FIVE THINGS TO SIMULTANEOUSLY LOVE & HATE ABOUT LIFE IN SOUTH KOREA

OH, KOREA! Land of Miracles, Land of Mountains, Land of Superficiality and Antiquated Women’s Rights and Dirt-Cheap Liquor and and and… Where a proud, moving story of democratic triumph in the face of repeated military coups exists snugly south of the creepiest totalitarian regime in the world; where drivers constantly run red lights but I’d never trust another country’s motorist to pass within 3cm of my person; where software development is at a world-class high and yet every website is designed for Internet Explorer. South Korea is where they use spoons for rice and chopsticks for chicken wings, and where the two most valuable qualities in a man are respect and politeness, until, inevitably, your boss demands that you join him in drinking dangerously cheap alcohol and singing the Korean equivalent of Bon Jovi together until you stumble into a taxi at 2 A.M. like drunken teenagers.

… there is no distinction between “stylish” and “hipster”. One Saturday night, I saw a man walk casually into a bar wearing a picture frame around his shoulder, as a prom queen might wear a sash; that is to say, as an accessory.

My latest piece for UK-based TravelMag; in truth just a melange of observations I’ve collected in my six short months here. Here’s to the next six [at least?]!

TEXAS STREET IS AN ANGRY, LONELY PLACE

LET ME BE CLEAR: we only went to see boobs. Keep this in mind. It is why, after two and a half hours of drinking through one of South Korea’s most notorious and least desirable red light districts—and having eyeballed disappointingly zero nipples—it seemed a good idea to ask the six-foot-two, black-leather-jacketed Russian man stumbling down the street at 2:30 in the morning: “Do you know where a strip bar is?”

Each time, we’d peek inside—Club Manilla, Club Havana—but the world all over looked the same. Each promised luxury and alcohol and sex, and each was just a small room with a vacant karaoke machine and a few women too tired to smile anymore.

My first piece for Travel Mag, and my first piece of “travel writing” to boot. TravelMag.co.uk is a good site for anyone interested in unbiased, detailed narrative non-fiction with a global backdrop, and I’m glad that my piece fit their bill.