Old and grey, old and dusty

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If it was, then it was a shadow if it’s former self. Found in the western blocks from the main Yongsan electronics town after Ben and I  had decided to kill some time by walking around the lesser seen parts of the Yongsan-gu area. Previously seen was the seedy part of Yongsan. No, not the area where they sell over-priced cellphones*, but Korean’s version of  a shop front from Amsterdam.

Walking through the grey-washed buildings containing even more uninteresting techno junk. ‘Electronics town’ was all of two buildings opposite each other. We only went inside one of them, the sign on the other building proclaimed it had PC related products inside. Ben resisted the idea to go inside claiming it’d be “too boring”. So we continued to wander through the landscape seeing businesses of the online nature. One building seemed to mirror that of the electronics town one except that it also had Chinese characters on it. All told this could have been like radio street, the seed germ that Japan’s Akihabara got started on.

We finished our walking tour of the lesser known areas of Yongsan electronic market, ending at one of the newer buildings that contained a movie theatre, household goods, camera and notebooks, second vinyl LPs and other obsolete stereo equipment. This stuff was brand new and definitely tailored towards a niché market. The first shop that sold second-hand vinyl their inventory was extensive, with all artists from Spandau ballet to classical tracks. In the basement we came upon specialty shops that sold individual parts. We came upon a shop that sold just switches. Wow.

* Meaning pay a huge price and then bend over with your pants down.

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Guy Fawkes day done Chinese style

Chinese or lunar new year is always an explosive event. Standing beside my parent-in-law’s apartment window looking out at the goings on, it was actually possible to feel each and every explosion from the blossoming fireworks. Each exploding firework a virtual super nova or blossoming flower made of burning phosphorus.

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Outside, the attack on the senses was even more tangible. Smoke from launched fireworks, paper and debris littered the ground, while the fireworks launched with a thunderous boom that echoed around the citadel. Dressed in green army trench coats, the two security guards for our building (there are 4 tower blocks) looked up in amazement while holding their hands over their ears to dampen the bangs and booming of the fireworks. Any evil spirits had long since left.

Jiang and I decided to let off our small contribution. Two lots of hand-held fizzers and mortar sticks. We also had a firework the size of my fist. It was like a stick of dynamite. Setting it on a metal rubbish bin, I lit the fuse and walked backwards while watching the fuse run down. The resounding bang was adequet enough and the underlying metallic clang-echo made me laugh.  Guy Fawkes in New Zealand for  my brothers and I had always been about causing enough double-happy driven mayhen without loosing our fingers. The rubbish bin was untouched, the force of the explosion being directed upwards. No dent in the lid.

The end result of Lunar new year celebration? Red coloured debris on the ground, empty mortar boxes that look quite substantial even after they’ve let off all of their ‘ammunition’, but an immediate side affect of all that burning of sulphur was smoke. Thick dense smoke that would not go away in the cold,  in what seemed, the breathless air of Shenyang.

More powerful than a curry vindaloo

IMG_0329One stray spark, or a discarded cigarette and it’ll be the biggest bang the evil spirits will have heard in a year. A happy Lunar New Year to everyone.