Thursday, October 28, 2010

Incheon Towards Oblivion Pt1

Last week, with substantial prodding from Yvonne, we (I) got off our butts and went away from Seoul. Well, kind of away from Seoul – all the way to Incheon, which is, admittedly on the Seoul subway system. We started mid-day with an unusual breakfast of fish and chips, which Yvonne insisted in. It’s a nice restaurant on the second floor, with good views of the largish intersection, and sitting there I snapped a photo of this fancy apparently on his way to audition for the role of guitarist in an AC/DC cover band.

I had to struggle to get my lens changed and he scooted around the corner before I could get a good shot of his haircut, which would have been somewhere between Rod Stewart's rooster cut, a tight perm, and something perched on the head of a madame in an old western.

He was tragically hip.

Then, we took a short stop at the bookstore, which is always fun because the ajumma, after initially believing Yvonne to be an international book-thief from the Philippines, had now come to love her without reservation, for all the money that she spends.

Sure enough, she spent some. I also picked up "Three Generations" which is an early-modern Korean classic and I'll have to review someday.

After a quick coffee it was off to the subway and Incheon. Incheon station is right at the foot of “Chinatown” so we began there. It’s rather small and can be canvassed in about a half an hour. Here is a picture of a bunch of Korean pretending to be Chinese:

And a picture of a random mask on a wall:

Behind (and up a rather impressive staircase) lies a large park largely dedicated to things having to do with the amphibious Incheon invasion that turned the Korean war in favor of the South. It includes a statue of General Macarthur staring defiantly off at the sea, or President Truman, or something. This statue is nearly always capped by a chubby pigeon, of which there are hundreds in the park, and this trip was no exception.

We wandered around a bit, randomly sightseeing, while Yvonne got busy with losing our map of Incheon somewhere between our trip to the general and watching some Korean kids play with the world's largest hula hoops:

This made our next steps suspect, but by following signs and a rough sense of where the shoreline was, we managed to find (DUH!) the used bookstores in town (on Baedari Street, 500 meters to the left of Dongincheon Station – if you are facing the station. So now you know how to get there).

Then it was a long ramble back towards the seafront, through a quite standard set of Korean neighborhoods. What was weird was that nobody seemed to be out and about, even though it was mid-afternoon/late-afternoon on a Saturday.

Upon finding the waterfront we turned to walk along it. At every corner Yvonne was amused that there were directional signs for the same 10 destinations. Incheon is small, and there really isn’t a ton to do there.

Which is not entirely fair to say, because there are several shopping districts, but I have never been able to classify shopping as a leisure time activity and it was no different in Incheon.

We found a love motel, and tucked in for the night, both a bit walked-out. The love motel was adequate, but had something I really don’t consider a grand idea – a bathroom with a glass door. Because nothing puts the “love” into a motel like catching an accidental glimpse of your mate at their evacuative duties, if you follow me there (and you probably shouldn't, because there's a glass door).

Then it was out for some really quite good and inexpensive Korean beef, and back to the motel to watch bad movies and brawl with the one extremely elusive mogi that managed to get in the room.

We went to sleep knowing that tomorrow would bring another day, and it would likely be tiring and expensive!

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