My enduring image of Seoul is not its elegant Joseon palaces, neon signs or pretty traditional houses, but legs.

Legs, legs, legs.

Seoul, like much of Asia, is currently in the grip of a fashion obsession where short shorts are teamed with the highest heels – wedges or stilettos, whatever you can totter on.

Little Korean girls have, collectively, shot up overnight at least three inches, and will wade through rainy puddles, in sweltering humidity and even brave the unseasonable chill wind, bearing legs to the elements in the name of fashion.

Damn it if I can’t find a photo to show you!
Hooker Hill in the foreign enclave of Itaewon is, however, the first time I’ve seen cleavage in Seoul – and then it’s a pumped-up girl working it for the money. Tall transvestites laze on chaise lounges till the late-night rush hour, while buzz-cut off-duty US soldiers chase each other among the traffic, banging on car bonnets as they dodge through the taxis, laughing at their freedom. The Military Police move through the crowds, negotiating peace. The foreign tourist do last-minute shopping amongst the leather and large-sized branded sportswear shops.
Itaewon is where the restaurant strip sees Persian kebab houses face French patisseries, Thai restaurants and euro wine bars. There’s KFC and Burger King, Korea’s own bibimbap holes in the wall and roast chicken carts. Midnight fruit sellers and Cuban cigar convenience stores, bands blaring and clubs beating.

Bars, bands, GIs and girls, it’s down the road from the gay strip, Homo Hill. It’s the Kings Cross of Seoul, it’s the city’s foreign heart.