Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Rather Questionable Display of Korean Public Art


Korea was interesting. We were out there for some bizarro festival that included Marilyn Manson and a whole sackful of screaming, trashy metal bands. Seoul, where we were posted up for a few days is a huge, sprawling industrial city. I kept having flashbacks of the Korean horror movie 'The Host' which is about some sort of mutated sea monster who wreaks havoc on the waterfront eating children and the elderly. Such is life. That and the smoggy, polluted air aside, it was a pretty decent place to be, for a few days anyway.

It was a pretty confusing place to be for the first few hours though. When we got in we had a 2 hour drive to the hotel following a six hour flight from Singapore. The band was expected at some national press conference where they were asked if they were excited to meet the curator of the festival we were shipped there for who was, in retrospect, described as 'The Korean Michael Jackson' (if by Michael Jackson you mean his Asian, rap-rock equivalent then sure). The band, fielding the first question and a little off-guard after a long trip responded by saying the honest, and most natural thing that you could say in that situation: "who?" I would say that it was verging on an international incident, but somehow they managed to turn it around and save some face. Also, this is what happens when you miss the placement of a decimal point and unintentionally withdraw 500,000 Korean Won from an ATM machine. 

Like I said....confusing.

Luckily I stumbled on Jackie Chan's Dim Sum restaurant in a mall not far from the hotel.

The food was pretty delicious, and the decor featured stills from some of the man's finer work. Also, I'm pretty sure the cover of the menu had a picture of Jackie Chan punching the fuck out of a pork bun.

I wandered into a series of buddhist temples in the middle of the city during my second day in Seoul. It was amazing and peaceful, and it wasn't until I had been there for a good 15 minutes that I realized I had interrupted some sort of ceremony or another. I apologized profusely, stubbed my cigarette out in the holy water, wiped my face on the flag and beat a hasty retreat.

To bao