What's the best answer when people ask you what the time is? Unless you have an intent of being facetious or you are into philosophy, you probably assume that they are asking about the time in the place where you are.
This seems fairly appropriate when everyone you know and love is at least 13 hours behind you. All those who you do business as well. So apart from new budding relationships your everyday contact is limited to small conversations and getting to know other people that are living a similar experience to yours.
I'm presently at the Goyang Residency for artists in South Korea. Similar experience doesn't only mean foreigners coming to Seoul, but also artist coming to work on their practice. In the 5 days that I have been here I have been having conversations with talented people from Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Austria and obviously South Korea.
Goyang is a satellite city of Seoul, about 30 minutes to the NW. To get to the city I have to take a bus and then get to the metro where I can go to anywhere I want. What I want right now is mostly random exploration. So it's not that hard to get there.
Time seems to pas very fast when everything is new and when your routine is only exploration. Stimuli feels both new and strangely familiar. When you are in a country where very few people can speak one of the languages you speak, when the alphabet is foreign, you start feeling proud of the little banal things you don't think twice about when you are at home: taking transportation, buying food, saying hello or explaining who you are in a completely different language.
A big part of Seoul is incredibly similar to Mexico City: the size, the complexity, the feeling of it, the colours, the smells (albeit different but very present), the trees, the parks, the cacophony of sounds, class and gender dynamics, the markets, the mix of ancient and new.
Is evidently not all the same. This Sunday I visited some of most interesting circonscriptions in the City near Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁). I'm saving the palace for another time, but the areas surrounding it are a mix of truly old architecture with constructions that reassess the value of the tradition. Something that apparently is fairly new. It is amazing to see people in traditional garb called Hanbok. Around this historical place there's tons of little rental shops that provide the traditional clothes for anyone to use. People walk around the streets and they can access the palace for free if they are dress like this. I think it's one of the best experiences I've had since I arrived. It is sort of like going back in time.
And going back to time... when someone asks you what the time is, the only right answer is: The time is now... the time is: now.