Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................




Post 118: Seoul, South Korea


Aboard a bus, … the likes of which I have never ridden before, it took just three short hours to reach the capital of South Korea, Seoul. The journey from Sok Cho followed the only possible passage, a river valley sandwiched between mountains to the north and to the south where the views were spectacular. Beyond the tall forested peaks to the North are the 38th Parallel and the DMZ that still separate the North and South of this peninsula. Along the route I see that a new ‘Super-Highway’ is under construction, a highway that is elevated and will pass between the mountain peaks, a highway that when finished will surely be one of most spectacular roads in Asia. I pray the very fact that this road is under construction reflects the growing confidence that the government of South Korea have in the future stability of relations with it’s isolated neighbour just several kilometres to the North, … I can all only hope.

As we drive past fields of rice and fruit groves, it reminds me of Thailand but without the buffalo. Here in South Korea everything that possibly can be mechanised, … is mechanised. Almost without exception, all vehicles here are home produced, .. Hyundai and Kia, …. I see no building that looks older than myself, .. South Korea appears in every respect to be a ‘New Nation’. It is clean, everything works, .. it has function yet still maintains a degree of style that is only found in South-East Asia. Seoul is fast but not furious, .. its high-rise buildings fit perfectly into its landscape and fill every available inch of the flat plains along the Han-Gang River. Reminders of the Seoul Olympics are all around, …… Seoul is proud of this recent heritage but has seemingly divorced itself form more distant history.

In the street I meet a ‘Courier’, I ask to take his picture and for a brief moment he wonders why. Explaining that I’m also a courier in London would take too long, … so I just smile and raise an eyebrow, … he’s happy to oblige. I notice that the couriers here are a slightly different breed, .. their bikes are smaller but better equipped to carry larger loads, … loads that would have riders in London screaming ‘Health & Safety’, …. Myself included. (See Picture on Right Column)

I’ll be around for a few days, … I’ll steal a map from the foyer of an expensive hotel, … I’ll explore and discover, .. perhaps my first impressions are wrong, … perhaps I need to dig deeper beneath the shiny surface of this amazing city.

www.justgiving.com/geoffgthomas

1 comment:

Stevie Bee said...

Hello,

I'm a fried of Sam Pinney's and he's told me you're in town. I live in Seoul, see, so if you fancy a beer, or need a tour guide, or require any assistance in any way, you just let me know. Honestly, I live to give.

Sorry it's pissing it down, by the way. That doesn't normally happen in summer.

You can contact me at StephenJBeckett at gmail.com, or on 010 5837 0666.

Enjoy Korea (as far as such a thing is possible).

Stephen