m a r k a n d e y a

Still the same Korea…

Posted by Brian on April 27, 2006

Some choice passages from Korea: A Walk Through the Land of Miracles by Simon Winchester:

'The rules for mountain climbing,' one writer on Korea noted, 'demand not that you climb a mountain, but that you dress up in heavy boots, alpine hat, coloured jacket, and have a knapsack or pack over your shoulder. If you are thus equipped you are "mountain climbing," even if you get on the wrong bus and end up at the seaside.'

And another:

But my strong impression then on the road to Kwangju… was that the Korean driver is a very dangerous animal indeed, a beast totally without understanding of speed, pathologically incapable of steering, utterly ignorant of the width of his vehicle, and eternally forgetful of such luxuries as the brakes and mirrors with which his car is invariably equipped. He knows only one device, and that is the horn, on which he seems to spend most of his time sitting, if not standing.

And this was written in 1988. The more things change…

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One Response to “Still the same Korea…”

  1. Ziggy Freud said

    Those are a couple of highlights from an otherwise dull and meandering book, which of course, may have been his intent, since it was a record of his walking tour. Still, it was hard to get to the end.

    I generally like Winchester’s books, [Krakatoa was fascinating from beginning to end], but this one puts me to sleep every time I pick it up.

    There are plenty of good books on Korea, but I was rather disappointed by this one.

    If you can pick up a copy from the library, cool. But don’t pay full price for it.

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