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Monday, June 10, 2013


Dear Seoul,

I'm Sorry. I've been messing around with other cities, lately. Yes, again.
You know I can't resist exploring the most intimate alleyways when I scent some. And did Rome go heavy on jasmine perfume, late May?

Rome, doorstep by step - Copyright Stephane MOT 20130524

Granted, Beijing didn't smell that nice when I passed by. But there's always some market in some hutong, something nice cooking in some siheyuan...

Hutong market time - Stephane MOT 201306

See? I only betrayed you with fellow capital cities... No no, not Paris, only Rome and Beijing this time.

Plus Barcelona - she's a capital, ain't she? Catalunya wants to split, remember? 

No, not me. I don't want to split, mi amor.

Un gato en bicicleta - Barcelona 20130601 - Stephane MOT

Well. To be perfectly honest, there were also a bunch of Andalusian hotties (Sevilla, Malaga, Ronda, Cordoba), but who could resist this whirlwind of lines and curves - or their tapas, for ddeok's sake?

Malagasketball - Malaga 201305 Stephane MOT

Cordoba tapas - 201305 Stephane MOT

Will you forgive me this time again? Please.

With (almost) all my love

Yours unfaithfully yet truly,



Dear Stephane,

I'm glad you raised the issue. To tell you the truth, you've never been the only Seoulite in my heart, and I have to care for people in real tourment - not only international travelers with pseudo-consciences. But please, take no offense, Dear. I still love you, and I know you.

I know you never stopped loving me ever since you met me, over twenty years ago. And back then, I didn't put any make up to seduce foreigners! I know your love grew even stronger each time I lost one my most charming neighborhoods.

And I know what attracted you in these distant alleyways. Yes, most cities have taken better care of themselves than I have. Yes, I'm an old lady, but only a toddler when it comes to preserving my urban heritage. Yet we all face the same tragedies sooner or later.

I know whom you were thinking about when you roamed Rome's now gentrified Trastevere. I know whom you were thinking about when you saw "for sale" / "for rent" signs on almost every other building across Spain's oldest neighborhoods. I know whom you were thinking about when you went up Barcelona's Poble Espanyol, probably the world's most vintage fake traditional village, a cardboard tourist trap now struggling as much as the originals it mimicked. I know who you were thinking about when you walked through Beijing hutongs, with these cranes towering over pulverized traditional houses, these whole stretches already "Bukchonized" or Samcheong-dong-style revamped with fancy shops and restaurants, and in the most remote places, these old timers wondering when their last cluster will go...  

It's not you I'm mad at, Stephane.

At your laziness, maybe.

All I ask you is to finish your collection of fictions. Come on, you're only a few alleyways away from completing your Seoul villages. But be careful, that's at the same time the most delicate part, and the strongest cement which holds the whole thing together.

It's okay if you err in these alleyways, take your time. But please stop blogging, do some writing.

Idly yours,


Seoul Village 2013
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