Love Motel

March Madness

by Pablo Harris

010 or 051. All calls he ever received here always began with these prefixes. So when 006-180-9951-0299 flashed on the vibrating LG in his palm, he didn’t quite know what to think. 006 followed by eleven other digits he didn’t recognize? It  must be from abroad. Thinking the worst, he was expecting to hear some tragic news from back home. Why else would anyone call direct from the US to the ROK?

“Excuse me, I got to take this, Babe,” pardoning himself before stepping through the heady smoke of grilled flesh and cigarettes and the maze of low-lying tables to the door.

*  *  *


My First (and Last) Overnight at a Jimjilbang

At least I didn’t have the chubby, possibly drunk Korean man constantly rolling over onto my feet or face depending on which direction I was facing at the time. But, I did end up losing my sleeping mat at 4 a.m., possibly to a pair of giggling girls.

Last weekend, a group of us traveled from Busan to Gwangju to explore the sixth-largest city in South Korea and hike to several peaks in Naejangsan National Park, a beautiful place.

Korean Girls Love Me Through Two Layers of Glass

It’s a familiar fact of life in South Korea for many of our expats, especially if they look notably different than our ROK neighbors: the stare.

I have mostly come to peace with it. I admit it, I don’t look very Korean. I have broad shoulders, a big beard, pale skin, bald head and large frame. If I had grown up somewhere where the only person I saw like that was in the movies, on TV or in a magazine, I’d likely be a bit surprised if I saw them coming down my alleyway, too.



They’re Not Called ‘Love Motels’ for Nothing

Still facing jetlag, falling asleep at 9pm and waking up at 2am does have its advantages. Well, that I guess is up for interpretation.

The Blue Moon Hotel, located in lovely Jangnim (or is this Dadaepo?), is serviceable enough. It has a bed, Internet, a big TV, toilet paper and a hot shower. But, this type of hotel, often referred to as “love motels,” did not gain that name because the people who go to them love them so much they have to come back.

Think “no tell motels.” Walking down the dark hallway to Room 506, the one with the dollhouse like furniture and oh-so-pretty bedding…


The Face of a Love Motel

The Face of a Love Motel

I think the title says it all. The face of a love motel is faceless. I like this shot a lot not because it's actually from a love motel, but because there's a statement here being said that's left up to whomever is reading into it.

A week in Seoul

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Seoul. The last time I was in Seoul was the day I arrived in South Korea and barring seeing the interior of airport lounges, a subway car and the glittering Seoul streetlights from the window of the plane I couldn’t really consider Seoul as being ticked off on the list of things to do. Kate planned to visit me and with my academy gratiously granting my holiday request we planned an extensive trip trip to the Paris of Asia.

Monday, April 18th.

Busan’s 10 Best: Beyond the Festivals and Beaches

The Gwangali fireworks festival as seen from the peak of Mt. Jangsan, undoubtedly Korea's best fireworks show. ~ Photo by P. DeMarco

View slide show here.

[Note: This article was originally published in the November 2009 issue of 10 Magazine. It was updated on 11.28.10]

Road to Yulpo

I left Cherry Love Motel around 11 – my lodging for the night after the long bus ride from Seoul where I got a glimpse of what it must feel like to have a career as a high class escort in Korea.  These ‘Love Motels’ are everywhere; you can rent by the hour or pay for a full night and it is completely anonymous – they take no names or personal information at the counter.  Cases of infidelity aside, the story is that since Koreans live at home with the family until marriage there is no place for such unmentionable activity that was implied by the “gift bag” I received at this particular motel, so they have to take it elsewhere.  Love Motels are a great place to crash for the night while traveling as they are relatively cheap an

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