Sunday, July 26, 2009

Line 9 is Transportation!

Say that title to yourself the same way Chuck Heston (I met him once, so I can call him Chuck) says, "Soylent Green is People!" Just to inject a little drama into the blog, you understand.

So I took the train to the end of the line at Sinnonhyeon, which is in Gangnam, one of the rich, over-developed, central areas of Seoul. Well, right outside one of the exits (#7) was an enormous Kyobo bookstore, and having just finished the book I bought after I finished Mountains Beyond Mountains (look about four posts below this), this was a happy coincidence. I also ate a classic Italian sub at Quizno's in the Kyobo Tower building, and it was delish.

I bought two books, one of which is titled Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I think is one of the first novels to deal with the aftermath of September 11, 2001. I stopped off at Yeouido and walked around the park for a while, then settled in and read for a spell. Here are a few photos of Yeouido Park in mid-summer (click in the label cloud for photos and descriptions from my visits in winter and spring):

While I was in the park, I happened across a bit of a commotion, which turned out to be some filming, probably for a TV show--MBS, one of the major networks, is headquartered right across the street. I suppose it was one of the myriad goofy-ass reality-type shows they love here; in their zeal to be Western-ish, Koreans have made their TV just as insipid as the American version.

Anyway, in this vignette I witnessed, the host found a young couple and convinced the young man to put on a pink tee-shirt:

Then, a young woman (not his girlfriend) wearing a matching shirt rushed up and appeared to promise him her undying love. This vow is a required part of wearing the "couple shirts" so popular in Korea.

The scene ended when the young man rode off on a bicycle alongside the new girl, while his original girlfriend rode the opposite direction on a tandem with some other member of the production staff. The assembled crowd seemed to enjoy the spectacle:

Taking line 9 to the end and back, I observed a few things:
1) Express trains only come twenty minutes apart, while all-stop trains are about 6 minutes apart;
2) it is helpful to announce on all-stop trains at which station you may transfer to an express, however, announcing that express riders can switch to an all-stop train at every stop is unnecessary;
3) the time difference between regular service and the express is not all that great--the 11 minutes difference from Jeungmi to the end of line at Sinnonhyeon is less than you will wait for the next express to come along;
4) furthermore, if the first weekend of service is anything to go by (and it may not be, since I suspect there was a lot of subway tourism), express trains are SRO, and regular service is less crowded.


Tanner Brown said...

Dear McLovin, we don't know how Heston speaks in Soylent Green, because, not living in our parent's basement, we do not get so excited when we say "Linux" that we spit on people's faces and then retire to the VCR for consolation.

Secondly, this post of yours -- minus the Soylent Green reference -- was up there with Paul Theroux's short about riding the New York subway in the 80s. Kind of a subway sandwich of fun!

And, you're reading that Sassafras Foyer guy, huh? Cuil. I just finished TC Boyle's 'Water Music', loosely based on Mungo Park's journey into the interior of Africa. Wonderful book.

Let us know how the book treats you, sweetie.

Tuttle said...

Long time no viddy, droog!

Af far as the SGIP thing, focus yer glassies on this for a refresher: