Walking Around Myeongdong

This morning before breakfast, I took a brisk stroll around Myeongdong and snapped some nice pictures of the mostly-empty streets.

Myeongdong at 7:00 in the morning is really different from Myeongdong at 11:00 at night. It’s quiet and eerily calm. Instead of crowds of tourists clamoring for discounts, the walkways are mostly barren. You hear some scampering of feet and the beeping sounds of delivery trucks backing up. There are occasionally groups of businessmen who scurry to their offices without making eye-contact with one another. A few shopkeepers sweep the sidewalk in broad strokes. You can see my full album here.

Today was also my first day officially working with my IBD client. I visited the office and the team. I was also asked a few times: “Your last name is Sung; are you Korean American?”

Rather than jump into a long conversation about pinyin and Wade-Giles, I simply shook my head and said: “Nope.”

From my office’s smoking deck, I snapped this picture. The tower in the distance is the Namsan Tower, which is also called N Seoul Tower. I’ve been told that couples will buy padlocks and lock them on the tower to symbolize their eternal love. However, this tradition has only been around for about 5 years. Apparently, it was inspired by a K-drama. People are also supposed to throw away the key. (I was told there are signs everywhere telling people not to throw keys.)

Personally, I think it’d be better if people held on to their keys. Then, if the lovers decide to get married, they should climb the tower, locate their old lock, unlock it, and toss it away to create space for new lovers. Otherwise, there will be no more room for locks in the future. South Korean Ministry of Tourism, you’re welcome.

A few companies dominate Seoul. SK is huge. Case in point, there are SK-owned T Stores on almost every corner in Myeongdong. Furthermore, a lot of the ATM machines are also owned by SK. If you are using a smartphone, you are probably using an SK SIM card.

Another ubiquitous company is Samsung. Back in the states, Samsung is mostly known for its electronics such as TVs and mobile phones. Here in Seoul, Samsung has a hand in everything, even clothing. Pretty crazy, huh?

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