Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Used Book Store in Itaewon -- not "What the book?" -- a different place called "Foreign Book Store" -- Check it out

Last weekend Julianne and I got out of Chuncheon for the weekend and headed to Seoul to look for some teaching books and get food that you can't find in Chuncheon.

On the way to Seoul on the train I took some pics. Here you can see the river is a little low from the drout in Gangwon province.

In some places it's really low.

There are a series of hotels that dot the river shore line for several kilometers. Some of them have interesting architectural design . . .

I always like looking at the mountains when they have some snow on top . . .

This really old train (coal powered?) sits next to the tracks and looks like it is possibly an old station--I'm not sure and don't really have a way to check that out. Still fun to look at though.

It's nice to see colors other than the bright oranges and greens, etc, that a fair number of Koreans like to paint buildings with.

Another interesting place to take photos of on the way to Seoul from Chuncheon. Seeing the Eiffel Tower on top of this hotel cracks me up every time.

In Korea, you'll often see people hiking or biking or whatever activity, and they'll be in the full-on clothing style of whatever the sport tends to have the image of--in this case the guys look like a cycling team or something, but it's likely they're just out for fun and exercise.

Arriving at Cheongyanggni station in Seoul we jumped into a taxi to the Jongo area and then headed to our hotel. The bike messenger/delivery guys are always interesting to see and to check out what they've got strapped to the back of their bikes--oh yeah, and the welded on custom rack jobs too. You have to wonder what happens when they get into accidents with metal bars all over the bike in a jury-rigged rack . . .

I'll have to try and get some better shots of the dudes who have 10 feet of stuff piled on behind them and how they can barely keep the bike balanced while driving . . .

Julianne noticed this sign during our taxi ride. Funny!

After checking into our hotel, we went to meet a friend of Julianne's for lunch at the Indian food restaurant in Jonggak station.

Julianne and I got the 'couple's lunch combo'--it was really good, and there's a lot of food.

While Julianne and her friend went clothing shopping in Itaewon I decided to head to the War Memorial. I ran into a few hundred riot police, and some Korean protestors.

Nothing says "I love foreigners" like hearing "waygook" and "miguk" sprinkled liberally throughout an angry tirade with a crowd echoing key slogans . . .

I walked around for a little bit but decided the loudspeaker love just wasn't my thing.

I noticed these guys taking pics . . . guess you gotta get special close-ups for posters and press.

I still haven't gone inside the memorial museum building--I usually walk around looking at all the military vehicles and taking pics . . . at some point I'm sure I'll go in, but I always seem to visit when the weather is nice.

Some pics of the vehicles at the memorial site.

There were a few people around . . .

I then noticed the K-1 tank had an interesting feature . . .

If you put some coins in you get to see the turret swivel and hear firing sounds on a loudspeaker . . .

Random picture of a pigeon . . . or should I say a Korean pigeon? Hehe . . .

Walking back up to Itaewon I got a chance to take a pic of a very common sight in Korea: the motorcycle (or moped/scooter) driving down a sidewalk. It's even more exciting to see when you're in a crowded market area, lol.

I decided to go check out some shops that are just outside of Itaewon. I haven't eaten here yet but the menu looks really good. 4,000won to 12,000won for pancakes, waffles, etc.

If you want to find these places walk out of the center of Itaewon with the Hamilton Hotel behind you and to your right. Walk all the way to the blue arch/gate that marks the beginning of the main street of Itaewon. Turn right at the major intersection on the road that curves to the right. Walk about 50 meters down and you'll run into all of these places.

I just thought the name of this place was funny.

This is a place I'm going to check out in the next week or two. The prices are good, and I've heard the food is too.

Menu and prices.

I haven't heard anything about this place, and don't know if it comes anywhere close to the Smokey Saloon. If prices are any indication they don't, but the burgers might be decent relative to the price . . . who knows.

And finally, a used bookstore that looks and SMELLS like an authentic North American used bookstore! This is an AWESOME place that I can't believe I hadn't checked out until now.

If you like Romance novels there is a huge selection. Fantasy and Sci-Fi section is really good, though I was frustrated to see some titles in series I love missing one or two so if I bought them I'd have to risk not being able to have the full 'series' experience. There is a teaching section of books that is a little small but I found two titles that I picked up, and pretty much every section you'd find in a used bookstore is there to one degree or another. If you want books on traveling, Lonely Planet etc, they have a big section of those too. The daughter of the owner told me they're open seven days a week from 10am to 10pm. The father and wife speak some English, and are pretty friendly.

Later, after I met up with Julianne again, she wanted to see the store too so we headed back. I took this picture because the Namsan tower landmark will give people a better idea of where it is.

Sunday afternoon Julianne and I were waiting inside the food court of Lotte Mart killing time before taking the train home. Julianne noticed this funny sign,

"The Father of All Buns," eh? Ha!

Well, time to go prep for my last class of the day.



Anonymous said...

I went to that bookstore a few weeks ago just by chance as I was waiting for someone and was pleasantly surprised by the selection of titles that they have and the prices. Most of the books I looked at were around 7000 won and seemed in good condition. I agree that the mom and dad running the place are friendly too - I was standing outside looking at titles when she opened the door and beckoned me in with a warm smile ^^

Jason said...

Yeah, the husband and wife are friendly, and have some English ability. The prices were really good too considering the quality and condition of the books--especially the university style textbooks, philosophy books, and others that normally would be at least 15 dollars or more.

I'll definitely be giving them regular visits for fun stuff to read, teaching books, and grad study books too.


Roboseyo said...

Indian food... was that Durga, or somewhere else? Durga might be my favorite restaurant in all of Korea.

Jason said...

Hi Roboseyo,

It was Indian food from the restaurant in Jonggak station in the food court. It's called Namaste.