Monday, January 4, 2010
I really thought that Seattle was the most pathetic city when it comes to snow. I mean 3 inches on snow shuts down half the city. Well Seattle must have a dysfunctional cousin here in Korea called Seoul.
In some ways I understand how Seattle has problems. The city hasn't thought about subway/light rail, the snow/melt/freeze weather cycle, and the hills all compound into one giant massive traffic accident when the snow comes.
Seoul has none of the disadvantages. The city has a spiderweb of 9 subway lines, it's not even close to freezing, it's flat, and the weather isn't even CLOSE getting above freezing. One additional advantage of living in apartment building that are 20+ stories is that half my students walk to their schools.
So a little snow wouldn't stop these dedicated workaholics, right?
They don't have plows, salt, sand, or chains. I live near a major intersection. It's where an 8 lane road meets an 8 lane road, meets a subway stop. If the city was going send a plow anywhere, it would send one by here as it cleared the highway towards Seoul. The road is covered in snow, unsanded, unsalted and unsafe.
The one things that are passable are sidewalks. That has nothing to do with the government as much as it to do with the business that line sidewalks. This morning, while walking to work, I small a small army of ajishis and ajimas (old Korean men and women) shoveling the snow. In fact, the parking lot in my apartment complex is well shoveled. I am truly amazed to see the security guards actually lift a finger let a lone shovel a parking lot. I mean these guys usually reside in a state of torpor that would give Tom Hanks in a League of Their Own a serious run for his money.