view from the Ritz

For the rest of the world, Seoul doesn’t have its Eiffel Tower, yellow taxi, or historic sphinx (at least not yet, considering the government’s various city branding campaigns). It has a river (formerly disgusting, currently way cleaner), but not one that is pictured on postcards, majestically winding through the city. No, you won’t find the “Miracle on the Han” high on the list of dreamers who want to get out and “see the world.”

But, much like my relationship with this city over the past decade of my life,  Seoul is evolving and unfolding every day, faster than you can say… um, “rice cake.”

So, from the balcony of a suite at the Ritz Carlton Hotel…

you can see hints of the street, whose traffic is often the best indicator of this city’s raging overpopulation…

the mountains that contain the breathtakingly turbulent growth…

the masses of modern apartment complexes that house many of Seoul’s 10.5 million residents…

and skies that tell you it’s summertime.

And this is my cousin/little brother Justin with his favorite chips and strawberry milk, sitting with me at the lounge beside a big window. (At this moment, I think he had just asked me what “soporific” meant. And I had to justify myself by asking for the context first. I mean, seriously. How is my 11-year-old cousin learning “soporific”? Meanwhile, I’m realizing I don’t even know how to say “to pour” in Korean!)

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