Friday, July 03, 2009

Yellow Dust


“Do you live here?” This is how my conversation with Kira started on the posh Korean subway. She’s from Maine and has been living in Korea for two years. She was on her way to the gym when we met, but took enough pity on this startled foreigner to give me a quick tour of Seoul’s Itaewon neighborhood. Itaewon is the most diverse neighborhood in Seoul and for the first time since leaving the U.S., I felt like I was part of the majority while walking around. This pic really doesn’t do it justice.

“I’m fighting a cold, lots of people around Seoul are right now, it’s from the Yellow Dust, from China.” She didn’t look ill, but Kira said a few days prior she couldn’t get out of bed. This was how I discovered that I wasn’t the only one fighting a cold recently. Apparently, there was a cold going around Seoul as well. On and off throughout the weekend, people mentioned it to me. Whether it’s true or not, many blamed it on the “Yellow Dust”, the construction dust that makes its way across the Yellow Sea and onto the Korean Peninsula. This is one indication of pollution I experienced while visiting Seoul. The Han River (or Han Jiang) while wide and beautiful, appears to be as polluted as any urban area river.

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