월드컵 (FIFA WORLD CUP 2010)
Today, Seoul was walking in red gear and high heels (girls) or red gear and their girlfriends’ handbags (guys), sitting on stools at tables that spill into the street from clubs and bars and cafes and restaurants and convenience stores, squishing together in a crowd like you’ve never seen before (maybe New Year’s Day in New York City?) in front of the central City Hall to watch the projection of the game, jam-packing the streets with traffic despite the fact that traffic is already complete torture…
Korean national pride: the first time I really understood its fanatical intensity was in 2002, when the FIFA World Cup was held in Seoul. Before that summer, I hadn’t actually seen crowds packed in streets watching tiny TVs behind the store windows, or a general population of people wearing their country’s team colors.
That electric spirit returned today for Korea’s 8:30 game against Argentina…
Which turned out not so good. (4-1, Argentina.) The streets were quiet post-defeat. Except seriously, the South Korean goalkeeper is freaking amazing.
Of course, Sunyoung and I made sure to don the red. And as we made our way to my friend Connie’s friend’s cafe in another part of town for wine, fried chicken (Korean version, i.e. somehow more acceptable) and spicy rice cake dishes (as you can see, food translations simply aren’t always possible…), we found ourselves squeezing into congested train cars, puzzle pieces in a kind of loud pride that simply isn’t quite available anywhere else.