Geek Mecca, old and dusty

Yongsan electronics market can safely claim the title as the center for geeks and tech-heads all over Korea. Encompassing several buildings in differing states of cleanliness, I tend to think the hub of the whole place is in the Seon-in plaza building. It’s older than the other buildings. Inside, it’s crowded and hot but, it has a pulse. It buzzes of activity and people. Appealing to the male dominated buyers are singers hawking goods of the the electronic variety.

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Now what does SNDS have anything to do with Intel chipsets? In fact on most laptops showing some sort of movie, you can see K-pop bands strutting their stuff. Oh, and they sing too. Seon-in plaza is not only where new tech can be bought but is also where old tech goes to die too. Corridors full of gutted computer cases while the innards await for harvesting for parts. Eventually when no-one wants it, it’s bagged up and sent else where for recycling.

Looking past all the gloss of  the adverts, Yongsan has it’s selection of bums. On a triangular piece of land (next to the railway tracks no less) is what could be called ‘bum city’. Fenced off, it has an assortment of trees and tapoline for tents.  Seen for a long time, a man sold only novelty silicone pigs. The odd thing is that the stuff that he’s selling is obviously crap. The last time I was up in Yongsan, he’d gone, obviously seeing the error in his marketing plan.

Colourful panoramas, bad for your health

A teacher’s outing, hiking up a mountain no less. It was a breath-taking vista for sure, and not because the sun was going down. Usually a man of smiles and understanding, the vice-principal commenting on the photo I just took; “it’s not because of the rain”. He then pointed to his face mask. Yellow dust. Initially it took me as being rather cynical and inwardly funny, but he was right. The dust, made of silicon (and other goodies such as heavy metals), when breathed into your lungs, doesn’t breakdown. This wasn’t the only immediate peril facing me that night. So-ju, seafood on many levels of cooked and uncooked. Followed by the coach ride back, the teachers decided to make use of the karaoke that came part of the bus P.A system. I sang my two songs, and then plugged my ears with tissue paper. You gotta die of something.

Everything up for sale, just use your nose

Korea is definitely is where old and new cross. Even the bizarre. Bun daeng-e is a very traditional Korean snack that’s either loved or loathed by people. Possessing the smell of old socks, it’s aroma is best savoured or avoided in the heat of summer. My first encounter with it was at a bus terminal; the thought bubble was “what were they thinking?” As is the lingerie in the shop window. I agree with showing what’s up for sale, but isn’t a bit of discretion needed? The same with the snack food, but sadly, there’s no hiding the smell.