Archive for September 12th, 2009

The markets and roads

Central South Korea

bowls of grain

Bowls of grain

Much of what is for sale on the street markets is quite beautiful and reminds me of a nice farmer’s market back home; ok that is a stretch. And much is rather disturbing. Capturing photos of the markets, particularly the disturbing parts, has proven difficult. The street vendors do not like to be photographed (the nastier their product the less they like it), and it is considered rude to do so without permission. So, I keep asking for permission and keep being “Shooed” away. I have employed a technique that my good friend Alan (http://www.ecovelo.info/) and excellent photographer suggested: “Put the camera on full auto, turn the camera to mute, and walk down the street with camera at waist level while the shutter is depressed; you will capture something interesting”.

fruit bowls

Bowls of fruit

market produce

Market Produce

The lost in translation contest continues and today”s entries included a couple of real contenders . The first was worn proudly by a rather dark complected young Asian man on the subway; he was wearing a snow white T-shirt that read: “White Represent Purity”. The second was even more, well, interesting. It was worn by a young girl that we estimated to be around 10-13 years old. She was wearing a baby pink adolescent’s shirt that had a bright pink cartoon cat on the front of it….just adorable. Above the cat in big letters it said: “Our Pussy”, and below the cat it read: “Our Choice”. Now in California at the Dykes on Bikes parade, I would expect this. In fact, I once found myself in the middle of a gay rights march on Washington DC and this shirt would have been considered junior league there. But from a women’s perspective, South Korea has been described to me as being most similar to the U.S, circa 1950; albeit changing rapidly. Thus, I am pretty certain this young girl was NOT an activist.

Traffic signals are but “Recommendations”; seriously. Yellow proceeds green NOT red, and indicates that the other side is still green but you can likely proceed regardless. Not that it matters, you can proceed on red as well. Scooters use the cross walks to avoid signals all together, and use the sidewalks on an “as needed” basis. Folding mirrors on cars were invented for the narrow alleys – when it is tight, quickly grab-em, fold-em and accelerate; if you are actually going to hit (these are nice cars) slam on the brakes and horn simultaneously and play a game of chicken regarding who is going to back up; or maybe a shop keeper will close their window to provide the extra inch. Bus drivers are something to behold and compete in real races around real cities; way more interesting than NASCAR – spectators get to come along for the ride; usually about $1500 Won, so plan on a buck and a quarter for your admission.


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Miss you mom

Jukjeon, South Korea


Peggy Johnson Francisco

Still on the road mom, looking for home; It has been a year today, yet I know you are with me.

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