MontanaRon

An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: April 2013

Yeosu Expo Grounds Reopen!

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.

Yeosu’s Harbor Market

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.

Clothes vendor

Clothes Vendor

Hardware

Hardware

Fish for sale #3

Fish for Sale #3

Fish for sale #2

Fish for Sale #2

Fish for sale #1

Fish for Sale #1

Seafood for Sale

Seafood for Sale

Covered Market

Covered Market

Covered Market

Covered Market

Market Guys

Market Guys

Seafood Vendor

Seafood Vendor

Seafood Vendors

Seafood Vendors

Market Lady

Market Lady 1

I looked around for Paul and Ringo, but, alas, they were nowhere in sight.

Crosswalk

Crosswalk

Outdoor Market Area

Outdoor Market Area

Vendors

At the Yeosu Market 3889

Strawberries

Strawberries

Vegetables

Vegetables

Gochujang (hot pepper)

Gochujang (hot pepper)

Various grains

Grain

Pillows

Pillow

Korean Cabbage

Korean Cabbage

Colorful Boots

Colorful Boots

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.

Demise of Yeosu Expo Site?

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.

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