Since coming to Korea I have been to the beach twice. Considering I went to the beach twice for the last four summers combined (maybe an overstatement), you may be marveling at my inconsistency. I am too. But that’s boring, whereas compare-and-contrast charts are beyond cool!
1. Apparel: At the beach, Americans wear bathing suits. Koreans wear every possible article of clothing they can find in their closet.
|If you look closely, you'll see every spare inch|
of skin is covered.
Believe me, I wish I had a picture of this, but I felt too creepy whipping out a camera and taking pictures of people in wet clothing. Boys and girls alike wear classy plaids and designer brands as they submerge. And it’s not about modesty—it’s about protecting skin. And it’s not about protecting skin from cancer—it’s about protecting skin from becoming slightly browner and thus resembling a southeastern Asian and those of the lower classes. From what I’ve so far observed, Koreans are slightly xenophobic, extremely sun-ophobic and also (unrelatedly) not a little bit homophobic.
2. Dearth of Frisbees: Americans toss things at the beach like it’s their job. Koreans do not pelt the skies with flying objects.
They do, however, occasionally engage in beach soccer games and spend ample amounts of time floating on tubes, splashing on another, and allowing children to strip naked or pee at will in public. Sure, back home in the states you get the occasional naked child making a bid for freedom, but usually some mortified parental unit is chasing said child down while giving everyone else in the area apologetic grimaces. Here, child nudity is condoned, and possibly encouraged. Still getting used to that one.
3. Beachfronts. American (maybe only Midwest?) beaches are national parks and thus devoid of anything besides sand, water, and the occasional lifeguard. Korean beaches have beachfronts.
Back home on good ‘ol Lake Michigan, you pack a cooler if you want to eat, drink, survive a full day at the beach. But here in Korea, you can spend quality time soaking it all in not on a sand-infested towel, but at a rooftop table of one of the many nearby cafes. There’s plenty of space for the sandy-towel nonsense, if you’re into that sort of thing. But as for me and my sandy towel, we will go to Angel-in-Us Coffee, or perhaps A Twosome Place. Quality establishments, both.