When I lived in Korea, Itaewon was one of the central places I would hang out. It was filled with English teachers and really young military boys from the United States. There were hookers, drunks, drugs, and other interesting things. When I left the place was improving with more upscale dinning, coffee and drinking places but the foreigners were still the dominant force.
When I came back for this trip it had changed drastically. The Koreans are the majority in the area. I have never seen so many Koreans in Itaewon. The places I would go and hang out were a majority of Koreans. The prices for food and drinks increased drastically as have the high-end shops and such.
When I lived in Korea we would always joke about Itaewon as “The Won” or “Jersey” because we would spend so much money and how it reminded us of the lower, grungy New Jersey. It is funny how things have change and also how one can never fully go home.