As we were just doing a one-night stopover in Korea with little free time, I hadn’t gone to the trouble of finding out much about the country (there was plenty else to do before leaving!) While I knew that Korea had been producing industrial products for some decades, I didn’t know if we were we were going into a largely agrarian country or one that is highly industrially developed.
I started to get the idea as we approached Incheon Airport and the low-angle late-afternoon sun reflecting of the water silhouetted hundreds of cargo ships at anchor amongst the islands. Cargo ships and port facilities or not, it was a beautiful view from the window of the aeroplane.
As we glided in closer, thousands (yes, I'm sure it was thousands) of tall buildings spread across the countryside came into view. I couldn't really tell what purpose these building serve, there seemed to be too many of them for them to all be residential, but I eventually found out that that is what they are. Here're some pictures of them:
South Korea has a population of fifty-million people and a land area only fifty percent greater than Australia's smallest state, Tasmania, which has a population of only five-hundred thousand, so lots of apartments are needed. While the rest of the country could well have been agrarian, Seoul and its surroundings certainly weren't!
There's lots of active building sites in this area, and lots of vacant cleared ground, and everything looks new, which all indicates a lot of recent growth and development. I expect that a lot of this area got badly damaged in the Korean War sixty years ago, too, leaving plenty of space for all this new development.
All this development and industrialisation has negative consequences of course, so the air pollution in Korea is pretty bad. China is undergoing its own industrialisation not too far away to the north-east, as well, which doesn't help with the air pollution. Most of the time in Korea the horizon is only vaguely visible. Here're some photos of it taken from the plane:
And here's the view through the smog of some of those buildings from the airport:
Unfortunately, Korea's not a good place for breathing; just as well it proved to be an interesting place for its other attributes!
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