The trip reinforces a view I have held tentatively ever since my August 2009 trip to Daejeon [대전] (in which I snuck into a UN-Youth event that a friend from Europe was attending). Namely: Korea is a lot more pleasant outside the Seoul region. By pleasant, I mostly mean "authentic", though what that means I cannot say.
I can say that in the southern provinces the food is much better, the people are much nicer, there is less pretentiousness, more willingness to engage foreigners, and an easier pace of life. The 'southern' accent, especially in Jinju, is livelier and really on the "sing-song-ey" side. I hadn't realized how 'straight' (or perhaps 'flat') the Seoul accent really was, but hearing Korean spoken by natives of Gyeonsgang Province showed it starkly.
These signs are sponsored by the city government. I saw them at other tourist areas, as well.