Imagine my horror when I realized that up until this point in my life, I hadn’t been to the world’s largest mall. It’s called Shinsegae (Shin-say-ge), and just happens to be located in our new city.
When I heard that two of the teachers at my school planned to go to this undoubtedly wonderful place, I asked if I could tag along. The cab ride was only a few minutes and then there we were. Not one, but actually two malls next door to each other.
We went to the smaller one first, where the other teachers got some (MAC) make-up. A bit more spendy than at home, but at least available. The other stores on the bottom floor were Gucci, Louis Viutton, Burberry, Chanel, etc. You get the idea. Unlike most malls, Shinsegae is basically one big department store, with different sections for stores. There is no common hallway area, you just walk through one big store but smaller ones are inside.
On the next floor, there were a few more upscale stores and many Western brands mixed in with Korean brands. Here, there is still Adidas and Nike, Puma, North Face, and Fila appears to have made a comeback as well. Most Korean sizes are very small, probably because overweight people are very few. I found a store with western sizes and bought my first two shirts here.
There was a beautiful spa on the first floor of the bigger mall, which I’d love to go to soon. (Let’s get paid first!) The top floors of both neighboring malls are movie theaters, which is apparently, the only place you have to wait in Busan. I say that because here, there is no concept of a line. They just don’t use lines. Ryan and I were shocked when we were waiting behind someone to pay for groceries, and an innocent looking elderly man stepped right in front of our cart with his items.
“Did he just cut us?” Ryan quietly asked me.
It was pretty funny. Then we started noticing more people not obeying the “rules of the line”, that we so strictly abide by in the US. One more thing we will have to get used to.
Anyway, back to the movie theater…
Since no one would actually wait in line unless forced to do so, you take a number and once it’s called you go to the desk. Then you pick your seats on a computer screen, and are printed out tickets specifically for those seats. Pretty cool actually, because then one person doesn’t have to rush in and save seats, and everyone knows exactly where they will be sitting.
The movies were all recent, American movies, which have Korean subtitles. We want to see Johnny Depp in "Alice in Wonderland" there soon.
After I was given a lesson on the movie theater, we went to the basement level of the second mall, which had a huge store. It was comparable to a Target, but with more food. (YES!) They also had home goods, electronics and even clothes. Of course they had lots of kimchi.
I got us a few pillows for the couch, a small rug, and some other random items to make our apartment more like home. (Pictures soon!) This included a shower curtain. In Korea, shower curtains are not used, so water gets everywhere. Many apartments don’t even have bathtubs, but luckily ours does. Most just have a removable shower head, often over the sink. There is a drain in the floor and slippers at the door to avoid slipping. I had pretty much accepted my bathroom the way it was, until a co-worker who had just switched apartments told me she planned on getting one for her new place. We found rods and curtains at the store there. So nice! Who knew that a shower curtain could make someone so happy.