Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ansan

After reading this article/photoessay on Chincha?! back in February, I decided Ansan seemed worth a wander one Saturday when we didn't have to work. 


It's around 40 minutes outside Seoul on the blue line and has a significant number of Southeast Asians, which is enough to frighten away most Seoul-dwelling Koreans. It's even gotten a bit of a bad rap, but it's just like any city with a large, hard-working immigrant population. I think that if the dingy dated arcade in the aging, heavily-Asian mall in the crappy-but-not-dangerous neighbouhood you used to go to in the mid-90's were a city, this is what it would look like.


The marketplace in the center of Ansan has just about everything every Asian street market tends to have, but has a bit of a different feel from those in Seoul. It's definitely more vibrant: you won't find crowds of enthusiastic blue-collar people playing xiangqi or jianzi in Namdaemun.

There's a lot of Thai and other more varied cuisines there, though I didn't end up trying any. We didn't realise the distinctive vegetarian restaurant Si had looked up that was a ways out of the centre of Ansan was closed that day, so we made the journey to it in vain. 
I'd like to go back sometime; the distinctive architecture alone is a lure for me, seeing as how most of the buildings in Korea seem to come from the same Ikea-style pre-fab box, minus the colour choices.

Of course, most of Ansan is basically like Seoul and it's not drastically different, but it has character. People who dig post-apocalyptic motifs, the aforementioned arcade vibe, nostalgia and kitsch should like it enough to spend a day.




Close enough.


The multicultural community center tried to tell us which way we should go, but we decided that we couldn't fit both Bangladesh and Nepal into one afternoon.


A vending machine full of tubes of chips plus one tin of Danish cookies. You can see my brow furrowed confusedly in the reflection.


The juxtaposition of old/traditional/earthy and new/Western/shiny you see everywhere.


For some reason I thought this immaculate office chair sitting in front of what used to be a building was kind of poignant.



Sometimes I have to wonder if Korea is secretly made out of Legos.


I haven't been able to successfully edit videos on my little netbook because it can't really handle playing the HD videos I've been taking in the first place. The other day I decided that I have too much cool crap to keep it tucked away in folders on my external forever, and just used YouTube Video Editor to string these clips together without trimming them. Whatever gets the job done I guess. Maybe I'll try to make them fancy sometime in the future.