Here is a picture of one of my favorite stores. It's the Click store. It has photo albums, jewelry, cell phone accessories, fancy writing paper, make-up and more. It is, also, a unique enough landmark that you can tell someone you will meet them outside the store and you can find one another quite easily.
As anyone who knows me [or has come to know me by reading my blog] knows I love Dunkin' Donuts. This is a pic I took of the inside of the Dunkin' Donuts store in Gumi. It is beside the train station and therefore is in a very convenient location. Although I don't know his name I do know that the man working in the photo is the store manager and for whatever reason for the longest time I mistakenly believed that he was either Thai or Filipino. I still don't know why I thought this maybe just because he knew I was a foreigner he spoke Korean to me extra slowly and clearly. And, I guess that led me to believe that he wasn't a native Korean either but someone who's second language was Korean - just like me. In any case he is a wonderful guy. He is super friendly and he always makes a big deal when he sees me. It makes me feel glad to patronize his store.
This is one of the bathhouses in Gumi. It is located near the E-mart and therefore very close to my neighborhood. Truthfully, I never went there. I always meant to go but somehow I just never seemed to make it. For those of you who don't know, most apartments in Korea don't have bathtubs only a shower spout on the wall. Therefore, when you shower your whole bathroom gets wet and you have to put on plastic "shower shoes" to keep your feet (and socks dry) when you enter the bathroom. Since you can't have a nice, relaxing soak in a hot bathtub there are pubic bathhouses where you can go and pay somewhere around 5,000 won (a little over $ 5.00 Canadian) and have a bath. These bathhouses include steam rooms and tubs of not just plain water but, also, green tea, Jasmine tea, mud, mineral salts, etc. You can soak in as many different tubs as you want. All for the same price.
I have gone to other bathhouses and had I known how great they were I certainly would have gone and tried out this one in Gumi. However, at the time I didn't know and I was shy about getting naked in front of a bunch of strangers especially since I didn't know how the whole system worked (i.e. Where do I pay? Do I bring my own towel? Will people stare at me cause I am a foreigner? etc., etc.) [For the record I didn't get anyone staring at me - even though people often stare at me on the street. I've even gone to a bathhouse with an Australian friend of mine who is super tall and whenever she and I are together on the street we ALWAYS get stares but in the bathhouse no one paid much attention to us. It was a pleasant surprise.]
Here is a photo of some of the stores and restaurants in Gumi. They are directly to the left of the Gumi Train Station. Family Mart is a great convenience store. It even has a bank machine inside great for getting money if you are taking a trip on the train.
This is a photo of the Gumi Train Station when it was still under construction. I took this in March of 2004. I just wanted to show the changes that have occurred to this landmark. There is a taxi stand directly in front of the building. It was always so convenient to go there to grab a cab. Or if I didn't know the exact address of where I was going I would just tell the cab driver "Gumi Yuk [Gumi Station] and get off at the train station and walk the rest of the way where I was going.
Here's the view of the stairway to the new Gumi Train Station. I took his photo at night not expecting it to turn out but it did and you can even read the sign in both Hangul and English.
I know I am going to offend people by mentioning this but I decided some time ago that I wanted to be true to both my experiences in Korea and to the true nature of Korea both good and bad. That said please understand I am not trying to be critical but to present the truth as it has presented to me. In Korea most of the barber shops have these striped poles outside of them. It makes it very easy to identify them. However, I have been told by many male friends that if the shop has more than one pole outside it then it offers "special services" to the male cliental. I do know of a fellow [a Canadian co-worker] who went to one of the barber shops for a haircut and he hadn't heard the rumors and he went to one that had more than one pole outside. He was surprised when it was a woman who cut his hair [in North America at least 90% of barbers are men]. And, he swears that he was offered a "massage" and that he could see into a backroom that was partly hidden by a curtain and that there seemed to be some "funny business" going on back there. That said I do not know any males to admit to having partaken in the "special services" so ...
One thing I like about Gumi is that no matter where you walk you get a view of mountains. Even right downtown there is a view of a mountain with a pagoda or temple on the top of it. It really is breath-taking to be able to see something so exotic [for a Canadian - anyway] no matter where I walk.
Here is a picture of a rice field. What is so astonishing to me is that it is located right between the block of brick houses and apartment buildings that form my neighborhood and the E-mart store. It's not like it's located out in the country of anything. I had never even seen a rice field before and it was quite amazing for me to live right next to one.