This time, however, we’re visiting my homeland in one of the loveliest months. It’s a little hot, but not too hot, the rainy season is still a week or so away, and there is so much to do — sidewalk sales, outdoor performances, flea markets, baseball games, etc., etc., etc. I also got to explore some cool, trendy neighborhoods I’m not familiar with, including the area near Hongik University, aka Hongdae. Nine months out of the year (March – November), an outdoor “Free Market” is held near the university every Saturday afternoon, and it is a completely delightful shopping experience. Actually, the entire neighborhood is just awesome.
Our first stop was this random little store called “Too Cool for School.” I made the boys pose in front of it thinking it was a bar or restaurant or something, and it turned out to be a weird little makeup store. The decor was too cool for the likes of me — creepily realistic stuffed cats, disembodied hairless doll heads, etc.
We have this weird compulsion — when we see a long line outside a store, we get in line, too. And then we ask the people in front of us what they’re waiting for. We did this at a store called Viamonoh, and we were informed that there was an 80% off clearance sale going on. We waited about 30-40 minutes to get in the store.
Inside, it was insanity. The Husband’s hoarding instincts kicked in, and he started grabbing everything in sight.
I left the store after a few minutes, because I started feeling claustrophobic in the middle of the shopping frenzy. The husband remained, and he found a huge messenger bag for less than $10. He was very pleased with himself.
We then hit up the Free Market (do you think maybe they meant to say “Flea” or did they really mean “Free”? Sorry, my Konglish radar is always going off when I see things like this — perhaps unfairly.). Anyway, it should just change its name to Awesome Market, because that’s what it is.
Our friend EM liked the handmade postcards from these ladies, and he bought a couple. Some of the messages were a little unusual/profound.
The Husband found a keychain for his sister (hi K!).
Most of the vendors are independent artists that sell original, handcrafted items. Quality is very very high, prices are very, very reasonable, and there is virtually no bartering. When we tried, they were willing to go down about $1 for most items.
I didn’t really feel like bartering anyway, because all the items were so unique and well-made. I got a pair of earrings for about $15:
And a Korean vintagey-looking hairpin for about $8.
I could have spent all day there, but we had to get lunch and meet up with my parents on the other side of the city. We went and got some pan-mixed spicy chicken rice, and like just about everything else near Hongdae, it was very very awesome.