Friday evening was gorgeous. Perfect weather and flowers blooming. But. I felt under such gorgeous weather. Sigh. So I went home read a bit and went to bed very early. I woke up Saturday feeling much, much better.
So I met up with two friends to explore Namdaemun. It is one of the big outdoor/indoor markets in Korea. We went mostly to find craft items. Normally when I think of crafty things- like crochet, knitting and quilting I think about back home and back where my grandmother lives. I come from the mid-west, home to the crafts superstores. You know the store, with yarn, needles, swathes of cloth, silk flowers, and various miscellaneous odds and ends. Let me tell you- they have nothing compared to Namdaemun. It was crafters’ paradise. I bought two different kinds of yarn (I crochet fairly well, or at least I used to, and technically I know how to knit, and I do sew as well. I know so domestic!)- for several projects I have in mind. One, if it works out well, is going to be an awesome sweater. If it works out well.
Namdaemun, like most markets in Korea is quite the warren of little shops and stalls, selling whatever it is you are looking for. Unfortunately it is usually a treasure hunt. Imagine if you will a largish space, with tons of small stalls selling similar things. And you want one particular thing. What we wanted was some thick ply yarn that wasn’t outrageously expensive. What we found was tons of shops that sold needles, patterns, finished knitted wear, traditional hanbok material, thin ply yarn, modified and modernized traditional clothing, curtains, and silk flowers. One of my friends was, I think, a bit disappointed in the shopping, I think she wanted to buy clothes and shoes. So we left the warren and got coffee, then she decided to go home. We stuck it out a bit longer and were rewarded with several shops that sold what we were looking for. We bought that, and I wanted to find something I had seen earlier. This was a bit of a mistake. I know rationally that there aren’t really any alternate dimensions that shops and stalls pop in and out of, but I think it is a good theory to work with when shopping at traditional markets here in Asia.
After I gave up we decided to see if the dinosaur museum at Ehwa university was open and worth looking at. So we got a bit lost in the campus area. Ehwa campus is a very nice campus to get lost in. Lots of green space, and flowering trees and some gorgeous buildings. Eventually we did find the Natural history museum, with the help of a student. Although it only had a few bones of dinosaurs, it was still pretty cool. There was an awesome insect display, and some great dioramas and I liked that they showed the “cute” animals had claws and teeth.
After a day spent shopping and wandering lost and wandering through the museum (that stayed open past closing time) we decided that desert was in order. So we went to one of the wonderful chocolate cafes near the gate, and I had a chocolate cake that I’m sure qualifies as the 8th sin. We then wandered around the Ehwa university district and I’ve decided that it is my new favorite locale in Seoul.
Sunday (today) was also very beautiful. So I took the bike out for a ride. I was a bit worried. I’ve been meaning to go out for a while, but I thought the tires would be soft and the gears would need work, but I needn’t have worried at all. It was fine, rode smooth as silk and I remembered just why I love riding. There is something deeply relaxing and exhilarating about pedaling down the road. I am lucky, my neighborhood has a great riverfront exercise/bike / running trail. I often walk along, but riding was excellent.
After my ride I did make some coffee and invited a friend to help me clean out the closet. I really need another person there, because I usually just re-fold everything. It may be ratty, it may have too tight 20 pounds ago, but dammit I might want to wear it when I lose 30 pounds or when it comes back in style, or I could fix it, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t have any thing to wear with it. I want to keep it. Throwing clothes away is a bit traumatic for me.
I am so happy it is spring.
Some photos from being out and about.