Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Namdaemun's Flee Market
When you can practically lie down on the main Namdaemun Market alley and not worry about getting stepped on, it means that it's really bad.
And when you see a car making its way through the same alley, it means it's actually worse.
I dropped by Namdaemun Market the other day and found it so strange that the place wasn't swarming with tourists and shoppers.
(A car passing through the main alley, which
was impossible during the pre-MERS days)
I was there to get some mandu and red bean bread for lunch and snacks from the mandu shop near Gate 2 of Namdaemun Market. After I left the place, I bumped into the Red Angels, the roving tourist guides wearing red uniforms, and asked them how bad the whole situation was.
Due to MERS and its scary virus, Chinese and other foreign tourists, who used to crowd the Namdaemun Market, are staying away from Korea for weeks now, leaving the vendors with poor sales, or no sales at all.
The Red Angels told me that there were only a handful Chinese tourists that day. And without any tourist asking them for directions and information, these guides must have been bored. I might have been only one of the few people who actually approached them that day; but instead of asking for direction, I asked for some circumspection.
I hope this MERS crisis blows over soon as Namdaemun, bereft with tourists and shoppers, has become a flea, er, flee market. :-(