Thursday, November 11, 2010
Seoul in pictures
I could live in most city in the world. I’m a young(ish) American citizen with no debt, a college degree, and an IQ well over 75 (the last two statements are not mutually exclusive). If I wanted to, I could move to London, Tokyo, or New York. I’m lucky that way. I don’t take any particular credit for this feat, after all, I could have just as easily been born in an impoverished village in Namibia, where I wouldn’t have had so many choices (actually, for that to have happened, it would have required my parents to move to Namibia for reasons unknown before I was born, but you catch my drift). For now, I’ve opted against London, Tokyo, New York, and Namibia and chosen to live in Korea, specifically Seoul.
Over the years, I’ve given Korea quite a bit of shit, in this space and otherwise. With Fan Death, dog soup, Dokdo, shiny suits, Konglish T-shirts, an evil twin to the north, love hotels, crazy nationalism, visors, sandals with socks, and couple shirts, Korea is a comedy well that won’t soon run dry. However, tonight, I’m here to praise my adopted home, specifically my adopted hometown of Seoul.
Korea in general and Seoul specifically make for an awesome vacation destination, yet very few people come here for that purpose. Is it the distance? Sure, that plays in. Then again, nearby Japan and China have no trouble drawing American and European tourists. I think a big portion of the problem, as mentioned by Michael Breen in an op-ed piece last week, is that (South) Korea shares a name with that other Korea. Whenever those crackpots are in the news, it brings down the value of the whole neighborhood. It makes South Korea sound dangerous. It isn’t. Avoiding Seoul out of fear of the North is like avoiding New York out of fear of hurricanes. For the record, two people that I know (in over 3 years) have come to Seoul on vacation, the Old Man and my buddy Wiley. Both enjoyed it enough that both are planning trips here in 2011. You should too. Here’s a few pictures of my Seoul from the last few years.
As always, click on the pics to enlarge.
Downtown Skyline from Inghwansan
Downtown skyline from Samcheong-dong
International trade towers from Jamsil Stadium
International trade towers and Coex (site of the current G20 summit)
Seoul isn't just new, flashy buildings of course. An awful lot of it looks like this:
Yeungdangpo-Gu from the 63 Building
Nowon-gu from Buram Mountain
Hanam-dong from Itaewon
Cheongye Stream - a cool twist on the concrete jungle theme. This stream used to be covered by a freeway, now it's essentially a miles-long park through downtown. Here, they left the supports of the old freeway to remind people what this stream used to be.
Bukhan Mountain (I think. Don?) Seoul is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and has a few within the city itself.
Namsan Tower, from Nam Mountain
Pavilion in Children's Grand Park, one of Seoul's many large parks
Peak of Bukhan Mountain, Seoul's tallest
Cheongye Stream, downtown Seoul
Banpo Bridge and its fountain on the Han River
Street view of the cityscape
Traditional Hanok houses in Samcheong-dong, near downtown Seoul
Tons of neon, Suyu station area in north Seoul
One of my favorite modern buildings, downtown Seoul
Whoops, edit. It's come to my attention that this is,in fact, Ilsan, which is outside the Seoul city limits. My bad.
Gangnam skyline from the street
Gwanghwamun, the gate of Gyeongbuk Palace, Seoul's largest
World Cup, screens set up on Daehangno, east-central Seoul
Gyeongbuk Palace, downtown. I took this picture with a ghetto camera phone way back in October 2006, and I still dig it.
Seoul isn't Paris. I'm not trying to pretend it is. However, as you can see, it is a Great City. If I didn't love it, I would have left it a long time ago. Come check it out.
Posted by Jae-hak at 6:21 AM