Emart Town- Ilsan

When regular Emart combines with Emart Traders, Emart Town is the result. On June 18th, one opened beside Kintex and my coteachers came back with stories of how brilliant it was.  I headed along myself to see what all the fuss was about.

Where is it?

This Emart town is in Daewha, Ilsan. It’s next to KINTEX. Honestly, unless you have a car, it can be a bit difficult. It is on the road opposite Hyundai Department Store. It’s very well signposted. If you want to go but don’t have a car, simply get out at Daewha station and get a taxi to Emart Town. It’ll be a 5 minute or so drive.

I believe the 062 bus stops there but cannot be certain.

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What can I buy there?

Everything! There is an Emart, an Emart Traders (for Costco style shopping), restaurants, a hairdressers, beauty shops, a pet store, an Electro Mart and possibly many that I’ve forgotten.

I went to the Traders section and was over whelmed by the sheer quantity of products available. I spent about an hour picking up my things but I could easily spend an entire day there.

Random Tip- The green trolleys are for the Traders section and the yellow trolleys are for the regular Emart.

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Do I need a membership card or special credit card?

No. The best thing about Emart Town is that you don’t need to be a member at all. You can pay in cash or by card. If you have an Emart points card, you can use it but if you don’t, no problem.

Worth a visit?

Definitely. There are a few things that make it a better shopping experience than Costco;

  1. The place is HUGE so while there are a lot of people, it doesn’t feel like that.
  2. No membership card needed.
  3. Great range of food. In my opinion, better than Costco.
  4. It has a regular Emart so if you don’t want 5 million of something, you can buy it there.

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Apps for everything.

Here’s the backstory.

I needed to do a Costco run and so did my sister. She finished work at 7pm so to save time I told her to take the bus home. “Which bus” she said. “Aaaahhhhh the 9710”, I said. 15 minutes later she texts to say she’s in Wollong. Excellent, that’s just out the road. I picked up her partner and we drove to meet her at the bus stop. 15 minutes later she text me again with the words “this is taking too long”.

Sharp intake of breath as I realised with a certain dread and fear that perhaps the 9710 didn’t go to Geumchon, it was on the road to somewhere else. So I did what all people would have done in that situation, told her to get off the bus.

Now we had her at a bus stop who knows where and me sitting in Spuddy in Geumchon. Never fear. The thought of having to tell my father how I lost my sister somewhere between Wollong and the 9710 destination, forcing her to speak Konglish to strangers and sit on a cold bench until she wasted away because I told her to “just wait there” had me thinking of a solution.

So here’s what we did. I called her to describe the bus stop and surrounding area. The best she could do was “there’s a petrol station across the road and a green building over there”. Wow! Thanks. That really narrowed it down. Fail.

This being Korea though, I figured there was an app for finding her.  And there was. It’s called Seoul Bus. First, I got her to read the number of the bus stop. Then, I went on Seoul Bus and typed in 9710, scrolled down until I found the number she said she was at.

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Each bus stop is labelled with the name of the stop so I typed the name of the stop into the Sat Nav in my car and headed on the short 11km drive to find her. And did I? Of course. The sat nav brought me to literally 100 metres of where she was standing.

 

So what did I learn from this experience?

1. The 9710 doesn’t go from Munsan to Geumchon. It goes from Munsan to Seoul.

2. She was about halfway to Seoul before we realised it so the bus doesn’t waste any time getting you places.

3. The Seoul Bus app is the business. You can search the bus number to find out where it stops, the bus stop number to find out what buses stop there or you can search the map for bus stops nearby. The downside to this is that you must be able to read the Korean.

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4. She would have stayed lost ( or would have had to take the bus back in the opposite direction) if I didn’t have Sat Nav in my car. I have just discovered the t- map app on my phone. T map is exactly like sat nav but it brings you the fastest route at the time you’re travelling. Again, it’s in Korean but apart from typing the destination, it doesn’t take a genius to follow the arrows.

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We did eventually make it to Costco and our evening was completed by some 500won colas and dinner off plastic plates. What a life.

 

It’s not ALL fantastical……

Most of my posts are pretty positive. I do my best. But I thought it only fair to do the not so fantastical things also. A big shout out to the people who contributed to this on my Facebook page.

1. Puke Puddles– The absolute worst thing about living in Korea. Back in the day when I lived in my old apartment, I used to live next to a pedestrian street lined with little restaurants. Every morning, I would have to pick my way through the puke puddles to get to school. We used to call it Puke Alley. It was worse in winter when they were frozen. I hope no one was eating their lunch. Sorry. Enough. Disgusting.

2. Spit– Koreans love to spit and so there are little spit globs everywhere. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s everywhere, on the floors, in the elevators, on the stairs, in the toilet cubicle, in the toilet sinks, on the buses, subways, everywhere. Disgusting.

3. The pushy shovey adjummas– Some adjummas are so cool, we could be friends but other adjummas are a pure dose. They push and shove and not only are they rude but they bring giant containers of Kimchi on the bus.  헐!

4. The price of deodorant This is the most random thing but decent deodorant costs a lot. Most of the time, I stock up on foreign trips but what’s up with that?

5. Bread– If you’re looking for Mammy Browne’s bread over here, you’ll be looking for a while. It is most difficult to find a good decent bread. Or a decent sandwich for that matter.

6. When Koreans pretend they don’t understand what you said, even though you said it in Korean.

7. When Koreans think that because you’re the only white girl in town, it makes you 1) Russian and 2) a prostitute

8. Trying on clothes; When the store owner either 1) Tells you there are no “big sizes” and/or 2) Won’t let you try on the clothes.

9. Shoes; The utter lack of shoes from Europe size 7 (255-260)  and up is shocking. Just shocking.

10. Physical Appearances; Koreans are utterly obsessed with weight, dieting, white skin and the perfect face.

11. Toilet paper: You must bring your own toilet paper with you when you go out because there is always the chance that your toilet won’t have any. Then you must put it in the bin when you are finished because it is believed that putting it into the toilet will block the drains.

12. Messing around with food; Koreans love to put food where it doesn’t belong. Like sweetcorn on everything, mayonnaise on everything else. Stop! If I want either, I’ll ask for them.

13. Skirts; In Korea, it’s not ok to wear a low top but it is totally appropriate to wear a skirt so short, one might mistake it for a belt. This then results in the woman having to cover her behind with a bag so as to not flash her bum at anyone behind her. Surely she could have just worn a longer skirt?

14. Desk warming– The act of sitting at your desk, not teaching, just sitting. There are only so many movies to watch, books to read, Korean words to learn before you get bored and want to go outside.

15. Bins- I could rant all day about this. Why are there not more bins? Seriously, where are we supposed to put our rubbish and where do Koreans put it? If I eat something with a wrapper, am I really supposed to walk about 2km to find a bin? I think not. PUT MORE BINS OUT!!!!!!

16. Banks– For the most part, I love my banking experiences. However, it drives me insane when they insist on photocopying my id and passport when I send money home (KB*b). I gave you those when I opened the account and again the first time I transferred money. Surely you have it on record?

17-Public Urination– This usually happens at night but there is no excuse for randomly going to the bathroom. If it’s not the drunk people, it’s the children. You cannot just use this area as a bathroom. People are walking here. And you especially can’t use this area if it’s enclosed like a bus or the subway.

18. Points Cards– I have a points card for everywhere. But I don’t know how to redeem most of them because all the websites are in Korean. While I could go ahead and challenge myself to reading the Korean, I’d prefer to just do it in English. Would it really kill them to make an English language page? I think not.

This is a pretty long list but most of the things are small things that we thought we’d share. Leave your comments below with anything I forgot!