Three disorienting factors for travellers in Seoul. A different system for building addresses, the sun travelling a different route, and a city suddenly deserted.
I know my address, but only in English.
I see the same street name on many local streets.
I read about traditional street naming systems
I read of a new sort-of Western system
three different types of numbering rules
basic numbering, serial numbering and other numbering.
It all makes sense, and taxi drivers bring me safely home.
That’s morning sun, that must be east
and therefore that is west—
but north is upside down.
My instincts are all garbled
for in the northern hemisphere
the sun goes right instead of left
so right is south, it isn’t north.
My body turns me back to front
so deeply does it know
that as the day proceeds
the sun swoops north.
I’m good at orientation
except on half the planet
good with two-dimensional maps
good with proprioception
and even my vestibular
equipment works (for now)
so am I truly me
if even when I’m staring at a compass
my head revolves?
In the distance, two people walking.
That’s all I see
in a city of ten million.
Everyone has gone to their home town
for Chuseok, or else
they’re sleeping in