Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Full Metal Village

When I walk into an apartment block these days very little surprises me; I've become used to seeing various items of refuse, used plates from take-aways awaiting collection, bikes (both secured and unsecured), hiking gear and the like sitting outside people's doors. But piles of agricultural produce can still raise an eyebrow. Korea is of course, a very food-centred country, and it seems that some people in their apartment blocks are still processing food in quantities one would have thought more suited to a rural setting.

You'd think that with people here so keen on climbing mountains this desire to climb might extend to utilising the stairs in apartment blocks, but when taking to them in the interests of fitness, all I get from the residents are strange looks - or perhaps that's just always going to be my lot as a foreigner in Korea whenever I do something remotely out of the ordinary. Judging from the alternate uses of some stairwells, the locals are not expecting them to be used - and while the Chinese cabbages above were nicely stacked outside a door (probably for a winter's supply of kimchi/김치) - the garlic in the stairwell can prove more of an obstacle.

I guess this all goes to show that you can take the farmer out of Namhae but if you can't necessarily take Namhae out of the farmer. Somehow though, I don't picture the younger generations dumping cabbages outside their door in future - Korea is changing.

While Korean Mother isn't running some sort of farming operation from her apartment, she has been known to use the aircon unit outside her window as a convenient place to dry dates and other foodstuffs. Unfortunately though, whether out in the countryside or in the heart of the city some problems are just the same - today's fish from her airing spot - birds took it.

Korean tags: 음식, 아파트, 김치

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