Yesterday I saw a little boy getting a perm. I don’t know how I feel about it.
Yes, I walked into a hair salon near my cousin’s apartment. And I see this little boy with rollers in his hair watching Inkigayo (something like a Korean MTV) with a hair dryer thing rotating around his head. I didn’t know whether to laugh or roll my eyes.
And then I see his little brother playing around with their mom. And he has curly hair.
Oh goodness. Koreans.
So I’ve been eating like a crazy person since I’ve gotten here. And I’m pretty sure we’ve been eating some form of sugary dessert at least two times a day, haha. I actually thought I was going to lose weight coming here. Well, considering the amount of walking we’ve been doing, I’m probably going to come back home half the size I am now. Just walking to my classes burns more calories than I usually used in one week in Texas. Oh man…
We did a practice walk this morning to the school. We were doubled over, panting, and we still had a quarter of the way left to go. Yea, if there’s anything that’s going to happen to me this summer, gaining weight WILL NOT be one of them. Passing out from over-exertion yes, but gaining weight, no.
Speaking of walking around, my mom and I decided to go to Myeongdong and see what’s happening. Myeongdong is a very foreign tourist friendly, so it’s always interesting to see Japanese, Chinese, Viet, American, and even African visitors there. Many Western/American-origin clothing stores are frequented: Polo Ralph Lauren, The Body Shop, Nike, Adidas, H&M, Forever 21, etc.
Foreign stores generally have higher prices (excluding Forever 21, the prices are normal for most Korean brand clothing); most Korean-origin stores have similar items, decent quality, and -most of the times- a fraction of the price. But non-Koreans should be slightly cautious as the largest size available for women is usually only a tad bit too big on me. Granted, I’m not the smallest/skinniest person around, but I’m not that big.
I decided to be adventurous today and look around these Korean stores. I was pleasantly surprised. I went into a store called “Spao” and they had a huge array of FIFA 2010 Korean shirts. So I got one. :> And it was only 9,900 won! (A little over 9 USD). When my sister and I go watch the first game v. Greece in the City Hall (June 12th at 8:30 PM Korea time) I’ll wear my new shirt. Go Korea!
The conversion rate is pretty easy. The very, very, very rough conversion is 1 USD for every 1,000 won. 1,000 won is like a dollar equivalent for Koreans. So if something is…25,000 won, it’s like $25. 45,000 won, $45. Etc. Of course the USD is really worth about 1,225 won right now, 1 USD to 1,000 won is easy to comprehend.
Anyways, I’m lookin’ around Spao’s Lotte Department store website. I can’t find the shirt I bought today, but here are something other things I found:
Besides Spao, there are other popular Korean brands. One of my favorites, Googims, has expecially cute things.
Relatively pricey. Short-sleeved shirts run upwards of 25,000 won, sweatshirts 60,000-80,000 won. So I will not buy very many Googims things unless they are on some ridiculous clearance.
Another brand I think is cute is Banc. Banc has these lego-men characters in different outfits and drawn like recognizable classic characters.
I actually have no idea if Banc got Nintendo’s permission to do a Mario hoodie. Or to do Mario anything. I noticed this a lot here. Many places have foreign characters in their stores or on their clothing. And I’m pretty sure the original character-creators have NO IDEA this is going on. Which can be dangerous. For example, we passed this mom-and-pop run chicken restaurant, and their sign had Disney’s Chicken Little on it with a thumbs up. HAHAH.
Prices are similar to Googims. BUT I went to an outlet mall with my cousins, and I found Banc shirts for 7,000 won and sleeveless hoodies (sounds counterintuitive I know) two for 19,000. I had a field day.
One more item I like from Korea: cell phones. OH MAH-LANTA. The cell phones are crazy here. I’m sure everyone is aware of the fact that the US is not the leading country in technology (or fashion, as I have found). My cousin bought me a phone to use, and I’m pretty sure he got me on the the most basic phones available. It’s something of an equivalent to a pay-and-go quality phone, haha. But it’s better than my phone in the US. That’s sad. I want to have video calling on my real phone. And pretty LED lights on the front. I spent a good half hour or so playing around with it and making designs with the LED view in the front.
He knew it was going to me, so he thought I would like the pink one. So now I’m carrying around a pink phone. I feel so feminine. I can walk around in jeans, tennis shoes, an old faded t-shirt, and a brown bag, whip this out, and feel all girly again. That was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch that.
iPhones are beginning to catch on here, but they don’t seem to be selling very well. First off, they are the same price here as they are in the US=ridiculously expensive. And I feel like the services in Korea are not as organized or as developed as the US for the iPhone. iPhones are not being advertised -or probably even bought- by celebrities so less people may actually even understand the use for an iPhone. That and maybe the people here just feel like they don’t need it. *Gasp. They’re actually happy with their awesome cute normal phones. Normal phones that are still better than my -what I thought was- a pretty cool phone.
For all you people that wanted me to buy you something, let me warn you now the only things that are ridiculously cheap here are food items, sauna usage, cell phones, beer, fake purses, and face wash. So unless you want those things (NO, I’m not buying ANYONE beer. And I don’t know if customs will allow me to bring back fake purses) please don’t expect too much.
Only one more day until my class starts! I’m quite excited. We saw the roster, and out of 30-something people, only three are of Korean-heritage. Including me. So maybe I have something of a home court advantage? I probably just horrifically misused that term, don’t judge me.
This post took me an hour. Have a great day. K, thanks. :>
*UPDATE: this post is my one post that has consistent, daily hits. For the entire year that this has been up, people have been google-ing “boy with curly hair” “perms on little boys”. If you’re one of them, don’t perm your son’s hair. :P
*Disclaimer: Boy with the curly hair is Wang Suk-hyun, actor and cutie extraordinaire. Very accomplished actor, commerical star, turned seven last wednesday.
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