Saturday, August 4, 2007

Korea - First touch to local culture.

Today was the first whole day that we spent in Korea. We went out of the hotel to walk around the shops in Seoul for 3-4 hours and eat some decent food.
We went to a Techno-market in the center of Seoul. We looked around for a little bit and then got to a fast food restaurant to have a bite. Of course we chose the one that offers the most western-like food. Strangely, the locals looked at us like we were some monsters when we offered 2 chicken burgers for each of us (we hadn't eaten decent food for 3 days). Obviously they don't eat that much and we were an attraction for them. After finishing the meal we stared at the site on the terrace next to the restaurant.
After that was the time! You probably imagine what joy is for developers and technical people to wonder around an enormous techno-market (7 floors at least).
Starting from the floors about PCs and going down we wondered for about an hour. It was enormous! Lots of stocks on lots of stands! What stunned us at the beginning was the fact that there were no prices on most of the stocks. After a 10-20 mins we realized that this was due to the fact that for each item there is not a fixed price. It is all about what deal you will arrange with the salesman. Not everywhere, but on some of the stands you can achieve up to 20% discount off the price after a small bargaining. However, for a country so technically advanced we were quite disappointed to see this kind of trade. It reminded us for a trading place in Sofia (back in Bulgaria) called Iliyantsi. However, this place was almost out of the city (not in downtown) and mainly there are small items (cloths, blankets and other small things). Seeing this in the center of Korea was not an expected experience.
Whatever, even that there were no fixed prices, those that were initially offered were lower compared to those in Bulgaria for a few items.
Going back to the hotel we met other teams arriving one day earlier. It will be a tense competition and I'm sure that the judges will have a hard time choosing the winners.
I've uploaded the pictures I took today here.

Have fun and keep your fingers crossed for Brainstorm and Bookvar!

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