One day a language we (well, Joyce) understands. Next day… We haven’t the foggiest what’s going on.
One day a sky that blots out the sun. Next day, a prominent orb bears down from clear blue skies
One day a country rushing to modernity at the cost of tradition. Next day a country where new ways have merged – a complementary layer – next to the old.
One day China. Next day Korea.
A luxurious (for us) ferry ride – complete with restaurant, theatre and sauna – had transported us to this new world. A transition made all the more stark by our departure from China – where a guard, for no apparent security reason proceeded to grab my camera and twist the lens as I lifted it to take a photo of our ferry (so sorry, no photo) – to our arrival in Korea – a welcome of smiles and friendly advice.
We’d arrived in Seoul.
A hipper, trendier, go-getting-a city has not been seen on our travels to date. It’s an energetic, at times gritty, at times avant-garde place. The streets are full of people who want the world to know who they are – either from their outrageous dress, impromptu street gigs, or even the odd random dance routine…
… Okay, this guy was actually advertising a cat cafe:
Yep. A place full of cats and coffee. The coffee was good, but I have never seen such an apathetic bunch of cats. Each seemed to stare at me, and with their unwavering glare say, ‘touch me and you lose your hand’. But then again if I was stroked, poked and joked with all day long I’d probably feel the same.
Back on the streets – still rich with a smorgasbord of quirky life – people jostled past, bizarre street-food clutched in hand; yuppies wandered from boutique coffee-shop (sans cats) into fashionable shop… after fashionable shop… after fashionable shop. And all the while, all-around, lights dazzled and dazed.
And behind this glitz? Another Seoul lives. A Seoul of markets…
A Seoul run from the back of bikes and from atop hard-working heads…
After so little time in this eclectic city I’m not sure where its real soul (sorry) lies. I just know I like it.