I’d like to start this post with the opening couple of verses of one of the world’s most famous songs…
A girl who is warm and humanly during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist
I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy
Yep, that’s Gangnam Style!
Walking the streets of Gangnam, and in particular Garosu-gil street, it was easy to see the inspiration behind the song. Probably the closest Western comparison would be the ‘Essex’ stereotype in London; slaves to fashion, augmented to the hilt, a single digit IQ… Gangnam had it all. Quirky fashion houses, scarily skinny clothes horses strutting the sidewalks, masked faces behind which could be seen the tell tale signs of plastic surgery (seriously, I’ve never seen so many cosmetic surgery hospitals!), K-pop music blaring from uber-luxurious shopfronts, independent artists manning tables strewn with homemade fasion accessories. It was decadent, it was alternative, and it was fabulous!
It’s pretty obvious that tourism hasn’t hit Korea to anywhere near the extent that it has in Japan. A case in point was at lunchtime where the waitresses were actively striving not to make eye contact with the Two Clowns in the corner! I watched with great amusement as they all looked anywhere but in our direction, suddenly finding dirty cutlery that required the utmost concentration, or straightening a table cloth on the other side of the room! It took a while, but we did eventually get our order in and had a pretty good meal.
We spent much of the day walking, getting lost, and eventually finding ourselves approaching the Jamsil sports complex (home of the Seoul ’88 Olympic games!). At only $40 a head we secured ourselves a couple of awesome seats and a small table on which to rest our numerous beers and other assorted snacks, as we watched the Doosan Bears baseball team do battle with the NC Dinos over the next few hours.
The fans at this game were incredible! We thought the Japanese went nuts in support of their team but I reckon the Koreans take it to the next level!
Here’s the evidence…
The first video takes a bit to get warmed up (and please excuse the initial shakiness…it does get much better the further in you watch), but before you know it you’re in the middle of a Smurf’s episode, finishing with a rendition of ‘What’s Up?’ by 4 Non-blondes! You’ll want to check out the moves on the hype guy out the front. Mad skillz!
The second one gives you a good idea of what the dancing girls get up to, finishing with a bit of ‘Surfing USA’.
An awesome afternoon’s fun! Scores were level going into the bottom of the ninth, with Doosan at bat, when this bizarre play ended up gifting Doosan the win! I don’t think the batter himself quite realised what had happened! Suffice to say, the crowd went absolutely bonkers!!
Tomorrow? A tour of the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea!