Express Bus Terminal. The name makes it sound like nothing special – a place where people rush through the crowds to get from one place to another. But no. Express Bus Terminal is not only a metro transfer stop; it’s an underground shopping mall too. I’m not talking about any old shopping mall. This place stretches for what seems like half a mile and has stall after stall of plant vendors, shoe vendors, clothes vendors, interior decor vendors, candle vendors, housewares and bedding vendors, you name it. It’s a girl’s paradise.
Even better, it’s walking distance from my apartment. And, you can bargain! I bought some nice decorations for my apartment there, along with trendy Korean clothes that I can wear both at work and outside of work. A couple of my shirts were only 5,000 won (less than $5). To top it off, there is a phenomenal food court that has so many different cuisines – American, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Italian – to name a few.
By the way, I love Korean fashion. People are so trendy here, and shopping is so much fun. I snapped a few pics of Express Bus last time I was there, but these pics don’t do this place justice. I’ll have to take more next time I’m there.
One of the Flower Stalls
Some of the Stalls
Fish That Feed Off Your Skin
On Saturday, a few of us went to a cute, little nearby cafe. We ordered some delicious waffles, coffee drinks and shakes. Along with our meal, we also ordered “Dr. Fish” treatments. Inside the cafe are two small water tanks filled with fish that range in size from two to four inches. These fish eat the dead skin off your body. So, the four of us stuck our hands and feet in the water tank and got eaten alive. It was the weirdest feeling having fish nibble at my body!
The Cafe (Fish Tanks on the Left)
Waffles, Coffee, Banana Shakes, Tea
The Fish Eating My Hand
A Swarm of Fish
In the Tank
After our lovely time at the cafe, we took the metro to an enormous three-story vintage market, where vendors sell all types of used clothing items, accessories and knock-offs for really cheap prices. It was really fun to search for clothes that we liked and also to bargain. I bought a green sweater, a white cardigan, a red sweater, a green hair tie, a yellow belt, a polka dot blouse and a pink and gray jacket for very decent prices.
At the Vintage Market
Went to a Korean market today to visit our family’s Korean friend Lan and her Chinese husband Chi. They have a fabulous food stand inside the market, and they boxed up some fresh home-made kim chi for us to take home. Turns out they have family in Korea who I can meet at some point.
Since the Chinese new year just started, Chi gave me a little decorative envelope that signifies safe travels, peace, well-being and a good year. I’m feeling blessed!
New Year's Gift
With Lan and Chi
We also bought some Korean rice wine. After reading this article in the LA Times, I really wanted to try it. It definitely looks and tastes like how the author describes it – a milky-looking, carbonated beverage that’s like a cross between sake and beer. The label says to shake well and serve chilled. Well, I shook a little too well, and it exploded all over the place. No idea why the bottle says to shake it. Doesn’t make much sense! Regardless, it’s an interesting drink. I recommend trying it.