We finally got the chance to visit Seoul, South Korea’s capital city. Our last horah of our Olympic adventure. It felt like the vibe of New York City, only cleaner streets and not nearly so many honking car horns. It’s also very smoggy, with a thick hazy sky, due to too much vehicle pollution. This is why many citizens wear surgical masks. It may have also been a cloudy day above that smog.
There are a lot of mopeds in the city, and it seems they like to ride on the sidewalks, darting pedestrians! There is also a severe lack of trash cans. Anywhere. Despite this, the streets are relatively clean. We don’t know where they throw away trash, but they don’t do it in the streets.
First thing we wanted to see was the famous South Gate. The historic gates get their own blog entry next. To get to the gates we walked through the famous Namdaemun Market, one of several markets in Seoul. Streets filled with wares and food. With narrow streets filled with people, we were surprised to find vehicles still occasionally driving through the market streets. Most seemed to be for deliveries we think. Several side streets that seemed to go on forever!
I found a few of these in our travels: in a country with very little gun ownership they still have shooting ranges. The guns are all rented and used only at the range.
Also a plenty here: camera shops. Lots of camera shops, selling everything from consumer, to used, to high end pro gear.
Seoul is the capital of Korea. We stumbled upon what we felt was their version of the mall in DC. Below is one of their main Goverment buildings. Pretty plain looking, I thought.
This is the American Consulate building. Across the street there was one lone protester wearing a US Flag with a sign in Korean and English saying something about bombing North Korea but have peace. You can see him in the pic below standing across from the door.
Another lone protester was across from another building, with a sign all in Korean. Along the “mall” area there were also tents memorializing people killed in a large ferry accident, and demanding proper justice for the victims. The country is referred to as “The Republic of South Korea,” and as such, follows democratic traditions.
Along the mall mall area were several statues of figures from the Joseon Dynasty period (circa 14th Century), including people and symbols on their currency.
The city blends old with new. Modern buildings interspersed with structures from the past, including 6 of the original 8 gates that surrounded the city in The Joseon Dynasty. The pic below is city hall. Very cool looking ultra modern extension to the older structure to the right. More on the gates and palaces in the next blog.