In Gwangju, the neon lights of a love motel are never far from view. Young couples use love motels to enjoy a romantic night away from parental scrutiny. Love motels are also a rendezvous point for extramarital affairs. Like beauty pageant contestants, love motels decked out in exotic attire vie for attention along the Gwangjucheon waterfront.
The rest of the piece is about as unobjectionable as you can get. However, some aren't happy that the magazine for foreigners has covered this topic. An excerpt:
해당 기사를 작성한 사람은 미국인 밀리암 호씨. 하지만 그는 광주에 온지 두 달밖에 안 된 것으로 알려졌다. 한국문화에 대해 제대로 이해하지 못한 외국인의 눈에 비친 광주가 아무런 여과 없이 광주를 소개하는 영문 잡지에 실린 것이다.
Which says basically that the author has been in Gwangju for only two months and doesn't understand Korean culture. She is transmitting this misunderstanding to other foreigners in a magazine that's supposed to introduce Gwangju to its readers. Christ Almighty, grow the fuck up. I said that, not the article.
See, this is one reason why there is a rush to set up proper tourist hotels and "World Inns" to make it easier to hide these ubiquitous love motels from foreigners who might infer something about Korean culture. Though the big issue here of course is a foreigner writing about this topic to an audience of other foreigners (I nearly lost my job last summer for things I wrote in the Gwangju News). Actually, I don't think foreigners need any help noticing all the motels, so it looks like Koreans were uncomfortable that we know what they're there for.
The piece in the GN was really only to talk about the interesting facades on a lot of these motels. That's hardly objectionable, and you'd have to be a total dunce not to notice them, or to notice how lit up downtown and Sangmu get at night. Of course concerned journalists and citizens are worried that embarrassing truths might get out about adulterous Koreans, but they would have been better served writing a letter to the editor, because I daresay I have a larger readership than the magazine, and this Jeonnam Ilbo dumbassery is out in the open now. As my readers here know I very much love love motels, and have half a mind now to write a piece about them for the next issue of Gwangju News, both to taunt squirmish readers and as a show of support.
In case you're curious, a Naver search turns up 478 motels in Gwangju and another 821 in Jeollanam-do. Boy, people sure do love to, um, "travel."