Mis-leading signposts, ends in artificial limbs

One thing that could be said about the walk that Ben I had just done was that it was boring. Sorry, but that is the pick of it. It all started at the station. On walking out, we came upon a corner of the station that was taped off. As in, work under construction taped off. Upon examination we struggled to see why it was in the state it was. Maybe something was taken away later. In retrospect, this was a foretelling of what was to come, that is, absolutely nothing.

We had randomly chosen a metro station, close to central Seoul. The local area had signposted, sites of significance. Park, Chung-hee‘s former house. 500 metres later there was no indication or sign of it. Later on another signpost directing us to “500m Seoul folk flea market”.

Anticipating a whole lot less, the sign did this time, did not disappoint. As we saw later, the market was built up around a road, later closed off. The only thing left of the road was a judder bar. Looking around the market place, there were no surprises. Food stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to cooked food and the like. For some inextricable reason, throughout the hike there were a high proportion of men touting beards and mustaches. Had we stumbled into the suburb that shavers and razors had been either banned or forgotten about?

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Exiting the marketplace we read another sign directing us to a fortress trail. This time we found it. After the passage of time had been done, there wasn’t much left of the fortress but a well preserved siding of the wall and the actual gate or door.

Finally we hit Seoul station. This station was built by the Japanese colonial administration and as far as I know is in original condition. The other factoid about Seoul station is the population of bums. Entering the concourse leading to the station we passed two women playing instruments. Not sure if they were busking and it’s not something that’s done in Korea. Opposite them was a man sketching them in a folio book. I’m not sure if they were all together. Passing by Seoul station we did see the bums that Seoul station is known for. I observed two of them sharing food together. Every meal a banquet, every windfall a fortune.

A little way down from the station we came across a line of men, bums without thinking into it too much. They were lined up for something, perhaps a meal, provided by some NGO perhaps. Lastly we passed a number of shops where you could be fitted out with an artificial limb or limbs if you so preferred. Finally something of interest and a look at how somethings work in Korea.

Airport layovers and stop overs, I’m not taking it lying down

When I was a student I went to Christchurch to particpate in the Student games. Massey won the team Épeé competition, and by some miracle I manage to win the beginners climbing comp. There was all of two people.

Flushed with success but with nothing to do, I headed off to the airport four hours early. I can tell you from experience there was bugger all to do. There was an ATM machine to play with, but for some reason, it kept on winning.

My wife has gone off to Incheon airport for a 4am flight back to Shenyang. She’d told me that she would be watching movies that she’d downloaded beforehand. So she’s going to spend the time waiting cuddling up to the power outlet.

But perhaps the star award goes to this guy I’d met on the training course. He’d spent overnight in Seoul station, waiting for the early train to Daejeon. That’s bum central. They didn’t bother him, all they did was play cards. He said that he refused to get a hotel room for just 5 hours.

Given a five hour layover, what would you do?