost-Human.

This market is near Guemjeong Station (on the same line as me – only two stops away!) in the city of Gunpo. I noticed it and another market on a subway map while waiting to transfer. The other one is in Sanbon, and it’s probably just a fifteen minute walk further down the same street.

The GeumJeong market only had two arcades, single loaded, while the previous market in Anyang had about six arcades with another arcade running down the middle, and it was double loaded – so I’d say the Anyang one was about six times bigger. Bigger meant that a lot more market-related activities had been preserved, such as the tailor shops and gambling houses and by-product restaurants.

This market was a lot less overwhelming, however, and easier to get to, so I’ll probably shop here from now on.  But, of course, there ae more things available at the Anyang market so if I want Hanbok or bedding I have more choices there.

First things first, I had to finally try the fish-shaped desserts.  They were exactly as you would expect:  Lightly crispy outside, airy, and filled with a lot of sweetened bean paste.  3 for 1,000 won.  So that’s about a quarter a piece.  Unfortunately, she wouldn’t let me buy just one.  I managed to eat two, and three hours later when I went to try the third it was just not the same, so I threw it out.  I can see why people like these.  But not into sweet things, so just giving those of you who are curious the report.

I finally braved going ahead and actually buying food at the market (for some reason being alone and unrushed also helped)  Bought some of these side dishes.  Which wouldn’t all fit into my purse, so I had to buy an old lady cart!

They didn’t have any of the more expensive metal caged ones there, only these cloth bags w/ wheels.

Only this one is awesome because the wheels fold in, and voila!

it’s now small enough to fit in my purse for the trip to the market, yet there for me when and if I buy too much food.  I wonder if this means I am becoming an adjumma?   Which reminds me, I gotta go dye my roots right now…

These are the visors so many adjummas wear.  NOT becoming!

She with the biggest bill wins!  Seriously, all the old ladies seem to wear these things, and even some not so old women as well.  Some of the hats even have a veil around them so they look like bee keepers.

It’s the sun.  Everyone is afraid of the sun.  The visors are not to shield their eyes, but their skin – and hopefully their entire face.  They are afraid they will get tan and look like a commoner.

This is the basis of all the skin bleaching products out right now.  It’s a constant media onslaught. It’s kind of disgusting how all the European cosmetics companies have also gotten on the bandwagon, like L’ Oreal.  Anything to make a buck in Asia.  And you might have heard how they re-touched photos of Beyonce to make her look whiter…

It’s very strange to meet and talk to these women (and now they’re marketing to men with men’s lines) who have their faces bleached.  Their hands are often one or more shades lighter.  And their skin has a strange transparency to it – the warmth has been taken away.  Kind of how skin looks just after you’ve applied baby powder.

I guess the reason these things bother me so much is that it is class based, this altering of ones physical body.  It bothers me much more than the eyelid surgery.  Though if I find out that the desire to have big appearing eyes is class based or based on emulating the west, that would bother me too.

Today I had to go to E-mart and get more storage containers for my side dishes, and I noticed more umbrellas by the adjumma hats.  But DUH!  those weren’t umbrellas, they were parasols.  It made an impression on me because aside from those paper ones people use for decoration, I’d never seen functional ones before.  You can tell the difference between them and umbrellas because they are made from cloth that would totally get soaked and they have lots of lace on the edges.  Very pretty.  Much prettier than visors.  I think we need to convince the adjummas that parasols are more attractive.  And then they can beat people who don’t give them a seat on the subway.

Also by the parasols were lots of folding fans.  I might have to go back and get a couple.  In the home electronics section of E-mart there are no fans.  (see comment below) There is a great phobia here of something called, “fan death.”  So everyone has air conditioners and there are no ceiling fans or electric fans anywhere.  But hand held fans can not kill you, so those are okay.

So I had to get these at the moon goo jum, the Korean stationary store.  They cost about a buck each, and work really well.  We already had a brief Indian summer for a day or two last week, and I can tell I will be using these a lot.

Speaking of umbrellas, (by way of the parasols) it’s another unusual thing about Korea that nobody seems to own raincoats or hats here.  Everyone has umbrellas.  And they all seem totally prepared for rain at all times.  There might not be even enough to warrant being called a mist, and they will all have their umbrellas fully open.  I got one myself.  I’m not afraid of the rain like they are, but when it’s a cold rain it does suck more than a Seattle rain, so I caved in.  I got one of those old-fashioned ones that don’t collapse, – they look sturdier.  Plus mine is super cute.  all black with a white scallop on the edge, the white portion having polka dots…took me forever to pick one out.

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3 thoughts on “Another day, another market

  1. While walking through E-mart on the way home from the lantern festival today, I discovered a whole row of electric fans. So I guess the whole fan death thing is either an urban myth or leftover from an older superstition.

    But – anybody who’s been to a developing country or seen ancient fans can probably relate to why this fear might have come about. A loose fan blade, un-caged, could certainly do a lot of damage.

    I don’t like fans myself. Or air conditioning. A cool drink or a quick body temperature shower works much better, in my opinion…

  2. Yes. You’re right! This explains why everyone puts up umbrellas even when there is nothing more than a mist or occasional drop.

    I actually find the Korean media to be incredibly fear-mongering. Everyone here is paranoid about their health. And the word healthy is abused twice as much as green is in Seattle. In addition to fitness frenzy, there are all manner of gadgets and supplements newfangled, ancient, western, and Asian, that they are buying to combat these unseen forces.

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