Sunday, March 19, 2006


The other day I went to Yongsan Electronics Market in search of a power cord that will be suitable for my laptop. Reaching Yongsan subway station for the first time in nearly two years, I was astonished - the station, which I had previously described as having the appearence of being built from scrap metal and held together by chewing gum, has been completely renovated and remodeled. It is clean, modern, and beautiful. I wandered into an electronics mart that was entirely clean, orderly, and modern. I stumbled out, disoriented. Looking around, it seemed an E-Mart was also present in the building - an E-Mart is a combination American supermarket and large discount store. This was not the Yongsan I remembered. Had the Yongsan Electronics Market of 2 years before been swallowed up by the relentless march of urban renewal? I left the beautiful new Yongsan Station building and wandered the neighborhood, making a circle around the station.

On the verge of panic, I found that I had merely had the misfortune to exit the station the in the wrong direction. Yongsan Electronics Market was still there, spread across several large buildings and (weather permitting) all the spaces in between. In the building I most remembered, I found a little computer hardware shop selling power cords - the exact sort I needed, I believe. I will return, with my power adapter, to ensure an exact fit before I buy.

I must explore my neighborhood some more, rather than just the main road (Maporo). I've been walking around and there is really some nice urban architechture nearby - although it's true that Seoul in general sets an extremely low standard here. I'm impressed by houses made out of brick, and when houses must be made out of concrete, I'm impressed when they do not look like they were designed by an computer program with no imagination, even for a computer program. I think the fact Seoul is so hilly is rather aesthetically appealing.

There are some rather nice looking churches near my apartment. Of course "nice looking" is a relative term - I live in a city where many of the Christian churches are in unattractive multi-story buildings that advertise the presence of a church by lighting a big neon cross. There's a domed Eastern Orthodox church behind my apartment that's pretty, in a modernist concrete sort of way.

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