Sleepless in Seoul.

The idea for this post’s title has been respectfully pinched from this lovely Instagram account.
The idea of jet-lag was so new to me that it took me an inordinate amount of time to come to the conclusion that what was keeping me awake at 3AM in a Seoul hotel room wasn’t debt or guilt but, rather, my own body clock. It was early evening in London.
Granted, there were worse places where to find oneself unable to have a decent snooze than where I was that night: a luxuriously large hotel room featuring amenities that I wouldn’t know how to use (such as a walk-in wardrobe), perched atop 47 stories (with a few more above) of skyscrapers in Incheon (cue below for the thing as seen during the day).

Silently I made my way to the huge, floor-to-ceiling glasswall that abutted on hundreds of meters of pure air. A cluster of high-rise condominiums, that looked so towering from the ground up, now seemed like Lego toys, scattered around a park that didn’t feel larger than a flower bed.
As I sat on a cushion by the window I couldn’t but help feel excited. All around me everything was new and exotic. Every step I made took me somewhere I hadn’t been before; even by going to the corner shop – was there one, by the way? – I’d be breaking new ground. It occurred to me that I’d have been the world’s most enthusiastic Victorian explorer.
Plus, I couldn’t deny a certain feeling of partiality towards the building we were staying in. Skyscrapers have since long exerted a strong impression on me: far from seeing them as avatars of some latent male inadequacy (big phalluses and all that), I always perceived those buildings as symbols of humanity’s progress. There they were, tangible testimony that we could do what nature never designed us to do, living in the sky. Sitting on that cushion by the window, in the Korean night, I felt very much part of mankind’s avant-garde. Laugh if you will, I won’t take it badly.
It was late, but still there was movement on the streets and lights in the apartments. Where were they going? What were they doing? Could these people see me, sat cross-legged in the dark, looking down on them? At that moment, almost out of the blue, I remembered a DJ Krush song, Mu Getsu, that inspired one of my first, clumsy, attempts with composite photography. Without a tripod or a remote shutter controller, things were bound to be sub-optimal, but I decided to give it a go. The first result wasn’t half bad.

I left the camera on for longer, figuring I could wait for sunrise and do something with it; but when the alarm rang and I stumbled awake from the deep slumber I’d eventually fallen into, the day had long since begun.
Still, it wasn’t all for nothing.

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22 Responses to Sleepless in Seoul.

  1. Fantastic result.. love these images and the story too…felt like I was sitting there with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bama says:

    I grew up reading encyclopedias at the school library where images of U.S. big cities with tall skyscrapers adorned the pages about the country. Probably that contributed to my perception toward high-rise buildings as a symbol of progress. Today I still see them that way, although an older version of me now values big parks and old structures more than before — they usually add to the charms of a city.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no, it definitely wasn’t all for nothing! These are wonderful shots. I’ve tried the same thing but with less success. Must practice some more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lexklein says:

    The density of skyscrapers in Seoul took my breath away. I rode in from Incheon on a bus, and I thought we were surely “downtown” about 20 times, only to find that those clusters were merely the ‘burbs, and the real city was an even bigger, taller grid of shiny giants. The 24/7 life of the city was another thrill; NYC (and I’m sure London) hum all night, but Seoul was truly rocking at every hour. Asia always means a middle-of-the-night rise to consciousness for me, but I consider it part of the fun! (I joke that I don’t do jet lag and, indeed, I have perfectly normal days and evenings after those brief padded forays around my room at 3-4 am!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. J.D. Riso says:

    Very cool shots, Fabrizio. You made very good use of that jet lag.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great shot, and great idea to deal with jet-lag!

    The last time I was jet-lagged I decided instead to go for a run at 4am, promptly stumbling on a root in the dark and making a mess of my knee. I spent the entire day peeling off the only suit pants I had brought from the resulting gash.

    – Verne

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Ouch! I had one such idea once, in Chicago, when I woke up at 5 AM… but opted for a run in the hotel’s fitness centre. Knowing how clumsy I am and how dark it was outside, it’s a miracle I didn’t do worse than what happened to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Those are terrific shots.. but for me, being that high up is a definite no no. I prefer not to go any higher than 10 floors at most. The closer to the ground I am, the better I feel. I worry about things like fires in those tall tall buildings and elevators breaking down with me in them.

    Jet lag is no fun… seems the older I get the harder it hits. But totally worth it when in a new place… then I forget the jet lag and just get excited about seeing a new place and experiencing it for the first time.


    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Hi Peta, thanks for reading! I must admit, I was checking the hotel room and I found a map highlighting the route to the closest exit (and to the refuge, ’cause, you know, it’s quite close to the North Korean border) and I thought “Jeez, that’s a LONG way down in case it hits the fan!)


  8. Dave Ply says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a room that high up, especially one with clean enough windows to get a decent photo. Fun stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great night photos 📷

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Uzbek football, Korean streets and the Games. A 2018 wrap-up. | Are we there yet?

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