Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Seoul Man

The Blues Brothers  (Widescreen 25th Anniversary Edition)Believe it or not, I am writing this post from Seoul, Korea!

On Monday morning I will be a keynote speaker at WebxCon.

I left Seattle on Wednesday morning, and flew to Seoul via Tokyo, arriving here late Thursday night. I spent Friday working on a presentation that I’ll deliver at SD Expo next week. It was hundreds of dollars cheaper for me to arrive Thursday instead of Friday, and it didn’t hurt to have one more day to shake off some of the jet lag.

I spent some time walking around the city yesterday to get acclimated. Seoul is a modern, bustling city, with lots of cars and very wide sidewalks. A good think too, since motorcycles are apparently allowed to use the sidewalks as they please. The city is pretty clean, but there’s a layer of smog blocking the sun. This smog may in fact be the dreaded “yellow dust“, an unwelcome export from China.

This morning I took a taxi to a busy market in an attempt to score some non-genuine leather goods for my wife. This was easier said than done — I didn’t find any good shops or stalls, and the people were not interested in engaging in commerce with me. At one stall I stopped to look at some men’s pants. The proprietor looked at me, shook his head and said “big pants.” I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or an insult, so I just smiled at him and kept going. Near the market I walked through what was once a gate to the city, and took a few pictures. I left without buying any leather goods. I’m not what you would call a power shopper, and the barrier to commerce was just too high here.

There’s an odd lack of color variety in the cars here. I would guess that 90% of the cars are black, white, or silver.

Returned to the hotel and then walked across the street to Bongeun-sa. This is a Buddhist temple dating back to the year 794. Crossing the street and entering the grounds, the place simply radiated serenity. I saw people rush from the parking lot toward the grounds, and as they crossed over they would straighten up, slow down, and walk quietly.

I’ve got a busy couple of days coming up, so I took it kind of easy today.

If you’ve read this far and you can relate the title of this post to the picture of Jake and Elwood on the right, feel free to leave a comment.