Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bukchon, I think.

I paid a visit to Bukchon (I think that's what it's called, anyway), a residential neighborhood set in the hills north of the city center.  It's a famous area because its homes somewhat resemble traditional Korean structures.  I went on a Saturday afternoon and found the place crawling with Korean tourists taking pictures of the way their ancestors might have lived had they enjoyed access to concrete, high-quality masonry, reliable carpenters, the printing press, electricity, interior decorators, etc.

This taxi has AstroTurf floor mats.

If it looks forbidding, it's because living in a tiny neighborhood besieged by tourists taking pictures of your front door and calling it quaint is irritating.


Try to wrap your mind around the hassle of owning a car here.  You must call your neighbors to move their cars before attempting to go anywhere and once you get rolling you're trapped in a labyrinth of blind intersections, impassably steep grades, pedestrian traffic, and one-way streets.  These people probably just use their cars as convenient exterior closets.  Perhaps auxiliary outdoor refrigerators during the winter.

The skyline is Seoul reasserting its reality.

The hilly terrain affords some nice, if aggressively framed, views.

Stairs to kill your grandmother with.

There was some debate over whether this piece of furniture is best interpreted as a transitional form, a stool with aspirations for greater things, viz. lumbar support, or simply a broken chair.

I violated someone's privacy to take this picture and it totally wasn't worth it:  boring.

A cat.

A crowd forms, fascinated by the local wildlife.

The crowd grows.  Thirty minutes later the cat was still there, looking nonplussed, ringed by spectators.

This anomalous curio is on the wall of a nearby noodle joint.

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