Thursday, October 02, 2008

Really? One of those days.

The day is the beautiful fall day that Korea, with it's four seasons, aspires to have.  I was heading towards the primarily outdoor section of the market and it was lovely. I decided to have lunch outdoors with my favorite hajuma. She was happy to see me when I pulled up a side of bench next to another aging grandmother who was also stopping in for a bite.

She was happy to see me as I haven't stopped in to eat anything for a while and she set me up with a proper lunch. As I put my bags down the other hajuma started to talk to me around pieces of fish-cake and point at my bag. I can understand Korean alright when it is not obstructed by fishcake but I have no idea what she is talking about. Finally, she points to my bags several time and tries to get me to put them next to her, and I realize she is worried for me things. I place them between my feet and she relaxes. This was before the day exploded.

As we talk politely in Korean and I tell her what I've been doing someone else down the aisle eating and apparently having an early morning case of soju suddenly starts yelling loudly. It's hardly even noon and he can't stand up. The hajuma who runs the cart bar he is passing out at yells back at him. It finally ends with her grabbing him by the arm and dragging him up to his feet and down the street to deposit him in a cab. The hajumas lining the cart-bars smile and shake their heads in amusement. I finish my lunch and figure to head up to look at fabric and see if there is anything interesting.

What I found instead was more shouting as two of the hajumas who have shops in the fabric section are yelling at each other at the top of their lungs. It's loud and angry and violent, and you can hear it throughout. Others are doing what Koreans do in the face of that much anger, shaking their heads and waiting for it to pass. Finally one of the lone ajoshi retailers decides to step in and gently scolds them, and old grandfather asking his two daughters to calm down. It works to a point. One of the women finds a customer and tries to convince her to buy some fancy printed silk. The other hajuma gets on the phone and starts repeating the entire argument at the top of her lungs to the person on the other side of the phone.

I'm amused so take back to the streets. As I walk outside another hajuma starts yelling at a passerby who bumped into her stall. Some workers are yelling at cart bar owners of stands that are not appropriate. People are yelling and screaming all over the place. I finally start to have to wonder if everyone is off their meds.

After watching yet another fistfight break out I decide to call my shopping done and head home to sew some shirts in my nice, quiet scream free apartment. DefinitelyDefinately a better way to spend a fall afternoon.

1 comment:

Zhi Zhi said...

"...to sew some shirts in my nice, quiet scream free apartment."

This is my favorite line.