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Yeosu Mural Alley

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

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?

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

In some places the route gets a bit narrow and the paintings are actually on the sides of the homes in the area.

Mural alley

Narrow Going

Mural alley

Another Narrow Alley

Mural alley

Tight Squeeze

In addition to featuring historical scenes and depictions of everyday life, many of the murals are quite whimsical.

Yeosu mural

Hitching a Ride

Yeosu mural

Sending a Letter

Mural alley

Mural Alley

Mural alley

Running Chair

About halfway through the walk you can take a break and catch a nice view of the city.

Yeosu Overlook

Yeosu Overlook

In this same area nature shows off its own mural skills.

Nature's mural

Nature’s Mural

Let’s continue with the walk.

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

The Alley draws quite a few interested people, but in the few days that I’ve visited, it hasn’t been overly crowded.

Yeosu mural

Yeosu Mural

Looks like someone is trying to take a shortcut out of the Alley.

Mural alley

Wall Climber

Mural alley

Butterfly Wall

Mural alley

Mural Alley

Mural alley

Mural Alley

Mural alley

Who’s Watching Whom

Mural alley

Mural Alley

Mural alley

Tiger, Tiger

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.

Mural alley

Wings

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.

Seoul Photos

Here are a few shots from my recent trip to Seoul. I only had my pocket camera, not the DSLR, so the quality isn’t the best, plus for some reason, my memory card got corrupted and I lost many of the better ones. All of these were taken in the Gwanghwamun area, near the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. This is the cultural heart of Seoul, a very high rent district, which has many theaters, concert halls and other venues. I was a bit pressed for time when I went the week before last, but I hope to get back up there in December and spend more time walking around the area.

I went to Seoul to get some more pages added to my passport. Here’s where I had to go–the U.S. Embassy. The last time I was up here, in 2005, believe it or not, the building was ringed with Korean riot police, acting as security, but nowadays you only see a few yellow-garbed security police.

I was standing in a central plaza of sorts when I took the embassy photo. In the plaza are a couple of large statues, one of King Sejong the Great and one of Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who used Yeosu as his headquarters in his battles with the Japanese. Unfortunately, the photos I took of the King Sejong statue were some of those that were lost on my memory card, but here’s one of Admiral Yi. You can see way off in the background the golden-colored Sejong statue.

Walking down the road a bit, you can see this odd Christmas-tree like structure, which marks an open space for street performances.

On this particular day, there was an exhibition of wheel chair skills, including basketball shooting and ballroom dancing, as this photo shows.

Just down from the performance space is a very lovely walking area below street level alongside a stream. It’s a great place for an afternoon stroll, and this day it was filled with office workers on lunch break, families and tourists.

Of course, the area is filled with upscale bars and restaurants. Here’s one that I thought was interesting, JS Texas Bar, complete with Elvis statue. It also had a classic Marilyn Monroe on the other side of Elvis, the iconic shot of her billowing skirt from the movie “The Seven Year Itch.” Unfortunately, it was one of the photos that the memory card ate.

Like I said, I hope to go back to Seoul in December and get some more photos. This time I’ll take the DSLR with me and a new memory card. :smile:

P.S. I took a walk down to the Expo site this past Saturday and got quite a few shots of the construction progress in that area. Things are moving along quite nicely, it appears, and I’ll try to get those photos posted sometime this week.

Back to Work

After enjoying more than a week off while the students took mid-term exams, I go back to work tomorrow. I didn’t do a whole lot during the time off, but I did get up to Seoul for a few days; I needed to get some more pages added to my passport. I wouldn’t have needed any more until my passport expired, but the Laos government chooses to take up an entire page with their large tourist visas. Because I go there so often on vacation, I use up quite a few pages in a short time. Although I enjoy Seoul, I don’t really like going up there because I spend so much money in a short time. The passport pages used to be a free service, but now the U.S. government charges $82 for it. Add in the cost of transportation there and back, a couple of nights in a guesthouse, eating, visiting the Kyobo bookstore for a few reading materials, and a trip to the Foreign Food Market in Itaewon, and the price climbs. I was able to get a few spices that I can’t find here in Yeosu, including a Cajun Spice Mix and a bottle of cardamom. I also discovered that they have all kinds of beans and pasta, so I got a couple of bags of couscous and, unbelievably, black-eye peas. Now I can have that traditional southern U.S. dish, Hoppin’ John, which, if eaten on New Year’s Day, will bring you good health and prosperity for the rest of the year. Yummmmm, I can’t wait. Heck, I’m sure I’ll cook up a few batches before then. I might even have to make another Seoul run.

Well, the World Series is over and the Rangers kind of blew it, but what a classic game 6 that was! I watched the replay on MLB TV when I returned from Seoul. I avoided checking the Internet and my email as a precaution to avoid seeing the game result before I watched it. A really exciting game and hard to top, as game 7 seemed rather anti-climactic (unless you’re a Cardinal fan).

I’ve still got a lot of photos to put up, including some from Seoul, so stay tuned for more later (sooner, I hope.)

Korean Weather Deaths

As you’ve probably heard or seen on TV, at least 36 people have been killed in flooding and landslides in and around Seoul, as reported here and here and numerous other places. Over 17 inches of rain has fallen since Wednesday, helping to make this one of the wettest rainy seasons on record. Since midnight today, Seoul has received about an inch and a half of rain, with more to come. Of course, condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

Here in Yeosu, we’ve gotten very little rain, but the skies have been overcast since last Friday and the humidity has been in the 80 to 90 per cent range–quite uncomfortable and depressing. Jogging in the morning is definitely more work than fun. I’m certainly looking forward to an end to the rainy season. More later.

Korean Prostitutes Protest

Uhmmm, I meant to say that Korean “sex workers” protest. Sorry for the “offensive” title of this post. :smile:

I don’t know how widespread this story is, but I found it interesting that it was reported by the Vientiane Times of Laos. Here’s a screen capture I made of the report; it’s a bit blurry, so click on it for a larger, clearer version.

Is this a big deal in Laos? Are many Laotians gasping and oohing and aahing over this story? I don’t know, but I do know that Korean NGO’s and the Korean government have a sizeable presence in Laos.

Anyway, how many times have you heard of “ladies of the night” protesting against police crackdowns on their “right to live?” (Which I assume means a right to make a living.) I wonder how their clients feel. Personally, I wish the ladies luck.

P.S. To address the concerns of those of you who are smirking and grinning knowingly, I want to honestly state that I absolutely do NOT make use of the services provided by these ladies. I am, however, a champion of the downtrodden, exploited workers of the world. 😉

Another Storm Brewing–TD 10

Well, Kompasu has come and gone. Yeosu got between 4 and 5 inches of rain, and I haven’t seen any wind damage, so we got out of it relatively unscathed. Much of the rain seemed to come down early this morning, between 5 and 5:30, right after I woke up. I mean it REALLY poured with an intensity that we certainly didn’t see in TS Dianmu.

In Seoul, parts of the massive subway system were shut down, power was lost in some areas, flights were canceled and 3 people were killed, according to various reports by The Chosun Ilbo, Bloomberg News and The BBC.

Now, however, another storm is brewing just over the horizon. Tropical Depression 10 is forming in nearly the same area of the Pacific where Kompasu was born. Weather Underground shows the depression gradually gaining strength until it hits the southeast coast of Korea (that’s us, more or less–we’re south central) as a category 2 typhoon next Monday evening. It’s still very early in the game, so it could hit anywhere or be swept out to sea before it reaches us. Stay tuned.

Rain and the High Cost of Living

I just saw on CNN that the northern part of the peninsula is getting hit hard by heavy rains, with more expected today and tomorrow, fueling some flooding that is taking place. Here’s a link describing the forecast. We’ve had quite a bit of rain here the last few days, and the Korean Meteorological Administration’s website is calling for us getting a lot more rain tomorrow night through Wednesday morning. While the high temperatures have only reached the mid- to high-70s, the humidity has been in the 90% range, so walking around the hilly terrain leaves me quite soaked, at times.

In a recent survey, the Mercer Company unveiled their list of the world’s most expensive cities. Surprisingly, Seoul wasn’t in the top 50. I’ve always thought that Seoul and, indeed, Yeosu, were very expensive, and I still think so. Some things here are cheap, but it seems like many, many items are way overpriced. Take red beans, one of my favorites, for example. I noticed in Thailand when I was there recently, that a 500 gram bag ( a little over a pound) of kidney beans costs around 80 cents. A similar bag in Yeosu goes for anywhere between $4-5, depending on the exchange rates. Ridiculous! I was going to go to the open air market this last weekend and check the price on loose red beans, but I stayed home because of the rain. I’ll probably plan on going next weekend. A few things are fairly cheap, though. Potatoes are currently going for around 60 cents a pound and tomatoes about 90 cents. After finishing off the Thai Chicken Curry, I was still hungry for something spicy, so I made good use of the beans by cooking up a big pot of chili yesterday. I should have leftovers for a few days.

Talking about prices, Loyal Reader OGM from the Boston area commented that she would be going to a game at Fenway Park later this summer. Question for OGM: about how much do you expect to spend for a day at the ballpark? Let’s say the price of the ticket, any beverages and food you buy, programs, etc. You can give me a ballpark figure! :)

Speaking of baseball, I bragged up the Yankees in my last post. That’s the last time I do that. They were just swept in a 3-game series by the Angels and the only thing I can figure is that I jinxed ’em. So, no more bragging. More later (not bragging).

Markets

We English teachers have had the last week off from classes, since the students are taking mid-term exams. The English mid-term is a computer-based listening exam, so we were free for the week. But, back to work tomorrow.

About the only thing I got around to doing was to go up to Seoul on a quick overnight trip. There were some personal items I needed to buy that I’ve only been able to find at a foreign foods market in the capital. It’s always an expensive journey up there, so, like I said, it was a quick trip up and back, but at least I was able to get what I needed.

I found some directions on the Internet for locating a foreign products market in Gwangju, so I took the bus there a few Saturdays back, since it’s so close, to look for the place. Alas, the directions were virtually useless, and after walking around for several hours in the supposed neighborhood where the rumored market was to be found, I gave up. Never did find it.

We’ve had more than a few days of rain over the past week and the week before, up to a couple of inches each time. The temperatures have fallen and the wind has been its usual nasty self – very un-springlike. Fortunately, the forecast is calling for nicer weather in the coming week.

So far I’ve watched all of the Yankee games, but it’s been a mixed blessing, especially after the 2 heartbreaking losses to the Red Sox. Perhaps tomorrow the tables will be turned. More later.

Yellow Dust Alert

Korea put up the first red flag alert of the season for yellow dust yesterday. This is an annual rite of spring on the peninsula caused by dust from the Gobi Desert in China blowing across the appropriately named Yellow Sea. I first wrote about this phenomenon back in 2005 while working in Andong. When I went jogging today it was still quite hazy, so I jogged on the treadmill in the gym instead of on the soccer field, where I usually go when the weather is nice–didn’t want to fill my lungs up with dust. When I jog I’m like an old steam locomotive, huffing and puffing away, sucking in air like a drowning man going down for the last time. Six older Korean ladies were out taking their daily walk around the field, and they all were wearing surgical masks. Click here for a photo of dust-enshrouded Seoul if you’re interested.

Good news about the jogging. A couple of my students from last semester saw me for the first time since the start of this semester and stopped to say hello. “Anderson, hello, you are sooooo thin. You have lost weight! (giggle-giggle)” (They’re girls, by the way.) Well, I haven’t felt like I’ve lost all that many pounds (and I haven’t), but of course their compliment made me feel good about my efforts, so I celebrated with a candy bar. 😀 More (candy?) later.

Laos

I’m off in an hour to begin my vacation to Laos and Thailand. I’m taking the bus to Seoul today, since the plane leaves at 10:30 tomorrow morning. It’s a 3 1/2 hour trip to Seoul, meaning I have to spend the night there to catch the flight on time. No problem–Seoul is always fun, though expensive. I’m meeting my Korean friend, Charlie Shin, for lunch. I also have to buy a good, time-wasting book for reading while lazing the hot summer afternoons away along the banks of the Mekong River. It’s been raining a lot in Laos, my friend Nai tells me, but I hope the rainy season is not too rainy.

I get into Bangkok airport about 4 tomorrow afternoon, then I take the 9pm overnight train to Nongkhai. It arrives at 9am and Nai will meet me there. Then we will cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos, where I have to get a two-week visa. Nai lives about 20 kilometers outside Vientiane. I hope we’ll be able to take in some of the beautiful sights of Laos, including Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. At any rate, I should have good internet access, so I’ll be making frequent posts to the blog. More later.