Korea: Travelogue (Part IV) / by Deborah Clague

"What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a designer. I create print and web materials. I wanted to visit South Korea to experience the creative culture that your government is actively promoting and hopefully be inspired once I return to Canada."

"Ooh. Good job. Very good. You will find a lot to see and do while here. Are you married?"

"No, I'm single."

"Ah…how come? We do something about this. You need a strong Korean man. I will get you one."

For the remainder of the day, my tour guide attempted to set me up with members of the military. Under normal circumstances, I would have been annoyed and embarrassed by this affront to my sense and sensibility but in this instance I was greatly amused. Even though I was on the adventure of a lifetime, experiencing things that few have the opportunity to, the topic of conversation always veered to when someone would put a ring on it as though my validation in life derived from it. 

Throughout the trip, I felt my father's spirit always with me. 

After this exchange, I felt my mother was also in the room. 


Driving to Seoul from Incheon Airport at dusk, the hangul signage began to illuminate the streets. It's a beautiful alphabet. I tried to decipher what they were communicating through other visual cues, but I couldn't identify anything. This just made my trip more of an adventure. I yearned to get lost in this neon safari. 

Above this, at the apex of the increasingly vertical skyline, I noticed the light of Christian crosses glowing red. Their ubiquity a sign that the United States army wasn't the only group attempting to stake their interest and convert ideology in this foreign land. 


"Do you think reunification will happen during your lifetime?" 

I asked this question to several people during my time in South Korea. The defector I met. People who've lost family members. While everyone expressed desire for reunification to occur, the short answer I received from everyone was the same. 

"No."

The perceived motive of the war amongst South Koreans also generated a unanimous response.

"This is just a war between super powers. First, soviet Russia and capitalist America and now China versus the west. If this were to be settled amongst Korea, we would be united by now."

View of Seoul Station from my hotel room (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

View of Seoul Station from my hotel room (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jongno Tower, representative of the striking contemporary architecture in Seoul (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jongno Tower, representative of the striking contemporary architecture in Seoul (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Jogyesa Buddhist Temple (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Gyeongbokgung Palace (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Gyeongbokgung Palace (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Gyeongbokgung Palace guard (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Gyeongbokgung Palace guard (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Namdaemun Market (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)

Namdaemun Market (©Deborah Clague/Oblada.com)