In Korea, the street?view?of every corner usually has some vendor waiting for you. It is common to see fairly aged people at these carts or stands on the streets. Most of these people have spent a good portion of their life devoted to the specific cart or stand that they run. Their long years of experience makes your amazed by how fast and efficiently they can move their hands and body.
– An old lady looked at us joyfully as we approached her a moment of hesitation to buy some snacks from her. I handed her a 10,000 won note and she carefully counted the change before she placed it in to my hand. Two times.. three times over. “Halmoni, can we take a photo of you?” She suddenly stopped counting money and stared into the camera lens. “Ah, halmoni~ You can be yourself!”
Delivery ajuma (‘ajuma’ means?a middle-aged woman)
– These (usually) middle-aged women deliver food for the people who work at the market and customers to the market. They carry the food in trays above their heads (as the picture depicts). Each minute and second of lunchtime is precious, so it wasn’t too hard to catch up to the elderly lady. It seemed that she was just in front of me, but one look away, and she was already way up front. You can see this kind of situation often in the markets because these ladies have experienced this for?over ten?years. Ajumas are wonder women in this generation!
The man with the hat
– I was looking at many different types of hats, when my attention was grabbed by the man sitting on the side. He was eating out of a flask. “How is business today, ajushi?” “If business was good, I wouldn’t be sitting here like this. Young ladies! Buy something~ Young people wear hats a lot these days~”
– Knead and press. Every 5 seconds another hotteok is added to the pile. “Wow, you’re so fast. How do you make it?” There’s no time for questions – a crowd is gathering. The ajuma is making gestures for me to move, and concentrates very hard on making hotteok. Her wrist is continuously moving. Hotteok is a Korean pancake that is filled with brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and sometimes various grains.?The filled dough is is placed on top of a greased grill and then flattened into a circular shape. ?It is a very popular street food in Korea.
– 우리가 가던 길을 멈추고 머뭇거리며 다가가자 반가운 눈빛으로 과자 팔 준비를 하시는 할머니. 만원을 건네자 거스름돈 8000원을 2번, 3번을 확인하시고 그제서야 건네신다. “할머니 사진 한 장만 찍어도 될까요?” 라는 우리의 물음에 돈을 건네다 마시고는 카메라만 빤히 응시하시는 할머니. “아이, 할머니~ 자연스럽게 있으셔도 되요!”
– 1분 1초가 아까운 점심시간이라, 아주머니의 걸음을 따라잡기는 여간 힘든 일이 아니었다. 분명 바로 앞에 있으셨는데, 머뭇거리다 보니 벌써 저만치 멀어지고 계신다. 시장에서 가끔 볼 수 있는 풍경이지만 아주머니의 뒷모습에서는 근 7년간의 배달 경력이 묻어나온다.
아주머니는 우리시대의 원더우먼.
– 여러 종류의 모자에 눈길을 가던 찰나, 그 한쪽 옆에 앉아계시는 아저씨께 시선이 머물렀다. 보온병에 싸온 밥을 드시고 계시던 아저씨. “아저씨, 장사는 잘 되세요?” “장사가 잘되면 이러고 있겠나, 아가씨들이 좀 사가! 요즘 젊은 사람들도 모자 많이 써~”
– 시장 한 복판에 주무르고, 누르고, 5초에 하나씩 호떡이 쌓인다. “와 진짜 빨라요. 어떻게 이렇게 만드시는 거에요?” 질문은 밀려드는 손님으로 인해 순식간에 묻혀버린다. 아주머니도 손을 휘두르시며 비켜라는 몸짓뿐, 노련한 손놀림에만 시선을 담으셨다.