South Korea is a perfect resume of Asia: you can find some chinese roughness, some japanese politeness, a siberian inclination to alcohol, a language even more unpronounciable than mongol, good and super-spicy food in south-east asian style.
Add to this a good number of religions living together and the fact that Korea is a divided country for political-military reasons and you get an interesting book to open up and study.
The idea of hitchhiking Seoul - Pyongyang was very fascinating, but sadly I've been refused the access into North Korea... The troops of Kim Il Sung in fact aren't really eager to let anybody in their country, therefore I had to content myself with an organized tour on the border that divides North and South Korea, the paradoxical DMZ, demilitarized zone, in true american style, plenty of yankee soldiers trying to handle the thorny situation playing eye-contact games with the North Koreans on the other side, trying to avoid diplomatic incidents that would possibly lead to World War III.
I actually stepped into North Korea, maybe 1 meter from the border, at I felt quite proud.
What I heard of North Korea is that the poor civilians are ruled with a whip and constantly bombed by a massive propaganda, and they are brainwashed to the point of seeing a deity figure in the eternal leader Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Yong-Il.
Quite often it means inhuman tortures for the rebel prisoners and starving conditions of the population, whom, at least, have something to believe in.
In the few best cases the party is open with the famous Mass Games, huge parades where the best athletes of the country form spectacular synchronized choreographies in true socialist spirit. This is their way to be thankful to their leader. A real pity for me not being there. I also wished to say Thank you Kim for keeping a little suspance over the planet with some nuclear weapon every now and then... Indeed he's a real No Global!
On the way back from that tour I was asking myself with which kind of brainwashing we are living: maybe a bigger one, more colorful and apparently more free.
Seoul is definitely not Tokyo, alas, but here I was that day and here I pressed the pause button.
Pause from travelling, pause from life, for 2 months.
I placed my backpack under the bed and I sat on a table, I opened negotiations with Photoshop and all the happy suite... I went back into the digital world, and after some sleep I ejected myself to India!
Eventally I'm leaving east Asia, with a special chinese gift:
I'm closing this short post with my favourite playlist of the moment
(special thanks to David and Asya!):
Yeah punk-rock is still the attitude, but the music gets softer and electrified, music for the soul.
See you in Bombay brothers!