I’d been hearing about the Yeosu Mural Alley for a while, ever since before the Expo began last year. A few reports that people published online stated that the alley begins near the Expo site and continues for about a kilometer. I searched everywhere near the Expo, but could never find the Alley. I recently found it, however, and it’s actually about a kilometer or so from the Expo. In fact, the entrance had been staring me in the face, more or less. It’s near the Jinnamgwan site, across a pedestrian overpass, which was built about a year ago. So, if you’re visiting Yeosu and you want to spend a pleasant few hours walking down the Mural Alley (a.k.a. Angel Alley), here’s a photo showing you the location.
Mural Alley Entrance
To the left you can see part of Jinnamgwan. If you look closely, just to the left of the blue information sign in the bottom middle of the photo there’s a short road up to the pedestrian overpass. Cross the overpass and follow the road and the arrows, and you’re on Mural Alley. Pretty simple, really.
As I said, it’s a nice way to spend a few hours, strolling through the Alley and taking in the dozens of paintings along the way. Let’s take a walk and see some of the artwork, shall we?
In some places the route gets a bit narrow and the paintings are actually on the sides of the homes in the area.
Another Narrow Alley
In addition to featuring historical scenes and depictions of everyday life, many of the murals are quite whimsical.
Hitching a Ride
Sending a Letter
About halfway through the walk you can take a break and catch a nice view of the city.
In this same area nature shows off its own mural skills.
Let’s continue with the walk.
The Alley draws quite a few interested people, but in the few days that I’ve visited, it hasn’t been overly crowded.
Looks like someone is trying to take a shortcut out of the Alley.
Who’s Watching Whom
Finally, near the end of the walk, across from the tiger, are these wings. Perhaps some people think these look like angel wings, hence the nickname of “Angel Alley.” They could be bird wings, too–I guess it depends on your point of view.
That’s the end of our walk, but there are dozens more pieces of artwork here. So, the next time your in Yeosu, take a few hours to visit Mural Alley.
Starting with a parade and fireworks this evening, the Turtle Ship Festival, held every year in conjunction with Children’s Day (Sunday, this year) will run through Monday. I’ve posted about it before, but I’ve never been able to take in the parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Hopefully, I’ll get down there this evening to see that, and I’ll be watching some of the other events over the next few days. So, if you’re going to be in Yeosu this weekend, be sure to take in the festival. Most of the events will be held near Jinnamgwan at the Jongpo Ocean Park Walkway. See you there!
Yes, at long last, the Expo site has reopened for the general public. I was just down there today, along with a few thousand other folks, and I was very happy to walk around the grounds. It brought back a lot of fond memories of the Expo’s three-month run last summer.
I’d guess that only about half the area is open, and there are no facilities, like restaurants or coffee shops, open yet. I hope, and expect, that will change. The area around the Big-O was closed off to the public, and about a dozen or so workers were laboring over the fountains in front of the Big-O. One of the large banners at the main entrance seems to indicate that the area will be free from April 20th to May 10th. On May 11th, the Big-O will also open again, and there will, maybe, be an admission fee. I don’t know how much that’ll be or whether there will even be an admission charge (my Korean is quite awful).
Today, though, the Expo Digital Gallery was up and running, the various fountains were entertaining kids of all ages, and the Sky Tower was operating (2,000 won — about two bucks — for a trip up the elevator to the observation deck).
It was a beautiful day made even better by the limited opening. I’m really looking forward to what the summer will bring to the area. More later.
Taking a leisurely stroll through Yeosu’s harbor market is a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning or afternoon. Though it’s not a huge market, like Seoul’s Namdaemun or Bangkok’s Chatuchak Weekend Market, it still offers plenty of shopping opportunities for food, clothing and other items, and opportunities to get slightly lost in a small maze of alleyways.
I took such a walk a few weekends ago just to while away some time, but also to try my hand at taking photos without aiming or setting up the shot. I held my compact camera in my right hand down by my side, with the lens pointing forward, and just started snapping photos straight ahead and left and right, by swiveling my hand ever so slightly. (I did take a few shots in the “normal” way, camera held to my face and aiming.)
I shot over 120 photos, some not too bad and others basically garbage. Here are some of the better ones. I liked doing this because people tend to freeze up and get very camera shy when I pull out the large camera. This way is pretty surreptitious, so people don’t seem to notice that this odd foreigner is taking photos. It also gives a different point of view of the various market scenes.
I also messed around with processing a few of the shots in black and white, to give them an “old-timie” feel. Kind of fun, but it took a while to cull out the bad shots and work on the better ones. My little compact camera doesn’t do too well in low-light situations, so I had to utilize a high ISO setting of 800, which led to a lot of digital noise in the shots. I think I got rid of most of it, but, like I stated, this was kind of an experiment, a fun couple of hours shooting at the market.
Fish for Sale #3
Fish for Sale #2
Fish for Sale #1
Seafood for Sale
Market Lady 1
I looked around for Paul and Ringo, but, alas, they were nowhere in sight.
Outdoor Market Area
At the Yeosu Market 3889
Gochujang (hot pepper)
P.S. Did you find the Beatles reference? Not too hard to spot. I’ll have some more Yeosu photos to post later, since I’ve been out and about a lot lately, what with the warm spring weather we’ve had.
What to do with the Expo site? An article from the JoongAng Daily entitled “Yeosu businesses fight to stay afloat months after the Expo” explores the issue. The article notes that the Yeosu city government wants to open the site by April 20th, but it doesn’t indicate what the area will be used for.
The worrying thing, as the article points out, is that the Yeosu Expo site will become an albatross around Yeosu’s neck, much as the Daejeon Expo site of 1993 has become for that city. To forestall the economic liability that the Expo site could become, the city government is trying to get private investors to buy the area, while local folks want the government to run the facility. However, the local government seems to refuse that idea:
The government’s firm stance on the plan comes from its bitter experience in dealing with the Daejeon Expo complex. What was once used as an amusement park and science-related tour facility after hosting the 1993 World Expo could not avoid mounting debts. It was eventually ordered by the Ministry of Safety and Public Administration to go into liquidation in 2008.
Daejeon, home to the 1993 World Expo, still suffers financial strain due to its failure to effectively manage the facilities that were built for the event.
Let’s hope that all parties involved can get this worked out; it’s a beautiful site on the harbor which has a lot of potential. But, of course, it seems that none of the entities that planned for the Expo looked this far into the post-Expo future.
In an article on the Huffington Post, “The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs,” artist Ives Maes is quoted: “Everyone works in a frenzy to complete structures for a fair, and then they walk away when it’s over. We need to remember these buildings and these moments in time.” Hopefully, this doesn’t mean the demise of the Yeosu Expo site, a sad fate that the area doesn’t deserve.
Just a note of reassurance to my friends and family who read this blog. As everyone probably knows, there is a high level of tension right now between South Korea and the United States on one side and North Korea on the other. In my opinion, the U.S. didn’t help matters any by sending over B-2 bombers to participate in ongoing military exercises, which set off the fools in the north to declare that their rockets are now in stand-by mode “to settle accounts with the U.S.”
It’s highly unlikely that the North will commit itself to all-out war, since their leaders are renowned for bombastic rhetoric. Most of their crap is intended for domestic consumption to prove just what a tough “warrior” Kim Jong-eun is. I’ve not talked to any Korean that is all that concerned about a war breaking out. More likely is that the North will wait until the current U.S.-S.Korean military exercises are over at the end of April and will then commit some provocation to inflame the South, as has happened many times in the past. The problem there is how far can the South be provoked, and how many times, until their patience gives out.
So, yes, there’s probably a bit of worry right now, but no one that I personally know of is freaking out about the possibility of war. The other expats here and I are not going to hunker down in our apartments losing sleep and worrying about the childish behavior of Cousin Kim to the north. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail, though. More later.
There have been a couple of big, recent news items that you may or may not have heard about. In a nationwide attack, several bank sites and TV broadcasting sites were hacked today, including NongHyup bank, where I do all my banking, including online bill payments back to the states. I checked it out a little earlier, but it doesn’t look like my account was affected. Of course, amid all the tension with North Korea, suspicion has fallen on that country being responsible for the attacks. You can read about it here if you haven’t already seen it on the news.
Locally, however, a tragic, accidental explosion took the lives of 7 workers and injured 13 others last Thursday evening at one of the petro-chemical plants in Yeosu. Apparently, welding work was being done on a supposedly empty and fume-free tank when the explosion occurred. Strangely, I’ve seen very little coverage of this in the international news community. Was it on CNN International? I didn’t see any coverage, but I may have missed it. Anyway, you can read more here. My sympathies, of course, go to all the families affected by this calamity.
Stay safe everyone, wherever you’re at. More later.
Wow, long time, no see! There are various reasons for that, as usual. The spring semester has started here at the university, and we’re using new textbooks for one of the classes. Writing lesson plans for that class seems to be consuming a huge amount of my free time. We’re also having some gorgeous spring weather, so I’ve been spending a lot of time outside.
A few weeks ago, a couple of other teachers and I hiked to the top of one of the nearby hills, a walk I’ve made before, which you can read about here. It’s about a 30- to 45-minute hike through dense trees and vegetation, so there’s not much of a view going up. At the top, however, the view of Yeosu is spectacular. I took this panoramic shot, stitching together 8 individual photos into this single view. Click on the photo below a couple of times to get the large view.
Panoramic View of Yeosu Ocean
Although it was a bit on the chilly side and somewhat breezy, there was abundant sunshine, and it felt like true spring was just around the corner. Here, Rob and Corrie ham it up at the summit.
Rob and Corrie
There were a few trails back down on the other side of the mountain, but we couldn’t decide whether to take a trail to the top of the next rise or a trail down to the valley and then on to the ocean. Rob and I played rock-paper-scissors to decide, and I was the valley route competitor. I won, so we hiked down to the valley floor. Scattered throughout the hills of Yeosu, and, I assume, the entirety of South Korea, are these little pagoda picnic/shelter areas. Rob and Corrie are enjoying the view from this one.
On the way down we got a great view of the bay, as did a busload of company employees enjoying the day.
Finally, at the ocean, we stopped at one of the local cafes and had a small lunch. All in all, it was a great early spring day.
The next post will be about my recent stroll through the Yeosu outdoor market. See you then!
I took a walk around the Expo site last Sunday, and, basically, nothing has changed since the last time I was down there. No more demolition has occurred, and it looks like everything that’s remaining will stay there. The only noticeable difference is that all the rubbish, debris, steel beams and whatnot has been removed and the site looks nice and neat and tidy, as if it were ready to open.
The only rumor I’ve heard lately is that the Big O is going to be revamped, due to some damage that it took from one of the typhoons that swept through here last August and September. Also, due to its disuse, the salt water has clogged up the plumbing system, so that’s going to be repaired also. Evidently, then, the Big O is going to be used, but to what extent I haven’t heard.
As I stated before, the Aquarium is open and seems to be attracting a good number of visitors. Hopefully, the rest of the site will open by this summer. I’ll try to round up some more “rumors” and keep you posted. More later.
Finally, after a month or so delay, I got my new camera tripod that I ordered from Amazon.com. It gathered dust up in Seoul for about 5 weeks before I finally decided to track it down. After several phone calls, the delivery company got it here in good shape. Although it’s a cheapie, it has some good reviews, and it seems to be a pretty stable piece of equipment. It’s a Dolica Proline AX680P104 and you can read reviews at Amazon and elsewhere.
So, what does one do with a new tripod when one is hibernating because he hates the winter cold and wind? Simple. Take some photos of oneself in his cave (apartment) using the new tripod.
Here are a few shots I took last night using various colors reflected from the background screen on my laptop, which is to my right, to add a bit of mood. What shall I title these? Creepy Old Man? Portrait in Blue? Old Man’s Last Stand? They were fun to do, but the moody look on my part doesn’t reflect my true, innate, bubbly outlook on life.
This was interesting to play around with, so I’m sure I’ll post more self portraits at times. Stay tuned.
The Red Menace of Yeosu
The Blue Phantom of University Hill