Today was my final day in Daegu. I have been here for almost a week. I have heard some locals and travelers alike express surprise at my staying in this city for so long because apparently there is nothing to do here. But I have enjoyed hanging out here. I’ve developed a pleasant routine of sitting in the hostel common room working and chatting in the mornings before going out for lunch and a short walk, eating ice cream, relaxing in my room and then going out again for dinner. I’ve had the privilege of spending time with some locals who have told me something of their lives and the work of the Empathy organisation.
Today I decided to forgo work and the routine to do a little sightseeing. I started with Gyeongsang Gamyong Park, which is located near the hostel. Many people were sitting here enjoying the sunshine. The park is home to some brightly painted pagodas and buildings. I know it has historic significance but the signs I saw were in Korean. So I just enjoyed the visual experience.
A trip down handmade shoe street followed. I admired the handcrafted leather footwear through the shop windows as the sound of small hammers hitting nails and sewing machines stitching leather rings gently through the air.
My walk takes me through Daegus more industrial streets. Here you can buy everything from electric drills to small motors. Each tiny shop is crammed full of items, leaving the shop keepers to sit out on the footpath waiting for customers.
I find myself at Dalseong Park. There is a pagoda up on a hill.
And a sort of miniature zoo where animals from all over the world are kept in small cages. This vulture is huge and keeps charging the people looking at it. I feel a bit sad for the animals; not in a judgemental way but just because I think it must be boring to be wild but caged.
Small school children play on the grass as teachers watch vigilently. Some teachers wear small microphones like those used by tour guides so their class can hear them. The uniforms vary from sporty to cute little suits and ties worn by five and six year olds. But no matter the uniform, one thing is the same: the brightly coloured shoes.
There are a couple of bonsaied trees. This photo is for my friend who loves bonsai.
My next stop is the Seomun Market where clothes, traditional medicines, groceries and street food are sold at small stalls, many of which are marked by brightly coloured umbrellas. Old women fall asleep at their stalls while middle aged women work hard to entice customers to their’s. The enticement here is not pushy and rude like in some other countries. Rather, it is courteous and apologetic; always with the promise of a free taste and discounted price.
It’s lunch time and I like street food so I start with a piece of fried squid and a piece of fried sweet potato. I take my place at the stools and use the cooking cart as a table.
A fishcake on a stick is next. I have seen these being sold all over the countyr and finally decided to try one. These are boiled in a broth so they look less enticing than the fried foods. The taste is quite good but it is a little more bland than my pallet is used to. I eat the stick dipped in a soy, sesame and chili sauce while standing at the food cart; the lady vendor fussing over me and smiling.
Finally I buy a deepfried hot dog sausage with tomato ketchup. It’s a familiar flavour and can be eaten while walking.
And I leave you with this photo of the entrails. There are a few stalls selling them but I’m not sure how to ask for them to be cooked so I can’t buy any; or at last that’s my excuse.
I buy some groceries for my departure tomorrow. I end my day by patching a tube on one of the bikes here at the hostel. One of the hosts asked whether I minded giving it a go seeings as I am a cyclist. It was a nice quiet way to spend the afternoon patching the tube and chatting to the hostel hosts.