We’re All Waving Flags (Travelogue Part 5: Seoul)

‘Just one more shop. I’ll be back in a moment, wait here.’

He wasn’t. I had been waiting for the best part of two hours, trudging round shoe shops in the rain in futile pursuit of the perfect trainers. In fairness, it wasn’t all Vasilyy’s fault. His size wasn’t easy to find, and some of the shop assistants gave the strong impression of being on heavy sedatives. Then there’s the international shoe size system omnishambles. If you were looking for bearish signs about world peace, the fact we can’t agree on a single global standard for measuring fucking foot size would rank high up there. I start with this story not to name and shame V, although that is fun, but to point out that Seoul is the kind of city where one district contains two hours’ worth of shoe shopping options. Continue reading “We’re All Waving Flags (Travelogue Part 5: Seoul)”


Spice and Silence (Travelogue Part 4: Gyeongju- Gangneung- Seoul)

I was there on the Seoul metro, listening to Iron & Wine because it was the least Seoul-metro music I could think of. I was hoping to be overground again, anywhere else. This isn’t an indictment of the Seoul metro system, which is excellent, with its sprawling stations, vast, broad platforms and airport-style conveyer belts to ferry you about wherever. It’s just that I’ve been ill (cough, whimper), and when I’m feeling rough, being trapped in a tin can under the Earth with strangers is about as welcome as brunch with Iain Duncan Smith. In downtown Aleppo. Continue reading “Spice and Silence (Travelogue Part 4: Gyeongju- Gangneung- Seoul)”

Korea, Decent Coffee and the World Transformed (Travelogue Part 3: Busan- Gyeongju)

Another shore, another story. This week I took my first proper steps into South Korea and mainland Asia (a brief stopover in Taiwan last year notwithstanding), and it’s been… a lot. I’m currently in the swankiest internet cafe I’ve set foot in, surrounded by gamers playing Portal, FIFA and World of Warcraft, and trying to make sense of what I’ve seen and felt so far. I make no apologies for the length of my article- I didn’t have time to write a shorter one. Continue reading “Korea, Decent Coffee and the World Transformed (Travelogue Part 3: Busan- Gyeongju)”