So I went to Daegu on December 30 and 31. That was nifty. I had two weeks off before winter sessions started, and I had to get out of town. I met up with a few pals, had the worst Guinness beer I ever tasted. I think it was some of that swill where they mix one part guinness with one part hite, but it was awful. Seriously, I just don't get the mixed drink thing. Cranberry vodka? Rum coke? Yeah, I get that. But pouring soju and coke into a pitcher of beer? What the yuck!
Had a nice long talk with a pal, and then slept in a jimjilbang for the night.
Then next morning, I met up again with my pal and Dann Gaymer, ATEK's public relations manager, and had a nice breakfast, and a little walk around the famous Korean traditional medicine market near Dongseongno, and then wandered almost all the way to Dongdaegu Station, the KTX terminal. I like the Daegu Downtown: because it's more centralized, it's a little less bewildering than Seoul, which has at least five legitimate, frantically busy downtown shopping/hangout areas, and a bunch more almost-there's - Hongdae, Jongno, Hyehwa, Kangnam, Apgujeiong, plush Shincheon, Konguk Univ., Yongsan, Itaewon and let's not forget the sweet downtown spots in some of the satellite cities.
Daegu's slogan is "Colorful Daegu" = which could be seen all over. I especially liked this shot, because of the colorful spill-stain on the tree-grate.
It was colorful, though.
The main road had no crosswalks, and underpasses instead. Nice for traffic. Bad for chronic knee pain.
Cars weren't allowed in the downtown area. This was another thing I really liked. I suggested to Girlfriendoseyo that Seoul should also ban cars in the downtown shopping areas. She replied "But there are too many assholes who like to show off their cars, who would stop it from happening in Seoul" ... and Girlfriendoseyo is so sweet and well-mannered, that her use of the word asshole really has meaning - I hear her say it less than once a month. But... well said.
The car-free downtown was also people-free, because it was a bloody cold day.
Shiny at night.
Daegu is up with the cheesy, stylish food crazes: don't be calling daegu-ites a bunch of rubes!
They got brand-name chains, too.
I crossed the Geumho river.
Along the way, I hit up some markets in Daegu. You can find this stuff in Seoul, too, but it was fun walking around the ones in there.
This market had some especially nifty stuff:
Coolest thing: I saw the rice poppers. You know those crunchy, rice-puffy things that you eat at a bar? Well this is how they make them.
I saw them making it. It was sweet. Then, while they were waiting for the rice to get hot enough to pop (it takes quite a while), the ajumma started doing one of those sweet bbong-chak dances that are the glory of old age in Korea. Her husband joined in, and it was one of those little moments when the world is awesome... and I got it on video. Sweet! Usually I can't get my camera out in time.
This was funny, too: this plastic surgery clinic was right in the middle of downtown Daegu - Daegu's aiming to be a medical tourism hub... or was that mecca? -- and it made me laugh that Korea's first playboy model, Lee Pani, was all over this clinic, promoting it. That a nude model was promoting a plastic surgery clinic was intriguing, and kind of funny: nude poses and lingerie promotions are one of the things "respectable" Korean female stars avoid like the plague, while vociferously denying that they had plastic surgery... so it seemed both appropriate and funny to see a nude model on a cosmetic surgery clinic.
And when I got back to Seoul Station (yay, KTX!) this was happening.