Friday, June 17, 2011

Back in Sokcho

We are back on the East coast of Korea--got here yesterday evening.

Since S.'s arrival last Sunday, it's been a whirlwind week--introducing her to Seoul, its scenery and its street foods...then yesterday, after riding a bus across the country, introducing her to my Uncle and Aunt...and today we went hiking in Seoraksan National Park.

(No pictures for this posting; but literally hundreds have been taken in the past few days--digital cameras and smart phones have forever changed vacation-photography, eh?)

I turn this over to my wife now, paraphrasing her words as she 'dictates' to me here in my Uncle's dining room...

I've particularly enjoyed seeing the 'everyday life' scenes in Seoul's backalley markets; the department stores are super-chic, but going in the markets 'keeps it real;'  people still need to run everyday errands, and all the snacks are wonderful. "This is a great country for snacking!" Oh, and of course the Engrish! A recent Engrish highlight--on the subway, seeing a teenager with a t-shirt that read (really) "Knowledge is Poo-Poo!" (Could we make that one up?) Guess he doesn't like school...However, the kid wearing that was among a group of Chinese tourists, so it wasn't 'authentic Korean Engrish,' it was 'Chinglish...'

"Korea. Sparkling." <==That phrase was used a while back by the Korean National Tourism Organization as part of their marketing campaign. Somehow, it's just slightly off-sounding in English, no? At any rate, as corny as it sounds, it's actually true--so much color, vibrant wired people..even some of the varieties of kimchi 'sparkle' in your mouth with their spicy fermentation!

And, "Hi, Seoul!" Really? That's another of the 'official' slogans...We like to say that to each other just to goof off--as in, when opening our hotel window, looking out at the new skyscrapers in Myongdong, one simply has to say: "Hi Seoul!"

Now--Sokcho. "It ain't quaint;" it's not Disney-fied, although the natural setting is lovely...fewer distractions, though--nice to just have time to get to know family...(Walking down the sidewalk, I was impressed that my wife was not taken aback by seeing a tank full of sea-cucumbers, swimming and clinging to the slimy glass in their aquarium; she'd grown up seeing them at low-tide in Puget Sound!)

Also, here is a good place to observe how people have their plots of land tucked in among new buildings (zoning?!)--varying degrees of architectural success surrounding plots of lettuce, potatoes, even rice paddies between newly-paved streets and the beach! Very resourceful, this little country...

Okay...signing off on this post, as my mother and aunt, a few feet behind us, are 'manhandling' fresh vegetables and chili-peppers (organic and grown in the backyard) in a giant plastic tub--making kimchi on the dining table. Inhale deeply. If only one could 'post smells'...

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