Stung by the ever-depreciating value of the Korean won, many young Korean women are replacing previous international tours to exotic places like Bali and Bangkok with more economic day trips to an even more exotic destination, the back alleys of Itaewon. The prime driver behind this new phenomenon is the pursuit of numerous clouds of cologne that waft behind all manners of non-Korean gentlemen.
The tours are the brainchild of Ji-Young Lee, a twenty-something unemployed travel agent. Recently laid off due to the slumping tour business, Ji-Young was amazed by the variety and overwhelming power of the various “cologne cultures” that she encountered in various areas of Itaewon.
“There is just so much to smell here!” she eagerly explained. “The tours have three primary focuses. In general we divide them into US military, gay guys, and for the really amazing finale, we take the ladies to Haebongcheon where we spend about an hour walking behind African guys.”
According to JiYoung, the African guys are the easiest to locate, who often, especially if they are with a few friends, can leave a cologne cloud of up to one hundred meters. The tour groups usually consist of between 4 to 7 young Korean ladies, who leave Itaewon with a greater appreciation of the diversity of colognes. One participant, when asked about the tour, stated, “I can not believe how good Itaewon smells. I always was afraid to come here, but now I realize it is the most fragrant place in all of Korea.”