Cookie: This is the BIGGEST Koreatown. Ever.
Me: Well, we’re in Seoul, Cookie. Koreatowns are only part of the city. Seoul is the whole city.
Cookie: Well, Seoul is part of the world, right? It’s the biggest Koreatown in the world.
Me: … huh.
After a long flight (more on that later), we landed in Incheon. Halmoni picked us up from the airport and drove us to the hotel in Seoul. Trying to adjust to the local time, we grabbed dinner in Insadong, and even from the perspective of a New Yorker, Seoul is… crowded. It’s a riot of color and sounds, with a density of restaurants and shops and people unseen in the west. In New York we have shops at street level with the occasional restaurant above street level. Only the busiest stations have eateries below ground. In Seoul, many walkups have every floor opened as a business, each with bright signs and brighter lights. Restaurants not only spill onto the sidewalks, they’re opened on city sidewalks as rows of tents. The miles of subway tunnels and other underground passages are lined shopping and food.