Today, I looked for a photo to post only to discover that everything in my bucket of choices either had my children in it, was taken on Yongsan, or wasn’t even taken by me. Oops. I lucked out because my husband had taken the day off, meaning that I could head out with camera in hand instead of children + camera. Score! I dropped one kid off at her school bus stop, headed out for a wander around the neighborhood, and ended up falling in love with Korea all over again. This is exactly why we started this blog, to get us out even if it’s not too far from home.
As often happens when I come home with a bunch of photos, I ended up with a bunch of questions. Why does the guy directing traffic have a vest on that says, “best driver?” What does the rest of the vest say? Why do these guys direct traffic in the first place where there is a fully functioning traffic light? I think I have answers to some of these. 모범 means “example” or “model” while 남대문 means “Namdaemun.” Since Namdaemun is right there, that part makes sense. My research assistant (thank you for the term, Sherri), Google, has led me to believe that these guys are taxi drivers who have have gone 10 years or more without getting into an accident. They also get “best driver” painted on the side of their taxi. I suppose this means that they are supposed to be an example or model to other drivers, although some seem to think this merely fosters arrogance. If you go 10 years without an accident you get to tell other drivers what to do even if there is a light. From my perspective, it seems that Koreans certainly don’t let a little thing like a traffic light boss them around. Maybe the government thinks they’ll pay more attention to Seoul’s “best drivers.”