Hard salesman, soft sell


Bid for world domination, ends in trip to the carpark

Rather funny looking and I’m sure tasting even funnier had we cooked it. This is what happens when you leave a supermarket bought cabbage in the fridge and let it have it’s way. It grows. It honestly looks like a triffid. When the day of the triffids first came out on TV sometime in the 80’s it’s was prime time viewing. In a post-apocalyptic world the Triffids, bred for their oil bearing potential promptly take over the world preying on blinded humans and striking terror in the heart of those not affected. My wife tells me that after having taken it’s photo, it promptly went into the organic waste of our apartment complex. So much for world domination.

Hello, good-bye Incheon

A recent hike through the Incheon station area, located, not unsurprisingly at the end of the Incheon line. The station had the usual refinements, being an above ground station, it was a simple matter of walking out the doors. Putting on sunscreen (and later a hat) inside of the station seems normal enough. Only it attracted an unwanted stare from some older-middle aged Korean man. I stared back, he kept starring back, I turned, only to check later if he was still starring. Essh. What a cycle. Welcome to Incheon, home of the xenophobic throwback Korean men.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The odd contrast to this initiation was the Chinatown that had been build. It was plush. Cobble-stoned streets and preserved buildings from Koreans’ colonial era. Ben and I made a bee-line for Jayu park. This is significant for the fact that it holds a statue of Douglas MacArthur, and other adornments celebrating the Korean war and (surprisingly) Americans. Found in the park were two rather esoteric sculptures. One of them under certain conditions could look like giant turd. Personally I found the graffiti that was on it a more interesting composition than the inscription found across the square from the sculpture. Built to commemorate Korean-American cooperation during the war. Well, something like that. Further inside the park there was a life sized bronze statue of MacArthur himself. Mounted on a pillar no less. Beside it was something more interesting, a wall frieze of MacArthur and his staff making for the beach. Presumably during the historically notable Incheon landings, you could actually see MacArthur’s bronze hand showing signs of wear, that it had been touched, and ‘shaken’. For an expression of appreciation or just a chance to even come close to a man of such reputation I can only speculate.

Onwards and downwards to the Chinatown. Exiting the park, we both noted elderly people that seemed to congregate in the park. I noted the same thing too in China. My walking companion observed that the old people there are more appreciative foreigners since, they would have seen and experienced the Korean war, unlike their younger, fellow citizens born after the war. Maybe the ajossi at the train station could do with a change in attitude.

The Chinatown had cobble-stoned streets and was well taken care of. Perhaps falling under the influence of Jayu park above it. Very much a show piece of Incheon, it was part tourist trap (there were tourist shops on every street, and on almost every corner), and historical site with the actual Chinatown having many buildings from the period of colonization from the Japanese. Ben and I went into a former bank to have a look, but also with the ulterior motive was to get out of the sun and cool off. The museum/ 1st bank of Japan was wonderfully air-conditioned. It has massively thick walls, arranged in what seemed to amount to a maze of rooms. I had my photo taken infront of a stage set, of the street, as it was back when the bank was constructed. The one and only helper at the front desk was mature, pretty and very helpful. Exiting, Ben and I gave the donation box some notes.

Back to wandering through the streets, a school kid started to speak to us in English. I blew him off, but Ben being more patient, answered his questions while I hurried around the corner of a building and onto the main road.

Leaving behind the Incheon station and into more conventional streets, I took a photograph of a ‘shop’ that sold just anchor chains. Looking at the amount of heavy metal he had, I’d say he’d cornered the market comprehensively. I didn’t see a shop that sold only anchors, but would have been very pleased if I did!

After all that, walking toward Bupyeong station was all a bit of an anti-climax. To cap off the walk, we went through Dong-Incheon underground shopping center. Corridor on corridor of mindless crap that I personally could never think of buying. I’d always thought that underground shopping centers and even the underground subway lines in Seoul also serve a dual purpose of acting like bomb shelters a’la the London blitz of world war two. Would they, could they, withstand a direct hit? Would the North Koreans use gas in their warheads? What’s more would the gas be heavy, and go down, into the subways? Would there be enough kim-chi to out-last the siege? Ben and I walked out and onward to our final destinations.

Broken down, deplorable behaviour

What a bunch of losers. A car had broken down at an intersection.  Hazard lights blinking. A woman sat behind the wheel, telephoning for assistance. I’ve always known that Koreans can be ego-centric, but this was the worst display of “me first, fuck everyone else” I’ve seen in a long time. Honking, looking back with aggressive stares as they drove past, and all the while no-one thought to help he push her car out of the way. Sometimes she would step out of the car an usher people on. If it as obvious to me that the car had broken down, how obvious was it to other people and other drivers?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Making a comparison for the worst, people in New Zealand would have helped her, if only to get the car out of the flow of traffic. Sometimes you’d have someone that could actually get your car going so that you could get to a garage..

When the repair vehicle arrived with so much blaring of it’s sirens and horns, all it took was a man to lift the bonnet and one minute to get the car started. It’s at times like this, I’m proud to be a Kiwi. God help these guys if there’s a genuine emergency and you have to think.

Driving test manual, gets the car tart?

Not so much blatant advertising but a flirty book cover for the driving education manual. Theory and mock questions and the other requisite street signs too. Since most of the learners are teenages, the incentives are there. Get your license, get a car tart. For such a weighty document, it serves absolutely of no use at all. Drivers on the road breaking every rule, taxi drivers ignoring red lights, bus drivers doing whatever they want. For me, I’ve stayed away from the drivers seat. Too dangerous. What has four wheels and handles?! Looks ridiculous. Parked where-ever he pleases, it’s parked by the bus stop. I can only imagine a 4 tonne bus hitting it, there wouldn’t be much left at all. (Nothing would send a stronger message than having a bus ride up, and over your ass). Don’t park there!  The police force here must have an incredibly difficult job at times.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Look good, one up

The sign says it all. If you’ve got better bits your prospects for a richer suitor are better, if not assured according to the advertisement.

Yes, you could be some brainless twit. But with big tits and wide-open eyes you too can live well. So long as your hubby stil has his job when he hits 45. Oh well, you’ll still have your plastic surgery, albeit something that looks like an onion in a string bag.