Going out and going back.

Yesterday evening we had been reflecting on where to go today but couldn’t find something good. So when we finally woke up this morning at 11PM I suggested that we head to a bookstore, since Unnie really wanted to go to one and I wanted to buy some more Korean books.


We headed out to Kyobo bookstore in GwanxHwaMun after having eaten our brunch. Unnie was very excited to see how big a place it was. There were a lot of people today, maybe because it was a Saturday afternoon, but because of this I lost Unnie about 4 times even though we stayed in the same small section of the bookshop to avoid loosing each other…

After looking a bit around we headed to the children section, figuring that there would be more books at our level there.

Unnie has often talked about a cartoon that she watched a lot when she younger called Daddy Long Legs so when I found a book called: 키다리 아저씨 (pronounced: kidari adjussi, meaning: long legged uncle) I knew that I had to buy and read it. Even though I do know the story of the book, I have neither read the book nor seen it on TV so now is the time.

I was looking through the fairytale section when I saw a thick book titled H.C. Andersen’s fairytales (in Korean of course) and decided that I wanted to read ‘The Little Mermaid’ again. I looked through the fairytale books but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere, only in a book with collection of Anderson’s fairytales that I felt wasn’t worth it. Unnie finally found a copy but when I saw that it had the Disney drawings on the front cover I said: ‘This isn’t it. This is Disney, I can’t buy that. The little mermaid has to die at the end!’ As I spoke the words I realised that they sounded quit disturbing, but I swear that I hadn’t meant for it to come out like that, some things are just better thought than spoken.

After failing to find the story as a proper book I decided that I would actually rather have a pretty version with nice pictures anyways, since I already have a lot of normal books, so I headed to the picture book section and asked a worker if they had a book with 인어공주 (pro: ineo gongju, meaning: The Little Mermaid). She helped me find it and I quickly checked the ending. After confirming that she does indeed turn into bubbles at the end I satisfyingly let it join the other stack of books that we planned on buying.

Unnie fell for a quite famous classic that she had never heard about before. It was ‘Anne Frank’s diary’ in children edition. I was shocked to find that she had no idea who Anne Frank was and didn’t know anything about the story, when I told her a bit about it and said that it was a very sad tale she was dead set on buying it. After reflecting on it for a while I reckon that they probably don’t study the Holocaust as much in school in Hong Kong as we do in Europe.

I also bought the second part of Secret Garden (the book that I bought the last time, based on a Korean drama), even though I didn’t find this in the children section. And a Korean cookbook. It has almost every Korean dish that I want to learn how to cook and has easy short explanations, accompanied by pictures to show how to do it correctly, so I might be able to fill my need for Korean food in Europe once I leave here.

While we walked around in the bookshop we saw two different book signing event held at the same time, people were queuing up through the entire shop and even outside in hopes of getting a signed book. I remembered having seen one of the writers before, where I am not quite sure, but I could also recognise the book, so I reckon that the writer is very famous in South Korea, especially also considering the amount of people queuing up.

After making our purchases we made our way outside of the shop.


We were shocked at the amount of police outside and still haven’t found out why there were more than twenty police cars stationed around the area. I have come to the conclusion that the main police station in Seoul might be in Gwanghwamun, but in all honesty I have no idea.


We ordered noodles, as can be seen above. I had thought that Unnie had understood what the waiter had said in Korean, but it turns out that she hadn’t and ordered extra spicy noodles, that they are famous for, without knowing it. She almost died trying to eat them, but managed half of it, by pouring out the soup over into my bowl once I was finished with my noodles.


As always what entered the corner of our eyes first wasn’t the usual famous monuments, rather it was a terrace in the famous museum nearby that we remembered because we had seen in on Korean TV (on Korean program called Running Man), as seen on the photo on the left above. I think that our condition is serious, we will have to go to Korean rehab soon if this continues.





There were tons of kids and parents playing with the water at the fountain and if I hadn’t been carrying precious books and wearing white I might have joined them as it looked like a lot of fun.




We walked through Jongno and headed to CheongGyeCheonNo. We decided to head to the Jongno market, three subway stations further down the road, and followed the stream to get there.


All in all we walked five subway stations today which corresponds to about 6 km. I think that it quite an accomplishment from two lazy girls like us.


We finally arrived at the market after a short long while. Unnie wanted to buy vegetables so we tried to find some on the main market street but we could only find two vegetables stalls and the price was outrageous considering that it is a market. That was when we accidentally  walked down a small street in the market and discovered another vegetable stand. The ajhumma there sold us some vegetables at a very good price, so, satisfied with our purchase, we headed back to ChengGyeCheonNo.


At around 9PM we finally reached home, and Unnie couldn’t get her Poop newspaper out fast enough to see its content.


I reckon that we both have enough reading material to last us quite a while now.

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Thilde Kold Holdt

I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived

enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: "where are you from?" I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though...

© Thilde Kold Holdt