Tag Archives: seoul

Cities on the Han

Saturday, September 26. Seoul to Chunju along the Namhangang bike path.

I take the night Mugunghwa train to Seoul. I arrive at 4:30 am and begin biking south towards the Han. I pass the high walls of the American military base, and the Dragon Hill neighborhood.

jangseung-stone-seoul_DSC_8673I reach the river sometime after 5am.

haetae_seoul-DSC_8694A Haetae 獬豸near Hangang Bridge.
As I cross the bridge, I hear a siren and look back. A small convoy of emergency vehicles enter the bridge behind me. They drive slowly. I dismount my bike and walk to the edge of the bridge. The water below is an empty field of darkness framed by a constellation of hovering window lights kept on by an army of hardworking Koreans.
From around an island, an emergency response speedboat floats quickly in my direction. It scans the water with a searchlight. They seem to be looking for someone.
speedboat_DSC_8711I travel east. The sun begins to uncover the city.
seoul-morning-DSC_8737Twenty seven bridges cross the Han in Seoul.
seoul-lotte-tower_DSC_8743Up ahead the unfinished Lotte World Tower rises in the morning haze.
monsters_on_the_banks_of_the_hanDSC_8758Kilometers beyond the capital, camouflaged creatures meet me at the banks of the Han.
han-river_DSC_8776A city on the Han.
han-river-DSC_8782Gun emplacements guarding the waterway against possible northern aggression.
cat-at-cafe_hanriver_DSC_8813Lunch time. A cat and bikers outside a cafe near Paldang Bridge 八堂大橋.
fliers-on-the-road-DSC_8836Plenty of small roadkill along the path.
tunnel_han_DSC_8845Railroad tunnels turned into bike tunnels.
camels_han-river_DSC_8851Camels in the Korean wilderness.
korean-flag-tree-DSC_8855Nationalist trees.
branch-han-river-DSC_8862Trees with tiny purple pumpkins.
sotdae-jangseung-han-river-DSC_8866Jangseung 長承 and Sotdae at Ipobo weir.

jangseung-DSC_8888Jangseung in twisted anguish doing their best to keep demons at bay.

river-tree-island-DSC_8938The day ends at Chungju Tangeumdae, about 120 km from Paldang Bridge.



waiver to enter the JSA

“The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action.”

“Although incidents are not anticipated, the United Nations Command, the United States of America, and the Republic of Korea cannot guarantee the safety of visitors and may not be held accountable in the event of a hostile enemy act.”

unc buildings.




no man’s land.

IMG_0578yonder, noth korea.

here be dragons and communists.


seoul, pizza, missiles, thai rice and breakdance

DSC_4779 we take the mugunghwa to seoul.


imagei buy 6 books at the what the book bookstore including scary stories to tell in the dark with the original stephen gammell illustration.

DSC_4788i  read outliers with some trevi pizza and wine for lunch. pepperoni. quattro formaggi. still the best pizza this or that side of the dmz.

i walk down itaewon-ro in the heart of the american military presence in korea.

DSC_4811i meet some friends on my way to the war memorial museum.



politicians can’t afford to lose face.

turns out they’re having a little protest outside the walls of the yongsan garrison.


DSC_4814  DSC_4817turns out not everybody is into gringos or thaads.


the war memorial of korea.



DSC_4917 some of the sculptures may inspire you to kick some ass.

DSC_4870missiles. lots.

DSC_4856 young children climbing heavy artillery. lots.


DSC_4886turtle ships.

DSC_4890fighting monks retaking pyongyang castle from the japanese.

sweetie, bear, IU, her boyfriend and i meet up for my thai in itaewon.DSC_4934


DSC_4936across from the restaurant somebody convinced somebody putting a kidnapper-van/bar on top of a building would be a good idea.

DSC_4939we go dancing.

DSC_4960-1the dance floor is well-stocked with koreans, nigerians, and american gis.

as the clock strikes midnight, a breakdance fight breaks out.

sunday we take the mugunghwa out of seoul. 5 hours later night falls and we’re back in busan.



1800s american presence in korea