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As a native son of the Southern United States, I suspect there are two things people believe will make my blood boil with excitement: Nascar and hunting. However, due to my parents being transplanted Yankees, they never taught me the joys associated with these two prized cultural jewels of the South. This is either a blessing or a curse. I may have drank my blueberry slurpee from a Dale Earnhardt Jr. mega-cup at my local 7-Eleven, but my peers were not impressed by the lack of a “deer kill” picture on my senior page in our high school yearbook. So, imagine my surprise when Chincha asked me to photograph the Formula 1 race in South Korea.

I arrived at the race finals with WinK Travels on Sunday after spending a wonderful weekend exploring the green tea fields of South Korea. I stumbled upon an international scene of fans waving their flags in a patriotic fervor for drivers from their native countries. I sat in the N section and had a great view of a fast and a slow turn. Fans filled the N section equipped with bright orange earplugs, inflatable hands, and racecar logos artificially tattooed to their faces. When the race started, the fans made their presence known and they followed the results of every lap with diligence. The fans amazed me as they knew every driver and screamed the drivers’ names every time the appropriate cars complete their passes. I’ll never forget listening to Koreans and Germans shout in unison for Sebastian Vettner after he won the Korean Grand Prix. The race ended with the organizers granting Psy the honor of waving the finish flag. Fans stayed after the race to watch the awards ceremony and post race interviews. Many fans were also treated to a special Psy concert after the race.

Overall, everyone enjoyed the race and beautiful weather. The cars were fast and the community was friendly. Expats from different corners of Korea and Southeast Asia came to witness the race. The international exposure Korea received from hosting the race was phenomenal. My only complaint is the organizers of the event played “Gangnam Style” too many times. However, that’s no different than walking to the grocery store in any neighborhood in Seoul. I had a great time and I learned about the thrilling spectacle of Formula 1 racing. Even though the Korean Grand Prix converted me into a racecar enthusiast, I doubt I’ll ever be converted to enjoy hunting. My peers in high school will have to learn how to accept me embracing one out of the two jewels of my southern heritage.

Writing and photography by Brent Sheffield from Kimchi Bytes; see more photography on his page and blog.

We went on this trip courtesy of the awesome , who regularly host activities all around Korea. Check out what they have to offer on their .


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