Last night I went for a walk with a couple friends through Jigalchi. Jigalchi is one of the big fishing areas of Busan (a harbor city). We walked through a street I’d never seen before lined by fish of all kinds. Some swam in aquariums, others wriggled in buckets of water, others lay bloody, others fried—all sitting and waiting to be eaten.
It was a neat little area of town—alive with convivial white lights and conversation. Beyond the clatter of chopsticks on plates and the pervasive smell of fish, the air was brisk and the night streets cool and deserted. We wound our way through a few more streets, up a side staircase, past a tree-lined road and some apartment buildings.
There we found another neat little area of town—dead with sulky purple lights and silence. Behind the aquarium windows and the uncharacteristically clean streets, Korean girls sat and waited for someone to chose them for pleasure, applying make-up and styling their hair. The brothel moms prowled in front of hallways of doorways to small, private rooms.
We walked through a street I’d never seen before lined by girls of all kinds. Some curled their hair, others straightened, some wore clingy dresses, others bras with shoulders exposed—all sitting and waiting to be eaten.