Tag Archives: abandoned

gaya land

i rescue old coronado in gimhae. he looks dusty and melancholic. i push him up the hill to a daelim repair shop. the mechanic is just coming back from his lunch break. he has a tiny paper cup with sugary coffee in one hand. he asks me what the problem is. carburetor. he tells me they don’t make carburetors for my scooter model anymore. he motions with his hand to follow him. we go out to the yard next to his shop. he points to two scooters like mine propped against a wall. they look dusty and sad. the mechanic makes the throat slash sign. is die. he takes a sip of his coffee. i’ll look around for a second opinion.

a few blocks up the hill i find another daelim mechanic. he tells me he doesn’t have a carburetor either but he opens up coronado to investigate. he tells me the problem may be simpler… and more embarrassing. he is very kind and lets me go without charge.

DSC_4439i drive coronado up the hill to explore gaya land, an abandoned amusement park in the outskirts of gimhae.   i park my scooter and scout the area. there are yellow flowers, older women picking vegetables in a community garden, stylized kimchi pots, and a dead animal that’s been blackened by the sun for weeks. in the distance i see gimhae and the floodplain of the nakdonggang. further southeast hundreds of white apartment buildings at the foothills of the mountainous spine of busan.

DSC_4436nestled in the green hills in front of me, sticking out of the thicket like a ceremonial mesoamerican structure built in honor of the sun-god, a bone-colored ferris wheel. i follow a deteriorated road covered by trees. i cross a small bridge and squeeze myself past some barricades.  soon i reach the gates of gaya land. i take a few pictures but i notice i  only have 10 pictures left on my sd card.  i look through the card to delete the photos i don’t need. that’s when i hear the dogs barking. i look up and above the entrance steps i see them. they look pissed off. i turn around and start walking away. i hear a metal pipe falling near by. i assume somebody must have thrown it in my direction, some sort of squatting dokkebi or a cranky old guard. i shall return, gaya land.



Ghost Apts Jangsan and Sajik

Banyo dong, ghost apts under the shadow of Jangsan.

We go up the streets at the foothills of Jangsan in the night. Circling its enormous base, trying to find temples lit by lantern. We drive through orange lit alleys and sleeping houses. Few old people and uniformed students walking the streets. Our motorcycle can’t take us some hilly streets so we dismount and hike up . We go to the upper most levels and find apartments surrounded by quiet night forests and dead ends. We go down. We discover a line of unlit lanterns and it guides us through more dark ascensions. Shadowy cats cross the inclined mountain streets. A dark wooden temple on a corner guarding the entrance to the forest. We continue our drive. We find a road that runs up and parallel to a great white wall. Cars parked by the side of the road. At the top there a no lights except from the villages and the city fragments below. A dark green lump of a mountain, like a bell top that’s been carpeted by lichens extends out of the city. We look around these small apartments and they remind me of whited sepulchers from necropoleis in dreams. Sacked columbarium walls.  Windows black and uninviting to the living. Nobody resides in them anymore. Entrails of structure strewn across the yards of burned grass. A playground. Figures contorted against the night. Swings and swiveling contraptions that tonight appear like childhood nightmare dokebis. She says let’s go and she’s startled by my torch light as it begins to inspect the dead playground and uncovers shadows. We leave. We find a park at the edge of Banyo dong. An old man trains his little dog like a drill sergeant.  Two girls talk and look on as the dog runs and sits and dies on command.


Uninhabited apartments in a city made of lightemittingdiods.  At night in Sajik the peace of these apartments’ shadows settle in the eyes like unlit forests in a city of fluorescence. A gap in the alluring lights. There’s fleeting life in them like in the body of an animal that once was loved and cared for and now lays in agony and soon will be dead and then dust. And these white apartments are to become rubble and be recycled into something new.  On each of those windows a dim aura of deep melancholy of somebody’s lost childhood, joyous married life or mere loneliness.