Exploring Incheon

>> Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our university was located in Incheon, just outside of Seoul. Before heading into Seoul, we took a day to explore Incheon and get our first taste of Korea.  There's something special about walking the back roads and peeping into markets that only local people use; I get a real flavor of what life is really like.  Here's what we found in Incheon.

Incheon is a smaller city of 2.6 million or so. Here's a street we wandered through.  I love how the cars are parked double in the center of the road.  

 On almost every little street, there was a little garden shop.  In the market we visited, we found these beautiful pitcher plants.

We went down to find a restroom in the subway and look what we found: Ping Pong! In the subway station! These folks were serious about their ping pong, and they were seriously good. If you've never seen old people play ping pong in Asia, then you probably think it's a slow game and wonder why people bother.  Once you've been schooled by an 80-year old ping pong master, you will stop whatever you are doing to watch with respect.

Our journey continued with a trip down a market street.  It was very reminiscent of China.  Lots of little mom and pop shops with merchandise specializing in one area or another.  The store specialized in kitchen and bath supplies.  I was tempted to buy the toilet seat cover on the top.  We are remodeling, after all.

The thing I noticed about these little shops is that the goods are China quality but U.S. prices. The worst of both worlds!  Time after time we were shocked at the price of goods in Korea.  You can find good quality merchandise, but when you do, expect to pay exorbitant prices for it.  A pair of pants that would be $15-20 on sale in the U.S. would go for the equivalent of $100.  Yikes!  Bargaining was different, too.  There wasn't a lot of wiggle room in South Korea.  They pretty much gave a fair starting out price at the beginning. I felt like people were just trying to make a living, not suck me dry.  I nice change from China.  Too bad I'm not in the position to support all the independent businesses in South Korea. Needless to say, I didn't feel the need to shop much.

 After a while of wandering, we finally found a little local market with great treasures.

Assorted dried goods

Fish head photography, courtesy of Sam

High-priced veggies (Think $10 - 20 for a small watermelon) and more dried goods

Crab marinated in some sort of sauce.  Looks unappetizing, but I bet it was good.

Traditional Korean Hanbok

Oh the difference and 'e' can make: glutinous/gluten-ous

Oh! And I got so tired of/from walking up hills and steps. So many to climb.  This is the set up stairs up our subway.  The literal light at the end of the tunnel beckoned.  

We stopped at a vegetable stand on our way home, but that's a blog post for another day. 



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