Here Today Gone Tomorrow
It was there last week because I walked right past it and decided I should eat lunch there sometime. I particularly like bo-ssam (보쌈) and last time I ate in this restaurant one of the side dishes was grilled mackerel pike. (공치)However, the restaurant has disappeared and is now a bar. Korean is a state of transition and businesses come and go with rapidity.
I’m in a part of town I rarely visit; it’s over the crossroad near my one room, the dividing line between my world and what as well might be another city. Suddenly, I recognise where I am having walked onto a street from a direction in which I’d never previously come. For a moment I’m transported back 10 years. First, I recognise a shop that used to be the fast food restaurant Popeyes. It mutated into a stationery store within months of my arrival and is now a boutique. And just there was the shop where I bought a second-hand piano. Now it’s a travel agent. This reminds me of the shop where I bought my flight back to the UK after my first visit and I turn my head to locate it – it too has gone. And next to the piano shop was a small covered market where on a hot a muggy afternoon I remember drinking two glasses of freshly squeezed kiwi juice. The entire market has gone.
In the area around my ‘one-room,’ only a few businesses and even people remain from ten years ago. The big corporate businesses, still stand but the small businesses have changed hands sometimes on numerous occasions. I’ve taught hundred of kids in this area. I can remember many of their names and still recall some faces. Their English names are easy to remember as there was a trend back then for kids to give themselves quite bizarre names – Silver, Gold, Cow, Knife, Cat, etc. However, I have only passed two ex-students who recognised me.
In less than 65 paces from my front door I can see ‘Mr Big,’ ‘ Davici’ the opticians and the beauticians, ‘Beautyplex.’ The three business are directly opposite each other and less than 10 days all three replaced former businesses and reappeared in new guises. That was earlier this year and since then another 2 business have either relocated or appeared in the same block.
© Nick Elwood 2010.This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.