I’m not sure what I thought I would feel before going to the red light district of Degu. I imagined Amsterdam and how the district there, I have heard, looks not illicit or sad. But I have felt off ever since visiting.
After circling the area with out luck for hours we (Collin visited Tessah and I from Shanghai so we decided to take him to a bigger city than Ulsan) jumped into a cab, who knew exactly where to find the street. The small eerily pink lit area is deserted except for a police station on the corner despite anti-prostitution laws. The night was young so not many ladies were posed or ready.
Towards the end of the street were a few glass rooms lit like Walmart with florescent lighting. The girls were clad in skimpy polyester tube dresses blow drying their hair out straight. I was expecting Russian prostitutes, because there is a huge Russia sex trade in Busan (Texas street, the street signs there are in Korean and Russian) and in Korea in general. However, the girls were all asian. They could be girls trafficked from poorer areas of Korea or from other countries. Ulsan has a brothel of Filipino prostitutes that on the sign reads for “foreigners and seamen.” The only other people on the streets were the madams and pimps. When I made eye contact with a girl she didn’t seem sad, but completely disconnected and shut off to everything. I felt horrible for seeing this street as a tourist attraction.
Later that night we crashed at a jimjilbong ( bathhouse aka $7 sleeping spot). I curled up in a sleep pod that’s a one person hole/cave that seemed warm and secluded.
An older korean man kept waking up to give me extra blankets and pillows. I was mostly asleep and didn’t react to it much until after a few hours he tried to crawl into my pod. I said no. Then he grabbed my arm and began to stroke it. I pulled away and said no ( annyo). He then seemed confused and put his hand his pants. I got up and then he started taking money out to show me. I quickly exited and located Tessah and Collin. I have been having nightmares ever since.