CITY SLYME ! (Article 3)

By Pitor Manfried

Hi there, faithful readers. It is I, Pitor, with some tidbits on my last two weeks I have spent in Asia. Yes, Asia. Not the band, but the continent. I am currently in a little country called South Korea. The temperature is a scorching 23 degrees Fahrenheit and my room in the hotel is a semi comfortable 61. Weather wise, we have had snow, rain, sun, fog, and even ice. The water is safe to drink and the people will try to sell you everything.

I am currently on location just outside a place called Sinjang-Dong. In Korea, towns are called Dongs. I hear the giggles already. The place looks like the people. Stairwells are treacherous and the pavement outside is even more so. The sewers stink and so do the bathrooms. You can really tell the shops that care about their appearance vs. those who don’t.

The downtown area had a facelift in 1998 and it looks to me, 16 years later, they did not maintain anything that was done to make it a nicer place. Here is a view of the main shopping district. Notice the nice tile work. Too bad it is never cleaned and garbage is pretty much strewn everywhere. There are signs posted with 1,000,000 Won fines for illegal dumping of trash, however it does not seem to be enforced. This is one of the cleaner days, but that can be blamed on the rain and snot. The tiles used to be a light grey in the center; the charcoal gray for the boarders and the sides by the shops were a nice Rose Quartz color. In the 1990s, prices for trinkets in this market area were very good. However, with inflation, a 20 dollar jacket now runs 45. A blanket which could be purchase for 10 dollars is now 30. Where the extra money goes, who knows. Definitely not into any sort of infrastructure improvement.

Navigating the town of Sinjang-Dong can be pretty scary. Sidewalks are sporadic. Areas that are designated as “Pedestrian Only” are driven on by cars and trucks. Motor Scooters zip by you with out warning. Not a walking friendly area.

This is a typical street that has to be traversed here. That store on the corner sells toys. That is not a puddle in front of that manhole…that is the gap where the manhole cover is missing (probably in the depths of the Korean Hell that it covers). The drain grate next to it emits a very foul odor. In the summer time, it is common place to see those grates covered with old carpets or plastic matting to keep the stench down.

I am sure that my editor would not like to go into the town here. It may aggravate his sensitivities. I usually wash all that I wear, including my shoes each trip to the town. I do a lot of laundry. The place where I stay has very modern conveniences and the laundry is free. Maid Service takes care of your room everyday, so fresh clean sheets and a full scrubbing are awarded regularly.

The locals are very friendly. There has never been a time where I have been treated rudely or poorly anywhere. The businesses all say that they give the best deal. And they do. Several stores sell the same things, and the prices are always the same, so you get the best deal.

That is all I have for now. Take care, and I will go into my travels even more in the next segment of this series.

This is Pitor Manfried saying, if it is called bulgoggi, go ahead and try it. It tastes better than it sounds!