Friday, August 07, 2009

Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market is the largest in South Korea and is famous for its fresh fish, the noisy deal making that goes on in the early hours between retailers and the peculiar local accent of the Jagalchi women who work there.

After the Korean War ended in the 1950s, women came to play an important role in the market and as a result they have the rather quaint nickname of 'Jagalchi ajimae'(Jagalchi aunts).

It's worth getting there early in the morning to watch the unloading of the fresh fish from the boats and to see the retailers noisily haggling over the prices. You can even get to try some in one of the many restaurants that are located nearby, if you want to.

After spending most of the morning taking in the sights and the smells of the market as well as having a very nice fish breakfast, I went to Gwangali beach for the next day of the Busan Sea Festival.

The unfortunate thing about travelling is that you are always at the mercy of the weather. By about mid afternoon, before the festival had even started it began to rain and it just looked as if it was going to get worse. Not one wanting to wait around around in my hotel room, trying to find things to do whilst waiting for the rain to stop, I decided to cut my losses and return back to Seoul that day.

Whilst walking along the seafront on I saw a Korean man with a big grin on his face dressed in shorts and carrying a back pack, urinating in front of a restaurant. Of course a sight you could see in any country, but what made the situation slightly surreal was the fact that he was doing it in front of a group of nuns who were sitting down for their afternoon meal.

Obviously the last thing they would have been expecting on their afternoon outing to the seaside. Fortunately they saw the funny side and were laughing at the situation.

This managed to put a smile on my face and walking on, I was unable to unable to hold back a little chuckle to myself, which was unfortunately like a red rag to a bull.

'Hello my friend. Nice to meet you', the man said to me after doing himself up.

Slightly worried I may have attracted a cheeky little chappy I didn't really want to befriend, I began to walk a a bit more briskly and then darted into a nearby convenience store, whereupon I managed to lose him.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time I've had the pleasure of someone exposing themselves to me whilst travelling abroad. One time in Japan, when I was in my local watering hole, the Avion Bar, a man in his mid-twenties, the worse for wear after having far too much sake and beer, decided to reveal himself to me. He then continued to ask me my opinion about what I thought.

I naturally declined to comment in the vain hope he would just just leave me alone.

Fortunately he did eventually manage to put everything away.

Unfortunately, he then decided to get a bit carried away and coming from behind, decided to try and undo my trousers. Obviously in his drunken stupor he had thought to himself, 'I've shown you mine, now you must show me yours.'

Luckily for my humility and everyone else watching in the bar, he was unsuccessful in his attempts, as after a small struggle, I eventually managed to fend him off.

The night then turned into a series of challenges set by him against me and my friends, which included arm wrestling, Pop-Up Pirate, drinking games, electronic darts and a game of Jenga, which turned into a tactical behemoth of a match and went on until the early hours.

Experiences that definitely fall on the side of what one would call, how can I put it?


You can see all the photos here.

Here's a short film of the Jagalchi Fish Market.