Friday, December 19, 2014

Never Set Foot in the Same Korea Twice

“Today we shop.”

It had been determined that Tuesday we would hit the big fabric store in Dongdaeumun. While I love the gigantic miles-long shop in Daegu and Seomeunshijjang, I don’t know the one in Dongdaemun that well, but I had a small list of things I wanted.

The problem with shopping for fabric in Korea at one of the huge outlets is that you are shopping for fabric in a store that spans several buildings, several city blocks, and is (more often than not) a labyrinth where you will lose yourself never to be seen again. It's impossible to track yourself inside these types of markets, so I relied heavily on my lady love to see us through it.

“I want to get fabric to make a winter coat.” I tell her.

“We can do that. I need pompoms.”

So we wondered. I bargained with the ajjumas, pissing off at least one of them who refused to negotiate. I stumbled on some digital prints that I ended up buying. We went up and down and bargain hunted until I finally found some nice felt I was willing to buy for a winter coat. We searched through the accessories store in hopes of finding her pompoms while I lifted a few things here and there for making jewelry out of. I got some sewing supplies and she got a few stones.

As we were about to give up all hope I decided I needed to find a bathroom and in my potty quest we found her pompoms. At this point we had covered at least three buildings and probably about two miles. Three hours down in Dongdaemun and I had not seen a single thing twice. It was impossible and not my favorite shopping mecca. It made me miss Daegu…a siren's call and pang in my heart and I could hear my heart a beating drum saying Daegu Daegu Daegu, but I turned away from it, and turned harder into toward Seoul, and turned faster away from all the memories and phantoms, shadows, and haunting things that would cling to Daegu. I would not go to Daegu. I would not spend a night in a hotel there. I would stay put where I was.

Which meant being now: present and in the moment.

“How do you feel about Uzbekistani food?”

“Sounds perfect.”

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