Population: 1,471,324 (as of 4/2013) It is the 6th largest city in Korea.
2002 FIFA World Cup: Gwangju World Cup Stadium was one of the venues used for the World Cup
Politics: Gwangju is the main campaign of the liberal Democratic United Party.
Massacre: On May 18-27 in 1980, Gwangju citizens rose up against SK’s dictatorship, resulting in hundreds killed.
Buddha’s Birthday Plan
It was Buddha’s Birthday and when we tried booking everything, it was too late so we were left with no place to go. Ever the optimistic, Dave came up with this grand adventure…choosing a place on the map and just getting on a bus and just going! Sort of like our very own:
But me being me, of course I couldn’t just go somewhere and not have a clue about anything. Thank goodness for smartphones. They make everything easier. The idea of going to Jeolla province came up, since we’ve never really been. It’s always Seoul, Seoul, Seoul (Imagine Jan Brady right now).
Away we go!
Upon arriving, we strolled to the nearby river in the direction of duck street. Maps are a beautiful thing, easily accessible at the Bus Terminal. It wasn’t until later that night, that I remembered about the massacre and the fact that we were here on the eve of its anniversary.
We fell in love
We met up with Laura and Esther, and after a good ole’ time at the festival, we headed out and miraculously found a salsa studio where there were more men then women! Now if you know my friends Laura and Esther, you know how obsessed they are with salsa. So the fact that this place had more men then we are accustomed to in Daegu, made her instantly want to move to Gwangju! Right upstairs was the most chillest pub I’ve seen in quite some time. Speakeasy was amazing, so relaxing and the owner came over and chatted with us. By the end of the night, we had talked to so many friendly people – both Korean and foreign. As the night began to wane, and sleep called, we were ready to love Gwangju forever.
Beautiful place! Too bad there were so many mosquitoes!
The best part of the night, a festival to celebrate democracy!
Adventure Time Video: Day 1
우리는 마산에서 멕시코 음식을 먹고
거리 아트 사진을 찍었어요
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
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.
For someone who isn’t particularly prone to enjoying the ocean (the thought of deep dark waters frightens me) I was surprised how much nostalgia I felt when I went to visit Pohang with my art teacher a few weeks back. We were there to see the art of Nam June Paik, a Korean born American artist considered to be the first video artist. He paved the way for asian artist during his time. It’s very trippy (it was around the time of Andy Warhol) and many of the video’s feel like a trip on acid. If David Bowie is on them, you know it’s some mind trip.
In 1974 Nam June Paik used the term “super highway” in application to telecommunications, which gave rise to the opinion that he may have been the author of the phrase “information superhighway.” He has been quoted with saying, Skin has become inadequate in interfacing with reality. Technology has become the body’s new membrane of existence.”
After the gallery we made our way to the ocean, where I was able to take some pretty nice shots when I randomly found a chair abandoned on the beach.
Pohang is a steel city, relying heavily on POSCO as a means to its economic success. Nature and industrialization collide beautifully here. You need to try Mul Hwe, a delicious blend of sashimi with cold noodles, topped with a chilled pear sauce that is do die for.