The train pulled into Chungju in central Korea. We disembarked and walked through the station standard waiting area towards the bright, flashing hotel signage. We both stopped and looked at one another with the look that can only mean,
‘Yes this town is stuck in 1992.’
We didn’t even have to say a word.
The clues were all there. Locals’ hair. The lavish, peeling wallpaper in our motel room. The faded advertisements for local attractions. It was outdated and content to be there. People were friendly, helpful and full of smiles. Perhaps we should have stopped the modernisation process in the 90s and stayed there. It is working for Chungju and they still attract world class athletics events, they just hosted the world arm wrestling championships after all.