South Korea: ingenious, or what?

Still on the ‘what we did on our holidays’  theme, this post has been brought forward a few days (there really is a plan here – sometimes) because…

There’s a chance to catch a little of Korea in the UK this week. The amazing percussion group GongMyoung are touring southeast England. Fantastic to watch live, they’re also on YouTube here.

The instruments  in the clip are their own invention. After our swift visit to Seoul this comes as no surprise.  South Korea truly appears to be the land where there’s an ingenious gadget for everything.

August is not the best time to visit Seoul, as any fool who’s read the guide books will know.  Still, having travelled so far, this fool felt obliged to turn off the aircon (remotely controlled, of course), abandon the amazing guesthouse plumbing (more later)  and drag herself out to see a few sights.   After this:

Bright banners being carried at traditional changing of palace guard

and some of this

Traditional rooftop against background of mountains

and some sitting around in this

Korean guesthouse garden

and some marvelling at the absence of  litter and graffiti while wondering where the riots were (sorry, no photo of riot police out practising on the streets, but there were lots of them)  the only sight we still wanted to see was this, dispensed by machines that sell it very cold and very cheap:

Can of Pocari Sweat soft drink

…which just about gave us the strength to stagger back to the wonders of Korean plumbing. I’m not going to elaborate except to say that the heated bathroom mirror is an eminently sensible invention. As for the rest –  Googling ‘washlet’ will provide all the details anyone could ever want to know, and visitors to Japan will not need to be told.

I began to understand what it must have felt like when our barbarian ancestors first encountered aqueducts and underfloor heating. We’d have been the ones running back to the farmstead, shouting, ”You’ll never believe what those Romans have got in that Bath House!’

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