Friday, August 17, 2012

Dongdaemun for a bargain!

Won is a confusing currency for a little-bit-slow-on-the-math Indian. When the eye sees the price of an eraser to be 2000won, the brain makes sense of it and inevitably divides it by 20 to compare it with the Indian Rupee and responds with a eye-popping, shocking look and shares the shock with the dried-up mouth which involuntarily starts rambling about how we should have packed 50more erasers from India to counter this exact eventuality. It is so hard to remove the "worth for your rupee" attitude from an Indian.

Always proud to be an Indian, we set off shopping in shopping malls for these knicks and knacks before the start of school. When the currency conversion became an overload as the count of zeroes became an exponential increase, i ditched shopping at these huge a/ced (or Air con-ed, here in Korea, pun intended) and felt the need to get some value for my won even though it would mean that i have to practice my play-acting skills infront of giggling Koreans ajummas (old ladies). That meant leaving the comforts of placarded boards which poster the preposterous rates to olmayo-ing (how much is it?) the achummas and ajaussis with absolute surety that i am not going to understand their answer! (Koreans dont even use a bit of English, even in their number system. They use the Korean words for numbers. They also use another set of numbers- The Chinese numbers for telling time etc. Double set of numbers to memorize, again my brain goes into overdrive, and blame starts blurting out about how we should have moved to some other country where they atleast have a simpler language) Little did that matter to the Sherni of the South, who is still a little-bit-slow-on-the-math, and we made the courageous trip to Dongdaemun.

Now Dongdaemun is a huge area, and quite hep i must add, with high end shopping malls towering the streets. But it is also hugely famous for its street vendors who have set up miles of shack-shops (with A/C) and selling wholesale items for dirt cheap prices. Maybe they dont pay as much of a rent or for advertisements, and thats what make them sell goods at these attractive prices. But the prices are so low, that nobody asks the olmayo (how much is it?) question. They just grab a basket, dump everything they need and shove it to the owner. He then pulls out numbers from memory (or at random- who knows!) and comes up with an approximate, admissible number for both parties and the cash deal is done! Bill? What is that?

There is a separate area, in Dongdaemun, specializing stationery items. Thats were we went first. Rows and rows of goods in streets after streets of shops- Angry birds, Doraemon, Hello Kitty and many other kid-adored graphics adorned everything that a kid could ever want and on many things that a kid would never need. Enticing, alluring and seducing both the parent and child together so that the zeroes you didnt want to spend on a little bit of stuff in the mall could be lost in the satisfying thought that you got lot more value for your money :)

The most memorable quote i got from an English speaking Korean : "Take this. This made in Korea. Very good. That made in China. No good :)"

Dongdaemun skyline
Dongdaemun streets are bordered with high-end malls in tall, high rises on a sweaty, grey day in Seoul

Whole sale shop selling stickers in Dongdaemun
Sticklers for stickers posing infront of the sticker shop!

Wholesale shop for games and toys in Dongdaemun, Seoul
Toys, Games and everything imaginable for a kid in Dongdaemun

Wholesale stores in Dongdaemun
Paper, pens, notebooks? Anything stationary available here!

Wholesale market, Dongdaemun
Kid Paradise!

Dongdaemun sells Lego too!
Oh, yes! Lego is available too.

Dress shops at the Dongdaemun
Crossing the Cheonggyecheon river, would have led me into the wholesale clothing shops, which i was denied, owing to the zeros already spent.

Shoe shops at Dongdaemun
But i went fearlessly into the shoe shops, not minding the dull lighting and the angry looks from the shopping-phobic companions to grab a good pair of high-heeled wonder for a bargain!

Wholesale shoe shops in Dongdaemun
Shoes for Kids, women or men. For a bargain!

Thursday Challenge- Stationery

24 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for a lovely insight into shopping in Seoul! Lovely images too!

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  2. Thanks for sharing your travels. Great images!

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  3. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  4. I miss that kind of shopping in Korea! Visiting from Sky Watch Friday.

    My Skywatch, hope you'd come and see.
    Have a great weekend.

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  5. I enjoyed reading this post. I take it you are on holiday in Korea. I too always convert my funds (Canadian) when I am abroad and must always find value for the money I am going to spend. the photos you have taken of the market look very much like our Chinatown (Old one as we have two) which I love to shop at. Except there in Korea it seems the stores are overflowing with things and there are so many shoes!

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    Replies
    1. Joyful, it has been 4 months since we have moved to Korea. Seems like we are always finding cheaper and better places to shop at Korea! Oh! Yes! Flooded may be a better word for the things they sell at the stationary and shoe markets!

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  6. I love your blue bargains.

    Happy Blue Monday!

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  7. This is one of the places I visited when I went to Korea in 2003. My blues are here and here.

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  8. So beautiful! Visiting from Blue Monday.


    My BLUE, have a great week ahead.

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  9. Love your photo's. Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from MYM.

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  10. So many colourful, interesting street scenes! So many interesting shapes!

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  11. if i were there, i will probably buy more shoes where it's cheap. :) hope you could visit my mellow yellow monday here: http://www.jollytoes.com/2012/08/05/the-yellow-cabs-in-new-york-city-and-sephora-building/

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  12. Visiting from Blue Monday this time. Please come and see my BLUE post when you get a chance, thank you!

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  13. Simply beautiful!

    A late visit from Mellow Yellow Monday. Would love for you to come by and comment on my my YELLOW post. Have a good week!!

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  14. I can't imagine the havoc rain would wreak on those shops!

    Red Pony

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for joining last week's Color Connection. Can't wait to see what color you will be showcasing this week. The linky is up now.

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  16. It seems to me you are having fun adapting to Korean shopping styles. This was a humorous and interesting read. I enjoyed the post.

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  17. Great pics from Seoul. Simply enjoyed the mood in these.

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  18. There is a individual place, in Dongdaemun, expert invitations products. Thats were we went first. Series and rows of products in roads after roads of shops- Upset parrots, Doraemon, Hello Pet and many other kid-adored design ornamented everything

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