This week the subject is “foreign” so we all search through our photos and come up with very interesting pictures of scenery, people and cultures of places we have travelled to. To us these all show something that is foreign to our eyes, BUT, the ironical part is that the people in the photos are usually the locals in an every day enviroment for them. To them it is us who are the foreigners (well to my eyes even the word looks strangely spelt)
I don’t think a picture of me would be very interesting so I have gone along with the me exploring a foreign enviroment….
This is Korea, we have visited it a number of times. We love the place. It seems to have slipped below the tourist radar. The Koreans are very friendly and helpful, not at all pushy, no touts constantly harrassing you, no beggars, no graffitti, fantastic, easy to use public transport system.In the morning rush-hour the trains are packed shoulder to shoulder with well dressed, business men and women. What amazed us, being older, we would always have a younger person offer us their seat. The young are very clothes and fashion conscious and the streets of Seoul have a vibrant atmosphere, busy, bustling and industrious.
Maybe because they did not have an economy that relied on tourists we had many instances of local people spontaneously helping us if we were looking lost or studying a street map. Even when in parks we would be invited to share a picnic with family groups and they would practice english speaking with us.
It is a patriarchal country, the husbands, fathers, brothers are all cared for and respected by their women-folk. The men we came in contact with worked very long hours. The women were expected to stay at home and look after the children and her husband, though that culture is starting to change a little in the younger generation.
Now to come to the above photo….
It was taken in one of the many markets around Seoul, but the reason I took it was to capture the man in the green trousers. He has insulated lunch boxes on his head, he has been round to apartments to collect the lunches prepared by the wives, and he will drop each one to the husband. It is unheard of for the men to prepare their own lunch and unless they are going out for a business lunch, he eats it at his desk or place of work.
There are many things I could include about Korea but just a couple more photos. This is a spice stall in the markets and that is KIm-chi. A very hot, spicy and vinegar cabbage dish that accompanies every meal as a side-dish. It is certainly an acquired taste but I loved it. As far as I know this is a dish that is unique to Korea. The food is different to other Asian countries, meat and vegetables cooked on a portable BBQ hot-plate at your table was one of my favourites, The very thinly sliced raw meat and vegs are put on the table, the hot-plate has a moat of water around the outside that the juices drip into, that is then used as a gravy, with side-dishes of chillies, spiced cucumber and, of course, kim-chi, yummy…
In the market areas there are whole streets of food cafes. The dishes are displayed outside and when you stop to try to decide what each dish is and try to make a decision about where to eat, a Korean lady would come out to urge you to try their place. When you eventually make a decision the food is very reasonably priced, cooked fresh while you wait and we never had a bad meal.
I would definitely suggest you visit Korea if you are looking for some where different to visit.