The Korean holiday Chuseok (like our American Thanksgiving) is celebrated from September 21-23 and I was lucky enough to have the entire week off from school! On Tuesday Eunhye (my co teacher) and I ran some errands around Cheongdo and she showed me the special tables, back board and sacrifice plates, bowls, etc. People put pictures of their ancestors on the back board and give gifts. The whole front of the grocery store was full of gifts and other foods that could be used during this time. The sacrifice dishes were really expensive. A small wooden bowl costs about 14,000 Won which is like $14 U.S.D. I was really surprised at how expensive these items were!
Katie came over and stayed the night at my apartment and Wednesday morning we were on the train headed for Seoul by 7am. We stopped in Gumi on our way up to the city and Debbie was sitting in the train car in front of us. When we got to Seoul we meandered our way through some markets to find somewhere to eat lunch. It was kind of strange being out in the city on such a big Korean holiday. There were not many Koreans out and about and we saw lots of foreigners! During Chuseok most people are traveling back to their hometowns to be with family so big cities like Seoul, Daegu, Busan, etc. are not as populated as they are on any other given day. We spent the day shopping in the Myeongdong area and then earched around for a hotel and even stopped at the expensive/famous Royal Hotel. Though this was a little too pricy for us the man working at the front desk gave us a map and showed us some hotels in the area that we could stay at. We ended up at the Metro Hotel which is definitely nicer and more expensive than the Love Motels (about $30-$50 a night, but once you divide that by 2 or 3 people it’s really cheap!) that most scholars stay at when they are traveling around Korea. Our hotel was 80,000 Won for each of us for 2 nights. It was a little more expensive than we planned, but hey it was Chuseok vacation and why not! Our hotel had a great free breakfast in the morning, internet in the lobby, and a nice big room with a great view of the city out the window.
We spent Wednesday night at Dongdaemun Market. We had read up on the Dongdaemun Night Market which has lots of shops and malls all lining this gorgeous river and fountain area. However, since it was Chuseok everything was dead and there was not much shopping to do. Instead, we walked around down by the river and enjoyed the scenery while taking pictures.
Day 1- Myeongdong & Dongdaemun Market on PhotoPeach