Seoul, South Korea. October, 2017.
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.
A 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.
I travel east. The sun begins to uncover the city.
Twenty seven bridges cross the Han in Seoul.
Up ahead the unfinished Lotte World Tower rises in the morning haze.
Kilometers beyond the capital, camouflaged creatures meet me at the banks of the Han.
A city on the Han.
Gun emplacements guarding the waterway against possible northern aggression.
Lunch time. A cat and bikers outside a cafe near Paldang Bridge 八堂大橋.
Plenty of small roadkill along the path.
Railroad tunnels turned into bike tunnels.
Camels in the Korean wilderness.
Trees with tiny purple pumpkins.
Jangseung 長承 and Sotdae at Ipobo weir.
The 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.”
no man’s land.
yonder, noth korea.
here be dragons and communists.
HC SVNT DRACONES ET COMMVNISTS | OCTOBRIBUS MMXI
i buy 6 books at the what the book bookstore including scary stories to tell in the dark with the original stephen gammell illustration.
i walk down itaewon-ro in the heart of the american military presence in korea.
turns out they’re having a little protest outside the walls of the yongsan garrison.
the war memorial of korea.
fighting monks retaking pyongyang castle from the japanese.
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.