Greetings Dear Readers,
I hope this posting finds you well and on your way to a lovely spring weekend (sorry to those in Canada, where spring is a bit delayed). As promised in my article “My Apartment in Korea,” here is the second part of the series, where I will showcase my humble town of Deokso.
I live in Gyeonggi province, which is right next to Seoul. It actually hugs Seoul from the east side and goes almost all the way around. Within Gyeonggi province is a huge and sprawling city called Namyangju. Most of my friends live scattered throughout this city. Within the walls of Namyangju are many towns and counties, some more developed than others and some more country than city. I live in one of those towns, which is on the border of the “rural” area but not quite farmland territory.
In Deokso we have a subway station all our own, fast food joints, great Korean restaurants and lots of places to go exploring. I would like to show you my town to give you a better idea of what a regular, no-frills town in Korea looks like, in a city that is not Seoul.
Let us begin our tour as if you were getting off at Deokso subway station, as seen below:
We also have a Baskin-Robbins which is always busy, a Domino’s Pizza which is really expensive compared to what we are used to in the west and a Dunkin Donuts. I’ve never been in the Dunkin Donuts but I hear they have some odd, Korean style donut flavours that are quite popular with the curious at heart.
Can you find the Dunkin Donuts shop in the second picture? It’s on the bottom-left, buried under a pile of other signs and text. This kind of building labeling is quite common all over Korea. Buildings are stacked with business logos and shop signs that often have nothing to do with each other. It makes finding places a little difficult, especially if your Korean reading isn’t very good.
Convenience stores are also everywhere and sell everything from toilet paper to beer. Many shops even supply plastic tables and chairs outside where you can crack a beer or an instant coffee right there and relax with friends.
Apartments and houses:
My hapkido gym, on the third floor of the building below, one above the poolhall, labeled with blue and red circles on their signage.
And now we enter down a side street that will take me peacefully to my humble abode. I like to walk this path to get away from the busy roads and no-existant sidewalks. (We do have sidewalks but if you look at the picture of the buses, to the left you will notice a silver car that is parked half-on and half-off the sidewalk. Lack of parking space is a problem all over Korea and as a result, they use the sidewalk – making walking a delicate game of not dying on your way home.)
And here we are at my apartment. My building (called a villa) is on the left, in green, with my neighbour’s home on the right. My unit is up top on the 4th floor so I get the balcony :)
Thus concludes our tour of Deokso. Please forgive the cloudy skies that were looming overhead while I shot these photos. Stay tuned next week for my trip to Yongma Land, an abandoned amusement park that’s still open for wanderers like me.