"A city is a place," anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote, "where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again."
Seoul is by far the biggest city I've ever visited, let alone lived in, and there's always somewhere to go and something to do. It's amazing to live in a place where everything is at your doorstep: restaurants, shows, shops. While I'm here, I'm trying to experience as much of it as I can. It's not always easy. Even though posters cover some subway platform walls, bus stop shelters, and every flat surface in popular university areas, I usually don't hear of concerts or shows I'm interested in until it's too late. Or in the case of Celine Dion, I couldn't find anyone who would be brave enough to join me.
This time, though, I heard about Cirque du Soleil coming to town well in advance and managed to collect a few friends who could join me.
Last night, we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Alegria at Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, where the parking lot had been transformed with a big top tent. We got lucky and managed to score 4 seats in the 4th row, great seats in what was already a very small, intimate venue. The show opened with a few words in Korean (the audience was impressed) and then continued with one amazing act after another: trapeze, contortion, fire acts---this show had it all. And it was all done in ridiculously extravagent costumes. It was awesome.
I continue to read event listings in English expat magazines and check out the posters when I walk by. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with everything that's going on. That's the thing about this city: it's got everything you could want, you just need to know where---and when---to find it.