Korea, Day 8

Go little guy! Go!

On my last day in Korea, I did what I do best – shopping. First I went to check out the Jagalchi Fish Market (across from the Nampodong subway stop), though. The market was really amazing – they had all kinds of fish and shellfish and pretty much anything that came from the sea. A lot of the stalls also had cooking stations so that they could fix you up a meal with whatever you wanted to buy. Some places were selling live catch and as I was walking through the market, I saw more than one octopus trying to make its escape.

From there I entered the shopping district and was completely overwhelmed. There were hundreds of stores – some of them stores that I would recognize from America (Levi’s, Calvin Klein, American Apparel, etc), but most were just stalls set up with countless racks and shelves of cheap clothing. I got myself a T-shirt and then found a set of completely ridiculous matching T-shirts for me and E (in Korea it’s really popular for couples to wear matching clothes. The ones I got for us don’t actually match, but they are definitely a set – his is a stick figure boy holding a cup with a string attached to it to his mouth. Mine is a stick figure girl holding the other end of the telephone cup to her ear. We’re currently trying to work up the courage to wear them somewhere).

And then, it was time. I went back to Jugangdong station and walked to the International Ferry Terminal, where I would take the jetfoil back to Fukuoka. I picked up some omiyage for the junior high school and then waited around to be let through customs. It was rainy and kind of rough out on the ocean and occasionally it felt like we were hitting the whales and dolphins that our crew swore to us they were trying to avoid, so I forced myself to go to sleep to ward off any sea-sickness. I arrived in Fukuoka a little pale and with a ton of Korean currency that I couldn’t change into yen because the bank in the port had closed by the time I got in. Even the ATM was closed, so I couldn’t even pull out any cash from my checking account. A week away, and I had already begun to take for granted banks (or at least, ATMs) with sensible hours. I had to have the cab driver stop at a 7-11 on my way to Hakata Station so I could pay him and get money for my hotel in Kagoshima. Now I’m stuck with all this Korean money that I can’t exchange anywhere around here.

I took the shinkansen from Fukuoka to Kagoshima and then checked into the Toyoko Inn. After reading some more Kafka and scrubbing all the dirt out from under my finger nails (for some reason, whenever I travel, my hands get really dirty), I crawled into bed. Tomorrow is the last leg of my trip – the ferry back to Tanegashima.

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