October 26, 2012

Formula 1: 2012 Korean Grand Prix

I slept in on Sunday morning in Mokpo, until only a few bodies were scattered around the previously packed floor of the jimjilbang. After a quick rinse, I left the bathhouse and made my way to a large man made waterfall on one edge of town. At a nearby bus stop I asked a beauty if the bus would go to the terminal. She looked at me, her double eyelids fluttering in fear, and emitted no sound. The bus driver was more friendly, nodding that the bus went to my destination. I ate some pork fat soup at a family run restaurant near the bus terminal. The old lady who ran the place brought me some extra fruit to eat and showed me how to peel them.

Conventional logic would have dictated the Korean stop on the Formula One schedule be located somewhere near Seoul or Incheon, perhaps somewhere like futuristic Songdo. In actuality the Korean International Circuit is located five hours to the south in Yeongam, on the opposite end of the peninsula. This is part of a government plan to promote tourism and boost the economy in this region, and it has poured a lot of money into the effort.

The bus ride from Mokpo to Yeongam was uneventful, as was the race after the first few laps. In Shanghai it rained the whole race, so there were a lot of slips, slides, and spins. The weather was cloudy but clear for the Korean Grand Prix. The track is the longest in Asia and second longest in the world after Italy's Monza. As the visibility was very good I could see a lot of the track from the grandstand, but there were no racing incidents or overtaking manoeuvres in my area.

I wagered that the action on the racetrack would be able to hold the attention of the K-girls in attendance for the first 10 laps of the 55 lap race before they reverted to playing with their handphones, but I was wrong. It took only 7 laps.  For the second time in as many Formula One races as I have been to, Sebastien Vettel emerged victorious. After the race there was a special concert by Gangnam Style sensation Psy, a last minute addition to draw in more spectators to the event.


"Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built." – Henry Ford