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Today was an interesting day. I got off work at 2:30, and my friend and I went exploring. First we went to Itaewon, then to Dongdaemun, and then Namdaemun.

Itaewon is known as the American part of Seoul. There is a US army base there that has been there for the past 50 years, since the Korean War ended.

I found it to be quite American, and I saw more blacks in one day than I have since I got here. If you take that as racist, that’s your own damn fault. It’s a simple observation. What if I had said I saw more Americans than I have since I got here? That’s what I thought.

Anyway, There were some neat shops, and I was offered a custom tailored suit on every corner I passed.

My friend and I happened upon a particular shanty which I found quite awesome. Here’s what we found:

Now, I’ve been in the market for some horrid English shirts since I got here. I find them absolutely fascinating. Some are artistic in their nonsense, while others are simply English cacophony plastered onto cheap cotton. This shirt was one of the artistic ones that I am absolutely thrilled about. I hope I can find a bunch of other shirts like this one.

Now on to Namdaemun.

Namdaemun is National Treasure No. 1 in Korea. It is a national landmark, and its name means literally “Great Southern Gate”. It was finsished in 1398.

Some asshole who was pissed off about apparently getting ripped off on a property deal decided to torch it in February of 2008.

Here are some before and after shots::

And here’s how it stands today:

Seeing this thing burning on TV moved me, since the thing was built in the 1300s. That’s not just a piece of Korean history, but a piece of human history. Who does this kind of thing?

Anyway, to be in the presence of such a magnificent structure was moving enough. After all, the damn Japs nearly destroyed it during their occupation of Korea.

More to come.


One Comment

  1. i certainly hope you bought that shirt

    i am following in your footsteps!

    hmmm…i was supposed to leave today but i haven’t even got my visa # issued yet. it is taking way longer than anticipated

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