Perfect Village

3 Jun

A few weeks ago I found what was to me the perfect Korean village.

What made the village particularly appealing was that everything old is adapted for contemporary use.  Hardly the way things work in most places I’ve been in the 삼성민국, but this is Gangwon-do.  This store is not only an ancient building itself, but the manner of selling is of a really old style.  In my understanding, “연쇄점” means a general store, in the sense of an old-school mercantile establishment, not a convenience shop.  The middle-aged man running the place said that it was over forty years old.  The building certainly appeared older than that.

The restaurant next door still listed a two-digit telephone number.  I wonder when those were still in use in rural Korea.


The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this building was just about the oldest one I saw in the whole place.  No one inside or anywhere around to ask about it, though.

The kid on the bench in front of the little shop on the left sat there playing with his toy pellet gun.  He seemed to pay me no heed.  We walked inside to buy something to drink.  His grandmother seemed surprised that anyone would actually come into her place at all.  But she was still all smiles and even came to the door to give us a big wave as we walked away.  The kid still didn’t seem interested.  The very old and the very young, with a gulf in between — that’s Korea, in more ways than one.

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