Approach to Seoul

 

We whizz by Pyongtaek on the expressway – no, scratch that. We crawl past Pyongtaek in one massive traffic jam 50km out of Seoul. To think we joined the expressway finally after getting frustrated with the endless stops and starts on the smaller roads as we near the grand metropolis and now find ourselves moving even slower.

We’re aiming for the Seoul Grand Park/Racecourse area for our first night, a place we decided upon by sticking a pin in the map – far enough from the centre it may offer some free parking; in our ancient guide book it says that this area is around Seoul, not in the city at all, but its metro station is only a handful of stops from the embassies we need to call on. Well, 50 klicks out it looks like the centre already.

In the tailback, we slowly pass gardens and car parks white with snow. This is our first frozen water of the journey so far; a credit to the wonderful climate in Busan and a portentous omen of things to come…

Last post from Busan

My next post will not be from Busan! This has been (and could well continue to be) the longest stop on our travels but what an opportunity we’ve had staying with the Agit people.

This weekend was the opening night of a grafitti exhibition – all week now 21 artists from Korea, Japan and USA have been staying here, working non-stop in a cloud of aerosol fumes, to leave behind one of the most colourful buildings I have seen in a long time.

Early in the morning we all moved to Samyeon – another shopping and entertainment district – to continue the celebrations. These Korean party zones are always good fun; hundreds and hundreds of eating and drinking places mixed in with discos, video arcades, kareoke rooms, pool halls, baseball courts and more – all crammed next to each other on the roads, in tents on the sidewalk, gaps between buildings, other gaps behind those gaps and all the way up to the top floor of the buildings themselves.

For me, that’s the strangest bit, going from floor to floor in a glass elevator looking for the next bizarre establishment…

The day after

Nursing hangovers and trying to piece together events of the night before – at least towards the end, anyway.

I’m told that the opening night of the exhibition was a great success with a lot of people saying that we had made good use of the space available to us and impressed that we had put it together so quickly. Next to the photos of the changing landscapes was some text, in English and Hangeul, trying to convey our momentum from west to east and the possibilities (for them) of doing the return journey. I reckon we’re going to have to try harder next time – more than one person came up to us and asked how we arrived in South Korea.

One Long Road @AGIT

exhibition-flyerBusy organising things for our exhibition next week. We have been staying in a room at the Agit Indie Art Space with all the computers, hard drives and cameras out. Ryu, the boss at Agit, (in collaboration with Kay2 and Sixcoin) has been more than helpful – from sorting out parking permits for the trucks; extending Dunia’s visa (Portuguese get a month less than other Europeans); to printing out 150cm panoramic photos; taking us out around town and generally being the kind of host you can only dream about.

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