Walking Seoul (part 1)
Consumption, brutality, and the cute
Seoul is not a pretty town, not at least by most Western senses of beauty. It is a sprawling mix of the haphazard, with little seeming cohesion, beyond a shared culture. Two hundred and fifty square miles of building after building, of all styles, of all facades (glass, brick, stucco, tile, fake brick, fake stucco), jammed up against each other, all covered in visually loud, bright, large ads.
Two hundred and fifty miles of busy broad roads crowded with buses, scooters, cars, semis, and lined with building after building holding store after store after store, each blaring (sometimes literally), what they have inside.
There is no sense of order or cohesion, not in the styles of buildings, or the types of neighborhoods next to each other. Walking through Seoul means constantly jarring transitions. One second you’re in a back alley of small apartments and trucks selling garlic, the next you’re in a modern business park so sterile it feels like a doctor’s office.