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Kia Sorento in South Korea: No Chichi in Korea

Kia Sorento in South Korea
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B ling. Poing. Kling. That can be cheerful. Driven just three kilometers, and our Sorento is already a fair. The blind spot warner is about to collapse, the lady in the navigation system already sounds like Joe Cocker. Our plan: to cruise across Korea in the brand new Kia Sorento. From west to east, from Seoul to Sokcho, from the Han River to the Yellow Sea. Visiting the border, the sound of the sea, gang name styles. And mumble with giant crabs in Sokcho in the evening and watch the sunrise the next morning.
Let's go. The diesel hums comfortably to itself, we are grateful for the elevated seating position, which is advantageous in the multi-lane guerrilla war for the traffic light pole. Bling, Poing, there was someone very close to the Kia Sorento again. One of the armada of silver mid-range sedans. Some also white, the large representative ones in black. Automobile uniform. From which we literally stand out with the brown Sorento. The sat nav chatters staccato, turning directions, speed warnings.

Skyscrapers and cellar bars

We learn: Korea is not mean Raserland, but also no self-denying politeness. The limousines surrounding us persistently seek their destination. Monitored by perhaps the highest density of radar controls in the world. In addition to ubiquitous cameras, measuring devices lurk on masts every two kilometers. But politely, as the Kia Sorento is, he warns each time. By sign or, as with us, by app. If the pace is too high, the smart thing pounds for life and limb in order to relax with a relieved tone after passing the control. We roll along the Han River eastwards, through the hilly hinterland towards Sokcho, the goal.

Tempo 100, little traffic, even the adaptive cruise control has to make an effort not to nod off. Opportunity for us to look left and right. There, the residential towers characteristic of the big cities are saying goodbye. Standardized human cage housing on umpteen floors. Concrete blocks, so uniform that they also have big numbers in addition to fantasy names like Skyview. So that you don't accidentally end up in the wrong one. But inside, the Koreans assure us in unison, these things are comfortable with a great view. Modern record.

Oh, record, good keyword. One of the coolest bars in the world is in Seoul, in the basement of Hannam-Dong 261-6, a tube-shaped room with dark walls, dark onesWooden floors and furniture that, like the long bar, could have come from an 80s village disco. There the boss Ho-Jung Kang walks on a stick, but the music in the LP bar is lively. The wall behind the counter is covered with vinyl, from which the DJ pinpoints the right disc with a stoic expression. All you have to do is slip a note with your favorite over it. Here, in the dim 50-square-meter basement behind the narrow staircase, there is always a request concert.

Okay, in very difficult cases the hard drive saves him, but the two twelve-tenths always rotate. Just the crackling every time before the title starts. So we spend a memorable evening with Rheingold, Extrabreit, Joy Division and Jan Delay. When we actually want to leave, the record man surprises us with 'Autobahn' from Kraftwerk. Completely played out. Without a thumbs up and Gimme five we can't get out into the fresh air this evening.

A real hardness phall

Fresh air. Fine cue. We finish the flashback and steer the Kia Sorento to a rest area. Gloomy truck stop atmosphere, pissed on asphalt, emaciated truckers and the uniform charm of snack chains inside? None of it. Instead, an artist who is obviously driven by a special mission delights us with his work. They have even created a small museum for him: a penis museum. Whether made of stone, wood or porcelain - real hardness phalls that not only astonish us, but also cause entire tour groups to make strange movements and sounds. Oh well. The strange noises in our touring SUV have subsided, there is not much to bling and poing, the motorway stretches towards the coast without much fuss, which gives us the opportunity to praise the comfortable seats and the appropriate ergonomics. Even unexciting stages can be completed in a relaxed manner.

It is also relaxed in Wanggok Village, a kind of museum village. Traditional Korean houses can be found here, it was said. True, but because of the satellite dishes and air conditioners nailed in front of them, they somehow look less romantic than you might think. No problem, if you park the car in front of it, it looks as if it does.

Looks as if it does. Korean girls say the same to themselves and emulate a mysterious ideal of beauty. Renée Zellweger recently got a shit storm for construction work on the face. Ridiculous: entire armies of girls clone here. At least those who stroll in the trendy Gangnam nightlife district. Hooked up, smartphone at the start, they present their chin, mouth, eyes and whatever else plastic surgery is capable of. Partly requested, partly initiated by proud parents.

Division of the country still noticeable

Scary. Similarly scary the most depressing chapterKorea. The division of the country, history for us for a quarter of a century, is alive here as a north-south border. On this sunny day in Imjingak we look over the river with the white railway bridge. Almost idyllic, only that no more trains pass over it, the border is tight. Barbed wire and posts also on the south side. And loudspeakers with which you can bring the northern counterpart in the mood with propaganda. Mr. Sungchoon Jung is responsible for the small memorial with wish ribbons, memorial stones and information boards up to the shot steam locomotive. Born in the demilitarized zone between the two adversaries, he has been taking care of the processing for 20 years.

The Nohisouchu go out to sea for significantly longer to catch salmon and shrimp, among other things. Much of it goes straight to Seoul or further. The rest is dried and preserved. But we don't want to eat anything dry, but something fresh, so let's continue to today's destination Sokcho.

Honest Korea

It doesn't necessarily look like the Côte d'Azur there, but the place has its own charm not only because of the fine sunsets: honest, robust and fishy. Just like the shops that line up. No chichi. Select the lobster crab in the pool on the sidewalk, take it out and take it to the steam bath. So the crab. Meanwhile, we crouch on the plastic floor and watch the plastic tablecloth disappear under delicacies.

The friendly ladies, brand Top-Hausfrau, serve kimchi, the chilli-hot cabbage, sea snails, seaweed soup, shrimps, quail eggs, octopus slices, Rice and pasta. As appetizer. Shortly afterwards, our multi-armed buddies come to the low table for the main course. It couldn't be fresher. Honest and robust. Delicious. Like breakfast at Paris Baguette. Gone are the days when in Korea you only had to enjoy yourself with seaweed soup and rice in the morning. Thanks to system catering, we bite into juicy, sweet pieces and drink powerful espresso from the classic machine.

Oh yes, and the sunrise so famous here in Sokcho? Instead of glowing orange, the horizon is rain gray at a quarter to seven. Too bad. But somehow it doesn't matter, as long as the twelve-tens are turning in the basement again this evening in Seoul. Without bling.


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