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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

When it comes to hair management, I am of the low-maintenance persuasion. This is for a number of reasons, but most importantly these three:

1) Laziness
2) Frugality
3) Lack of concern for such matters

I’m just not someone who can easily part with between $60 and $75 on a monthly basis to maintain the fresh ends of my locks. There are more important things on which to spend my money such as Domino magazine, excessive amounts of paper goods and hot dogs. Instead, I prefer to wait until my hair is unbearably straw-like in texture, at least a good six months. I blame the inventors of the hair-tie, the headband and the hat, three things that make it easy to ignore the highly flammable nature of my head.

There are times when being the yellow-haired foreigner has its perks. Monday was one of those times. I met my friend Kristin for some long overdue haircuts at Leechard Salon, (apparently it’s Richard but through the filter of the Korean translation it is spelled Leechard). We were washed and cut side by side, so she could translate for me and keep them from giving me a blue mullet.

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I was guided from chair to shampoo, shampoo back to chair with hands at my back like an invalid. I liked that. Two women tag-teamed my head to dry and straighten my hair, while my stylist, Jeong Hu, looked on and made comments. It was clear the foreigner was getting preferential treatment.

Jeong Hu used a cutting technique that can only be described as “ninja”, with the added bonus of something no one has ever thought to do for me: thinning from beneath. Finally I am free of accidental Liberty Bell Head.

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The result is probably the best haircut I have ever had, complete with free lunch. Yes, you read that right. Complimentary salad and lunch bar with sandwiches, kimbap and fresh fruit juices.

Oh and did I say mention this was all for the massive total of $13?

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To Market

Today I finally went to the huge open farmer’s market near my apartment. It was a bit like stepping back in time with old wooden carts and sellers crouched around fires to keep warm while trimming root vegetables. It was strange to feel like I was out in the middle of nowhere just steps from a subway station and two blocks from a Dunkin Donuts & Quiznos. I was reminded immediately of the markets in Honduras and Nicaragua with the barrels of beans and stacks of potatoes. Only this market also had piles of seaweed & dried fish and more cabbage than I have ever seen.
{March 11} sesame
These are fresh sesame leaves; they have a touch of mint to their flavor and are delicious when served with galbi and used instead of lettuce to wrap your meat & rice.

I also walked a few miles to the next big neighborhood over and for the first time was glad to return to my own neighborhood and be living where I am. I am not very centrally located in Seoul and each time I’ve visited friends elsewhere in the city I have grown green with envy at their bustling, cosmopolitan neighborhoods which do not require two subway transfers for them to get to. But my neighborhood is growing on me more and more everyday and it was a pleasure to come home and feel…well…at home.

I’ve been in Korea one month today. As the typical travel time warp would have it, it feels much much longer.

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