Olympics: Anarchy By the Numbers

Seoul is a model of planning, both madcap and meticulous

It is the least impersonal of cities. Understatement has no place here. Rather, this is a brawny, rough-and-tumble, rollicking place, animated by the earthy good humor of its Chaucerian folk. Hurly-burly impromptu is the way of Seoul. Round-faced women set up huge speakers on busy street corners, then sit beside them, crooning along to organ music as they entertain themselves. Hypervendors stack up rows of imitation Reeboks on the hoods of cars, using the backseats as storerooms for their goods. A man wanders out onto the sidewalk in his pajamas.

Surprising, perhaps, for the fast-growing modern center of a booming economy....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!