22 September 2008

Only one photo today

It's 4PM on Monday, September 22nd. Today, with most museums closed, I decided to stay in my local area, walking to a nearby shopping district for a Chinese lunch but doing little else.

I could see the signs of foreign presence in the Yongsan-Ichon neighborhood, even though the US Army is no longer here. A traditional market, as well as some real estate agencies, had plenty of Japanese-language signs, to cater to a rather large Japanese population that calls this area home. I also saw a blue-eyed redhead baby girl pause for a look at her surroundings, as her mother patiently waited. Last, but not the least, I saw garbage disposal instructions from the local ward government, written in English and Arabic alongside Korean. From this area, for a few miles to the east, there is a lot of foreign presence, including the Itaewon shopping district that sprung up next to the US Army base (and still home to many Westerners), Seoul's main Islamic mosque, and embassies of many Middle Eastern and Latin American nations.

But I don't have any photos to show for any of this. I couldn't take photos of the passers-by either - not even the local fashionistas wearing minidresses with ankle-length leggings, the typical look here in Seoul right now. But I did get a chance for a photo, as I sat down at a bakery for a break, and this old yellow pickup truck came in.

Yes, it's a Hyundai Pony! I found this little truck rolling in to park across the street from the bakery, between a Ssangyong Musso SUV to the front and a Chrysler 300 to the rear. As the red decals on the bed indicate, this is still a daily workhorse, even though it's probably 20-25 years old. It looks very good for its age too. As I previously mentioned at this blog, the Pony was the first in-house model from Hyundai (or any South Korean automaker for that matter), produced between 1975 and 1988, and also available as a sedan, a hatchback, and a wagon; very few survive today, because it was, at one time, too embarrassing to drive one (when Hyundai was starting to build sexier new cars like the Sonata and the Elantra). But today, it's a collectible, a nostalgic piece of South Korea's industrialization.

I am planning to visit the Everland Resort in two days, and visit its car museum, where I will get a better look at a 1979 Pony sedan, just like what my father once drove. I will look forward to it.