Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bulgogi in an Earthworm Pot


The title doesn’t really have anything to do with what I’m writing about; it was simply too good to pass up.  When I read the English description of a Korean dish, “Bulgogi in an earthenware pot,” my son thought I said, “Bulgogi in an earthworm pot.”  Needless to say, he was a little appalled at the idea.

Over the last fourteen years, during seven trips to Korea, I’ve noticed slight, but consistent changes, specifically regarding commuting around Seoul.  The streets of the city used to buzz with ultra-small compact cars, much like the Smart Cars that are cropping up in the US.  A sedan was an anomaly.  Now, the streets hum with luxury sedans and the ultra-small compact car is an odd sight.  Traffic signals and signs used to be a “suggestion” for drivers and pedestrians were cautioned to always watch before stepping into a crosswalk because cars had the right of way.  Now, there seems to be a much higher expectation that drivers will follow the rules of the road and that pedestrians in marked crossing lanes should expect to be able to cross safely.  Motorcycles and scooters used to take over the sidewalks whenever it was to their advantage.  Now, pedestrians seem to expect that motorized vehicles will stay on the streets, within the lanes of traffic.  It doesn’t feel as much like Seoul, but there’s still bulgogi in earthenware pots.

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