Multicolor handles aren't that strange. Neither was the fact that the bus was practically empty; it was the holidays and Seoul is pretty quiet then. What was weird were these:
There were like a dozen of them attached above the windows. The banner reads: "The new flu (i.e. swine flu) is becoming an epidemic. Please pay attention to personal hygiene." The other baskets probably had other similar messages on them.
There were posters on the windows as well, issued by the KCDC (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Of course, this is Korea, so the poster has to be cute, even for something as serious as this. We Koreans take cute quite seriously.
Let's Keep These Rules Together
1. Pay close attention to personal hygiene!
2. Observe etiquette!
3. Be careful of crowds!
4. Recover without worry!
5. Rest well, drink a lot of fluids!
6. Seeing the doctor is a must!
I've never seen these PSAs on other bus routes; I wonder why this bus company was chosen to do so. I also wonder if other countries are as this sensitive to the swine flu epidemic as we Koreans are.