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In Masan, we ate Mexican food & took pictures of street art.
Dave and I traveled to Masan this past Saturday, as a way to get away for the day and explore the city we had passed through on our way home one day. The city is well renowned for its textile industry and the site of the production tools of Hite Brewery (one of the most popular beers in Korea). My teacher described it to me as a blue-collar city. The word “Masan” means horse mountain.
From the bus terminal we walked about 2 miles to Changdong (창동), a popular area that has an art village in it. The district is old and the government has supported local artist in the area through gallery space and street art. Though Masan is generally known for its fishing industry and is the origin of spicy Agujjim, a steamed dish made with “agwi” (아귀, blackmouth angler). And it even has the oldest and largest fish market in Korea, Dave and I decided to head out to a little treasure in the popular downtown area of Changdong.
Address: 경남 마산시 동성동 268 번지
Dongseongdong 268 Beonji Changwon 631-090
Website: Rosa de Mexico & Facebook
The food is a bit pricey especially for the amount you get. But once in a while it is okay to go somewhere and get authentic Mexican (not the American Mexican kind). I came mostly for the bushel of cilantro she sold me. It’s so hard to find it here in Korea, and when you do this thin strip of it is like $3. So the fact that she gave me like 10 times the amount for almost the same price was amazing! So here is what we got:
Some Masan History
Lately I’ve been getting into a lot of the history of Korea’s government post Korean War. It may have to do with the upcoming elections next week in which the main candidate is the daughter of the assassinated ex-dictator of South Korean. Anyways here are some facts I found interesting, all taken from Wiki:
March 15, 1960 – A protest against electoral corruption was spearheaded by the Democratic Party in Masan. Approximately 1000 residents attended the demonstration, which took place at 19:30 in front of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Masan. The protest sparked violent clashes between demonstrators and police officers in which several students were killed. To restore order, authorities blacked out Masan and General Carter B. Magruder eventually dispatched US Marines to quell the unrest.
April 12, 1960 – The body of Kim Ju-yul was discovered in Masan Harbor. Kim – still dressed in his uniform from Masan Commercial High School – had disappeared in the March 15 clashes. Authorities claimed that he had drowned, but many Masan residents did not believe this explanation and forced their way into the hospital where Kim’s body was stored. At the hospital, they discovered that grenade fragments behind his eyes had actually killed him. In the following days, mass demonstrations broke out involving as many as 40,000 residents throughout the characteristically politically left-leaning city. During renewed clashes with police, police opened fire and killed several protesters. Once again, the US military was called in to help restore order. At this point, public anger with the government had grown to new highs and rebellion against the Rhee government mushroomed around the country. Authorities subsequently declared martial law.
Thus, the events in Masan in 1960 helped spark the movement against corruption known as the April 19 Movement, which eventually led to the resignation of President Syngman Rhee and the beginning of the Second Republic.
1979 – Protests broke out in Masan (as well as in Busan) against the regime of President Park Chung-hee following a brutal police crackdown on a sit-in strike of female textile workers from YH Trading Company. Workers in Masan’s Free-export Zone even managed to create four labor unions.