I went down south this weekend. A four hour ride in a rickety old train and we found ourselves stepping out into a small farming town peppered with traces of a very ancient Korea.
Seoul is a mega city; almost half of the population of the entire nation resides in this entanglement of buildings, cars, wires, and people. Seoul represents a big portion of Korea's impression on the world. High tech city, arts, fashion, cell phones, LG, Samsung, Kia, Hyundai, and kimchi. But there is another forgotten part; the countryside. Sitting almost untouched by the hand of development and commercialization, the history is projected by the living and breathing people who consume these smaller cities. Generations of laboring in the hot sun is etched into every wrinkle of their shrunken faces. Whereas a thriving population of young and old inhabit the mega city, it's quite a different scene outside of its boarders. The most prominent faces you see are much older, much, much older.
Over 50 years ago, Korea was dirt poor; an agrarian society that had survived through an occupation almost stripping them of their identity and a war that just about broke them. The story of Korea's growth is definitely one for the books, and one that is studied by ambitious countries hoping to find their own Lucky Gold (LG) pot.
I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts into words, I suppose it's because I haven't been sleeping, but also because I don't write anymore. All I really wanted to say is that I seriously love every part outside of Seoul. I love that there's so much life and history that has been carried through the generations. You can see and feel this sense of...I don't know what it is, but something that is so void in the city.
It's the pace. I love the pace and the peacefulness. Here's a few captures from what Seoullites unaffectionately term the "shegwol" (countryside) of Korea. Enjoy :)