Late July – early August; more impressions of Seoul

This is technically Ilsan, a suburb of Seoul. These apartments face a vast, landscaped park:

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Where the people in apartments go to shop and drink:

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One blogger I read commented that Koreans are hedonists. I don’t think
that hedonists work such long hours; but certainly, Koreans have partying built into everyday life.

Noodles, cabbage and red pepper paste that an army of servers come and stir for you every so often:

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Myeongdong, a central shopping district. I took this because, despite the signs – and the sign of a cut-out person – the alley is nearly empty, showing how difficult the career of a petty bourgeois is:

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A couple of streets over – the sacred and the profane:

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Myeongdong Cathedral was a centre of pro-democracy organizing during the dictatorship. The church even mentioned that in its pamphlet. It was a relief to find Christians that weren’t anti-Semitic imperialists.

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However, turn the other way and capital has hemmed it in:

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One more compare-and-contrast photo; I believe this is the YWCA:

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Religion or shopping – not the best choice. Wait a minute, what am I saying? Shopping is great!

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This is an Olympic tie-in at the Lotte luxury department store. Those are actual Brits dressed up as Beefeaters. Inside, British pastiche is the order of the day:

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A little downscale – a food alley in Namsaemun market. I ate some great red bean stew here. I could only finish a few bites and asked to take the rest home with me. The cook/proprietor warned me that it would go bad immediately; as soon as I got home, I’d have to boil it. I appreciated her concern for my well-being but the stew survived the 45 minute trip without incident.

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Sunset off the North China Sea (if there is such a thing.) My host family took me to a guest house on the beach for an evening. Unfortunately I was so tired I just slept in the guestroom all afternoon, but I did get to see a lovely sunset:

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Look closely: “customer-touching services.” Heh heh. Yes, I’m still a teenager.

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Oh… they meant massages:

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Well, it’s still funny.

Near Hongdae: the electric man is fishing for coffee! I never thought I’d get to write a sentence like that.

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Take-out pizza comes wrapped in a red ribbon:

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One day I was feeling particularly set-upon and went to a design shop, where dozens of designers were selling accessories. The merchandise tilted heavily towards iphone covers and stands but there were also lamps, paper animals, leather bags and something I couldn’t resist:

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It’s the 70s! It’s a pen! How cool is that?

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Last Saturday, at a new art venue in Haebangchan, part of the foreigner neighbourhood. I showed up late and only caught the last two songs by this indie band, but I really liked them. The lead singer was female – the younger generation doesn’t seem to be bound by the same rigid gender roles as the older one:

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I’ve posted about this place on Facebook, but here’s the facade of Castle Praha, a microbrewery and pub in Hongdae. I’m not sure that even good beer is worth $10 a pint, but then, that’s less than what a pint of swill costs at Milestone’s back in Canada, and this is a castle after all:

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Finally, Gangam Style, by Park Jae Sang or PSY:

It’s gone viral in the U.S., possibly because of its resemblance to LMFAO. It’s extremely catchy and there’s a ‘horse-riding dance’ in it. But that’s because Park is making fun of Gangnam, the bourgeois neighbourhood of Seoul. I suspect that gets lost in translation.

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