Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dongdaemun Fabric Market and Floating Buildings

One of the hardest things for me to do in Seoul is to shop.  Yep, shop for just about anything!  It's not that there is a lack of merchandise; but to the contrary, there is way too much to sort through.  Take, for instance, the fabric market in Dongdaemun, Seoul.  In a 6-story building about a block in length, there are crammed thousands of vendors selling every imaginable sewing notion, ribbon, and fabric.  A quilter or crafter's paradise you might think.  And perhaps it is - just think of Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Jo-Ann's  all rolled into one great store on steroids!  Sure, there are bargains to be had, with a huge finding-fee attached.  But to this foreigner, it is a hot, crowded, unorganized sensory overload, and an impossible place to find that one little thing you need to complete a specific project.  But don't take my word for it - I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  And PLEASE don't ask me to find something you need from the market.

 If you don't sew, and find someone who will translate, you can hire someone who will sew something for you, such as a "Hanbok" or quilt!

So, if you wanna kill a day with me, wondering through mazes of booths overflowing with crafty supplies, I make a great companion explorer!  The catch is that you've gotta look the part - an "ajumma" (middle-aged woman) dressed comfortably, in a totally random mix of prints, patterns and colors!  But then, when it comes to Korean fashion, anything goes . . . Gotta love it!

In May, I attended an Ambassador's Wives Garden Club luncheon at the invitation of Helen, one of my tennis teammates from Australia.  She was in charge of the event which was held at the recently re-opened "Floating Buildings", officially called "Some Sevit" on the Han River.  You may recognize these buildings from the Hollywood movie "Avengers, Age of Ultron", some of which was filmed in Seoul.  Korean architecture, both ancient and modern, is one of the fascinating curiosities of Seoul.  The first photo shows a structure that is used as a media art gallery, and for concerts and stage performances. The three other buildings were designed to represent a flower - beginning as a bud, starting to blossom, and finally achieving full bloom.  These buildings are really a lovely sight at night, when they light up in ever changing patterns of color.  They are currently used to house restaurants, wedding, exhibition, and conference venues.

As part of the luncheon, we enjoyed a beautiful performance by a couple of professional Korean opera singers, who also happened to perform at the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul.

K-pop isn't the only music to love in Korea!

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