18 April 2004

Update from Kwangju

OK, first off, I realize I am still using a "K" to spell Kwangju, but I just don't like the newer "G" beginning. I saw an add recently for classes to learn to make Gimchi... I mean, what in the world is Gimchi??? It should be Kimchi. Basically, transliteration is always pretty bad and confusing, so I guess there should be some standard, but they have changed the standard in Korea at least three times in the past decade and that simply makes things more confusing. I'd rather just read it all in Hangul and be done with it.

OK, that rant is over... Kwangju really hasn't changed in the past four years. It is still all construction and dust everywhere. The downtown area in behind the post office is still packed with students, though the food carts have added a few new delicacies, including strawberries n a stick dipped in sugar and really fat octopus and squid legs, much meatier than the nice flat shoe-leather squids. One main difference is that all the new apartment complexes have begun to sprout their own downtowns around them, so the center of town is no longer the sole mecca of modern commercialism.

The movie theaters have modernized, losing some of their charm. They are now all run by the department stores and even have assigned seating. No more sitting in the aisles, no more kimbap and fried chicken allowed. It is all Pepsi and Popcorn, served in Konglish-adorned cardboard containers. But those of us who complain about foreign places "losing their charm" through modernization expect nothing less at home, so I guess this isn't a complaint as much as a lament for what was before, for the things of my memory, the things that stood out as different or unique from my previous travels. It is somewhat sad that the entire world is homoginizing, but that is a rant for another time...

Anyway, off for a day with family, and rumor has it off to the beach too.

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