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Sunday, October 19, 2008

A day at the races

And they're off!

Rather than visit yet another palace or temple, or traverse through a new gallery, we decided to take advantage of the still-beautiful weather and do something that the "average" Korean does: visit Seoul Racecourse to watch the horses run.

For just 800 won, you can watch lots of races here and, of course, win and lose money.

Realization of the day: I should never go to Las Vegas. Every single horse I picked came in either dead last or second-to-last. It was pitiful. Guess that just goes to show why you should choose a horse based on the color of his jockey's jacket or his name...

Good thing I never bet more than 500 won on a single race -- yep, we were high rollers!

One of the more interesting cultural phenomena was the demeanor of the people. It was almost eerily quiet at the track (and not having been to a racetrack in the US, I can't compare the two), with little shouting.

The only exception was during the race and the ten seconds or so that the horses ran directly in front of the grandstand. Suddenly the crowd came alive yelling and screaming, before returning to their sedate state. It was strange.

There was also an interesting mix of people -- both the "typical" gambler who looked as though he hadn't showered or shaved in several days, as well as numerous families out for a pleasant day at the races. In fact, the center of the track is actually a "family park" with some rides and amusements for children.

It was a fun thing to experience once but I don't think I'll be going back. However we followed the races with a delicious Indian dinner in Dongdaemun and THAT will definitely be repeated!

Fantastic people-watching though:

The infamous Korean squat

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog too and just added it to my blogroll :) Glad we found each other on the internet, and I'm excited to read more about your time in Korea!