Monday, March 1, 2010
I live in a strange neighborhood...well at least strange to me...
It's not quite the richest neighborhood of Seoul...just the second largest. Around me are a disproportionate number of well-to-do individuals that make up the upper caste in any society. The "Beverly Hills " of Korea is located in Seoul at a place called "Gangnam" It is a VERY nice area...and the way you can tell is the excessive number of BMWs and BENZs that I'm able to spot in the area. I live in the second yuppiest area of Seoul (and therefore Korea itself) a place call Sungnam City. While the US would call Sungnam a suburb...I find it slightly more complicated than that...
When I think suburb...I think the Seattle suburbs in which I was raised....houses, culs-de-sacs, gardens and a few too many SUVs
In Korea, it's slightly different. It's the fifth most densely populated country in the world...so unless you're on a farm you live in an apartment. Not just any apartment...a Korean style apartment.
These cookie-cuttered monstrosities shoot up at a blinding speed that boggles the mind. They come in complexes of 12-20 and average 20 stories high (but can easily double that in the denser areas of Seoul.)
I live just south of Seoul where the subway snakes south between the hills. The square block immediately surrounding the subway stop is a mecca of restaurants, bars, private academies (like mine) doctors, dentists, spas, hair salons...you name it...and there are 2 of them. There are 2 Baskin Robbins...2 Lotterias (the Korean McDonalds)...2 Dunkin Donuts...and many, many other Korean shops. (but no Love Motels...which speaks to the reputability of area in which I live)
But after that first block around the station....there are those Korean apartments...rising up in every direction for a kilometer. Anytime the people living there want to eat, drink, and shop...they congregate around where I live.