The train station at Noksapyeong Station had a 7-Eleven, where we purchased snacks and waited for our hostess, a very cool fellow Pagan who has been teaching here in Korea for a few years. She was gracious enough to offer us a place to stay for the weekend.
Seoul has quite the thriving community of westerners, some of whom are here to work, some of whom are ex-pats. They basically seem to be a bunch of hippies or snarky British earring-wearing hipsters; not the most open and friendly bunch, I must say.
We went to Itaewon, which is basically just a street of non-stop shopping. It is a city district of Seoul that caters to tourists. The crowds are ridiculous on a weekend, but weren't bad at all on Monday (because, while it was a holiday for us, it was not a holiday for the Koreans). So the tourist-centric shopping didn't really do much for me, but the transgender club gave us a smile!
Probably the most entertaining part of Saturday was our back alley jaunt. We took the time to explore the residential areas, where a few little shops, restaurants, and various places of worship were also hidden. The area seemed like San Francisco with steep hills and quaint, tightly-packed buildings. Some random things made us stop and smile (a seashell in the street, an old construction vehicle that appears to have had a wall erected around it intentionally). Overall, Saturday was fun and tiring.
Oh, I forgot to mention the *fabulous* fish and chips that were had for lunch. OMG! I haven't had fish and chips that good since... I'd say before 2007. It was in this teeny, yet airy seafood restaurant with a wonderful staff.
So my recommendation for the Itaewon area? Go if you like shopping. It is a great place to find English bookstores ("What the Book" is the big one that carries both new and used books). And visit Sydney Seafood for lunch. Yummy!
Copyright (c) 2010 Wendy L. Hawksley