Sometimes the small details are more interesting than the large ones. Here are a few brief differences from the U.S. that we’ve noticed on our trip.
- Christian churches here almost without exception have crosses lit with bright red (sometime white) neon lights. The red signifies the blood of Christ. The tall beaming red crosses would probably be considered tacky in the U.S. Apparently it isn’t just foreigners who notice the lights; there have been campaigns in Seoul to get them turned off to reduce light pollution at night.
- Hiking gear here is all the rage. The shopping districts here are not full of high fashion clothes or purse stores… they are full of high fashion outdoorwear. Store after store full of heavy duty winter coats and hiking boots line the commercial districts of every city we’ve visited. On our hikes we’ve noticed many hikers decked out with shiny new shoes, coats, and hiking poles. Each brand has their own store here as well. Examples of stores we have seen include Head, Spyder, Discovery Expedition, Mammut, K2, North Face, Eider, The Redface (North Face imitator), Columbia, Keen, Merrell, ASICS, New Balance, Zero Point, and Osprey.
Apparently we’re not the only ones to have noticed this. On the flip side, we’ve met some incredibly nice people on the trails here. This man offered me some Neosporin when he saw my torn up hand and then gave us his phone number in case we needed any help or advice!
- Sarcasm isn’t really a thing in Korea. One day we hiked to the top of a 2000 foot peak in Seoraksan hoping for a great view. Since it was snowing we couldn’t see anything, and we commented to people we saw at the top that it was “a beautiful view” only for them to tell us “no view” with a look like they though we weren’t all there. We later confirmed with a Couchsurfer that sarcasm isn’t really a thing in Korea. Here is the view from the top of a different peak in Seoraksan on a day that was clear.