Letter from Anyang #2
You can take the 11-1 bus from Seoksu Market to downtown Anyang and get off at the Changang Market (it is just past the Uni Glo). It is a glorious example of a traditional covered market. The main thoroughfare of the market is a cacophony of choices.
The last few days have been about shopping–actually more like “eye shopping” as one of the shop ladies called it. I am trying to visit the traditional markets of Anyang. My tourist brochure says there are six. I am also touring the big department stores in town–the basements of these stores are where the modern-style grocery shopping happens. They are clean, orderly and air conditioned. If you want to buy fish after 4 pm in the heat of August, my bet is on a place with modern refrigeration (but that is just my bias).
Changang Market is truly huge. Huge and labyrinthine. After my third visit, I am still a disoriented. Both time and space seem to be folded when one walks into a traditional market. The stalls are small, but multitudinous; in this way the variety and quality of products is immense. There are areas where the food gives way to a maze of tiny seamstress cubicles. Both the seamstresses and their cubicles are tiny. Each lady sitting on her platformed (and therefore clean) floor with a low table where she pins, and another where she sews. Her clothes cover the walls from floor to ceiling.
Somehow (I do not understand it) the place does not smell of rot. The fish area is smells like the rest of the market. The butchers and their pork or beef or dog do not seem to throw of a stench, even in this blistering weather. The only strong smells come from the fast food stands which are set up in the center of each thoroughfare like a median strip. Here you can sit at a counter and order yourself a scallion pancake or rice cylinder-things drenched in one of the many red sauces. Or if you would rather, order up some vegetable tempura or blood sausage tempura.
I will let you know what else I find in the coming days and weeks.