Seoul Bike Show 2011

The Seoul Bike Show takes place usually every March in Seoul. I had been wanting to attend this show since I live in Seoul, but was not able to do it until this year.

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Undoubtedly folding bicycles were the most prominent kind of bicycle at the fair. Since I came to Seoul its presence has been increasing an today I would say they are the most common kind of bicycle used by people living in Seoul, a city where space at homes is something very valuable.

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One of the folding bikes, folded.

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What would these guys be so interested in? …

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… of course, these three bikes from the manufacturer “American Eagle”. Americans always know how to attract people’s attention 🙂

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This poor Look carbon monoframe was left forgotten next to some boxes as if nobody cared about it…

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If you don’t like titanium components because of their dull color (I love it by the way), don’t worry. This company makes gold-plated titanium components (no-kidding, really gold-plated).

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Taxis in Seoul are popular because they are equipped with GPS since several years ago. Now bicycles can also have these devices.

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This was the most expensive bike I saw in the exhibition… 15 million won (around 13,000 USD) for a true piece of work by De Rosa.

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The whole family of Mavic wheels for road cycling. The top set was priced at 5,2 million won (4,800 USD).

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These bikes with fixed gears (a.k.a. “fixies”) are also quite popular these days. They are usually painted in very live colors (I’m sure many Korean girls would love this one). Not having a free wheel make the bike lighter and cheaper, and require less maintenance. Some of them don’t even have brakes, as you can brake just by stopping pedaling.

Seoul at Night

I recently bought a new lens for my camera, a Nikon 50mm f/1.4. This lens is specially good for taking pictures at night because of its low f-factor. The bad thing is that autofocus does not work with by camera body (a Nikon D40), so I have to focus manually… Anyways these are some of the first pictures I took with this lens.

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Ayummas cooking (and/or drinking) in a street market.

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A pojangmacha in the street.

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Another pojangmacha. Koreans love to buy food at these places, you can buy anything from a hotdog to tteokbokki (떡볶이).

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Cellphone-cover shop in Hongdae.

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A street near my apartment (and no, I don’t live in the countriside, it is quite common to find streets like this one in Seoul just some meters away from the newest and most luxurious buildings).

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Tap-dance performance during the Seoul Fringe Festival.

Korean Movies with Subtitles

For those who are in Seoul, since a couple of weeks ago, it is finally possible to watch Korean movies with subtitles in English at the CGV movie theaters in Gangnam, Yongsan, Myeongdong, and Guro, thanks to the Seoul City Hall and CGV itself. I think this is a great idea, as there are a great community of foreigners in Seoul who were really looking forward to watching recent Korean movies with subtitles in English. I got to know about this initiative because we got an invitation to see one of these Korean movies with subtitles in exchange for filling out a survey asking us what we thought about this initiative and whether we would be willing to watch more Korean movies if they offered them with subtitles in English. Of course, I guess the survey showed that foreigners in Seoul are looking forward to watching Korean movies, and the initiative has been passed. Now we (foreigners) only need CGV offering schedules of movies in English on their website 🙂

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Poster of 방자전 (The Servant), one of the most popular Korean movies this year, which we were invited to watch.

Buddha’s Birthday

Last May 21st was Buddha’s Birthday. Being Buddhism the majority religion in Korea, this day, as in many other countries in Asia, is celebrated in a very special way. During all the week before this day, several parades take place around the most touristic areas of Seoul. We decided to take a walk around Gwanghwamun and Insadong during the first day of the celebrations.

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The parade in Insadong reminded me of the Cavalcade of Magi in Spain.

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Pungmul performance during the parade.

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As in Chinese culture, the dragon is a very important figure in Korean culture, and it is very present in all Korean celebrations.

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Chariots were made of a kind of paper with light inside, which made them very colorful at night.

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View of another chariot.

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Lanterns are everywhere in the city during the Budda’s Birthday previous days. All Buddhist temples, as well as the busiest areas of the biggest Korean cities are adorned with lanterns like these during these days.

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More lanterns 🙂

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View of the Jogyesa Temple, with all the lanterns for Budda’s Birthday.

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Also for this occasion, the Cheonggye Stream (a.k.a. Cheonggyecheon) had this great look with all the lanterns.

An Afternoon at the Ice Rink

A couple of weeks ago, taking the chance after Kim Yuna’s win in the Winter Olympic Games, we went skating to the ice rink in Jamsil. This ice rink is inside Lotte World, but you do not have to pay the entrance to the theme park if you only want to skate. You can skate as much as you want (there is no time limit) for 13,000 won. Wearing gloves is mandatory (I guess they don’t want cut fingers on the ice rink…), but you can also buy them there for 1,000 won.

There were two things that surprised me. One is that there were many children skating, and many of them taking speed skating (the boys) or figure skating (the girls) lessons.

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View of the ice rink right after being cleaned-up (every hour more or less everybody has to go out during 15 minutes so that the ice rink can be cleared of scratches in the ice).

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People skating. On the left you can see the children learning how to speed-skate.

The second thing that I saw was that there were many couples wearing “couple t-shirts”, a trend in some Asian countries by which couples wear the same clothes to show their love in public. This is not just limited to t-shirts (or hoodies in this case). You can also find “couple pants”, couple shoes, couple cups… and some couple even dress totally the same, from shoes to cup…

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Couple t-shirt model “heart”.

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Couple t-shirt model “posh”.

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Couple t-shirt model “cute”

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And the speed skating star. Born to skate! 🙂