A City Not Seoul

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:

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The main intersection if you were leaving the station and heading towards my apartment.

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Local produce sold by old ajjumas.

A shop selling traditional Korean sweets. Rice cakes filled with honey or red bean and brown sugar.

A shop selling traditional Korean sweets. Rice cakes filled with honey or red bean and sugar.

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.

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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.

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Diaso! Everyone's favourite dollar store!

Daiso! Everyone’s favourite dollar store!

Apartments and houses:

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My hapkido gym, on the third floor of the building below, one above the poolhall, labeled with blue and red circles on their signage.

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The view of the main road leading towards my building, taken from inside my hapkido gym.

A chicken shop with delivery bikes. Very common in Korea. Even McDonalds delivers!

A fried chicken shop with delivery bikes. Very common in Korea. Even McDonalds delivers!

Buses on the main street towards my apartment.

Buses on the main street towards my apartment.

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.)

On my way up my little side street I always notice this couple's home. They make traditional sauces and pastes and store them in these huge clay jars.

On my way up my little side street I always admire this couple’s home. They make traditional sauces and pastes and store them in these traditional pottery containers called Onggi.

Further up the side street, on my way home.

Further up the side street, on my 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 :)

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The view from my balcony looking straight ahead.

The view from my balcony looking straight ahead.

The view looking left.

The view looking left.

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.

 

 

9 thoughts on “A City Not Seoul

  1. @Alex,
    Thanks for sharing your memories of little ol’ Deokso! I’m glad I could share the city’s progress with you :)

  2. I lived in deokso from August 2001 to November 2002. It looks like it has changed a lot. It didn’t have a subway station back then. My favorite chicken place in town was Carry Home Chicken, which made the best french fries and delivered in spite of their name.

  3. @Uncle Ran, no they don’t seem to get ticketed like we do in Toronto :( wish they did!

  4. how much is the fine for parking on the sidewalk – does everyone get ticketed the way they do in Toronto?? Love, Uncle Ran

  5. Hi Karli
    Very cool tour. Feels like your just walking down the street as you describe the features.Check out the crazy traffic lights… mounted sideways eh?
    Keep up the good work, always enjoy experiencing your adventures through these photo enhanced missives!
    Love you a ton
    Dad, Bev & The Rodents
    XOXOXOXO

  6. Another very interesting trip/tour into history.
    Where’s the fire escape in your building?
    Do you walk that street/alley at night, alone?
    Carry a baseball bat and whack them right in the jewels!
    I ain’t worried about you or nothing.
    Good piece. Still think you should market this material to the travel editor of a major newspaper or net company when the timing is right. Anyway, you done good!
    love youse,
    me and the Wife xxxxxxxxxxxxx00000000

  7. Love love love this. It might look confusing or jumbled but to me the stacked signs look so interesting. The chicken on bike delivery is straight out of a drama..I expect to pop out at any moment.

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