I always have the best intentions when I travel to a new destination-to try and photograph things that I haven't seen before (always a goal) or show what I experience. A trip to a World Games would seem to be a great opportunity, but coaching duties come first and photos second, so I come away with few images. While staying in our Host town of Seoul South Korea, I did have an opportunity one early morning to stroll near the youth hostel, camera in hand and seek out some pictures. It was before 5:00 and a side street off a busy main drag invited me to check it out. From a block away I could see lights on and a few bodies scurrying around. This might be the place.
The shop above was the first I ran across-I liked the quietness of this corner-no one seemed to be about and just a few vehicles drove by. Stacks of crated oranges stacked outside the protective plastic walls.
There were common characteristics of each of these shops-small light bulbs illuminating the storefronts, sheets of plastic protecting the fruit, kerosene floor heater warming them, and a sleeping korean or two. I walked by this shop twice and the old man curled up in the bent wood chair never moved, oblivious to me or any customers who might interrupt his sleep.
I wasn't sure how this all worked-perhaps a wholesale market? It seemed the shop keepers were busy moving boxes around a lot and small mini trucks, cars and even motorcycles would pull up in the cold morning air, load crates and speed off. A steady humm of quiet hushed business.
I noticed this "tea lady" a couple times but only made this picture of her. She had a small cart with instant sweet coffee, hot water and tea, and she would stop at each shop to offer her warm drink to customers and shop keepers.
Side streets and alleys were always the same-mini trucks and tiny cars, a web of electrical wires and soft colored bulbs surrounded by high rise apartments-pretty typical for Seoul.
While the fruit market was busy, other streets I walked past hadn't quite woken up yet and seemed very peaceful. In talking to some of the locals, Seoul is very safe, police don't usually carry guns, theft is almost non existent. I felt very safe in this city of 25 million. After an hour or so of wandering, my hands succumbed to the cold, and I was in desperate need of coffee. I arrived back at the Hostel to a few residents out for their morning smoke or perhaps waiting for the tea lady to push by. Either way, we were all starting our day and on this one, I was glad to have had the camera in hand once again.