Thursday, May 29, 2008

곧 돌아올게

Evening sky seen somewhere in Suyeong (수영, 水營), Busan. I was supposed to be going to Gwangalli (광안리, 廣安里) but lost my way. I wasn't worried. Instead, I enjoyed the short period when I was lost. Ironic as it may sound, I actually see more of the city by being lost.

Lately I have not been updating my blog as often as I would like to because my mind and soul are probably still "lost" somewhere in Busan. But anyway, I think they should be "coming back" anytime soon. By then, I would be back to regular blogging. 미안하지만 기다린 김에 조금만 더 기다리세요. 내가 곧 돌아올게요. ^^

Sunday, May 25, 2008


The weather is becoming so warm and humid these days that I start to miss the cool sea breezes at Gwangalli and Haeundae.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

진심으로 살아간다

This is Tancheon (탄천,炭川) stream. To get there, I have to take the subway all the way to the suburban Jeongja (정자, 亭子), the last few stations of the Bundang line. There is really nothing special about the stream and the fact that I was there has something to do with the Korean drama "Alone in Love". "Alone in Love" is perhaps one of the most underrated Korean drama. I don't usually watch drama but this is one drama which I manage to complete. In particular, the narration by Eun-ho (the female lead in the drama) in the final episode, left a deep impression in me. The narration is about Eun-ho's interpretation of a "happy" marriage life and it is definitely not a bed of roses.

"Daily life is as dull as calm water but when there are "ripples", small as they may be, we tend to suffer and would begin to yearn for the dull (but peaceful) daily life. Good or bad luck are not something that are within our will to decide. They are always hidden in time, waiting to "pounce" upon us. Our life is as fragile as a toy. "Change" and "end "are inevitable parts of life and looking back in time will only give us a sense of emptiness. As such, we can only learn to treasure the present. In spite of all the sorrow, joy and impatience, we still wish for happiness, above other things. No matter how bad the time may be, time being time, it will eventually past. That is why we can manage to come all the way to this point in time. Sometimes we may quarrel, hate and feel bored about each other, but more frequently, we live to feel pity for one another. I can say that "I am happy" without being ashame but since I have not come to the end of my life, I cannot say that it is a "happy ending" for us."

Because I so like this drama, I found my way to Tancheon, the place where the ending scene was filmed. In specific, I was searching for the lawn which Eun-ho sat on while Dong-jin played with their daughter. It is a scene of "bliss" to me and it looks beautiful in the drama. I managed to find the lawn and took a picture (see photo below) of it - a proof that I have been there and done that :)

I have attached the video clip of the ending of "Alone in Love" and the narration by Eun-ho. I am not translating the narration word-by-word as my Korean is still not up to mark. Nevertheless, I am placing the narration here so that anyone, who can read Korean, can follow what Eun-ho is saying in the video clip.

일상은 고요한 물과도 같이 지루하지만
작은 파문이라도 일라치면 우리는 일상을
그리워하며 그 변화에 허덕인다.

행운과 불행은 늘 시간속에서 매복하고 있다가
우리의 의지와는 상관없이 달려든다.
우리의 삶은 너무도 약하여서
어느 날 문득 장난감처럼 망가지기도 한다.

언젠가는 변하고, 언젠가는 끝날지라도
그리하여 돌아보면 허무하다고 생각할지라도
우리는 이 시간을 진심으로 살아갈 수 밖에 없다.

슬퍼하고, 기뻐하고, 애달아하면서
무엇보다도 행복하기를 바라면서.

고통으로 채워진 시간도 지나고
죄책감 없이는 돌아볼 수 없는 시간도 지나고
희귀한 행복의 시간도 지나고
기억되지 않는 수많은 시간들이 지나
우리는 여기까지 왔다.

우리는 가끔 싸우기도 하고,
가끔은 격렬한 미움을 느끼기도 하고,
또 가끔은 지루해하기도 하고,
자주 상대를 불쌍히 여기며 살아간다.

시간이 또 지나 돌아보면
이 때의 나는 나른한 졸음에 겨운 듯
염치없이 행복했다고 할 것이다.

그러나 여기가 내 시간의 끝이 아니기에
지금의 우리를 해피엔딩이라고 말할 수는 없다.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Don't despair. Stand up, raise your head and start looking ahead... Oops! didn't know that it's end-of-the-road in front. The lesson learnt: Read your road signs carefully ><

世间的旦夕祸福任谁也猜不准,所以人们难免对未来都会带有些彷徨,迷惘或恐惧。一旦危机无预警降临时,人们极其容易陷入绝望的边缘。在这时候,不得不佩服咱们老祖宗的造字智慧。所谓危机,就是越有危险,就越有机会。所谓绝望,就是越进入绝境,就越能看见希望。是绝地,也能逢生。人活在这世上,要嘛就学会认命,要嘛就活得有智慧,就是不能怨天尤人。自己的命运掌握在自己手里。到底如何选择,任谁也爱莫能助。自己看着办吧。但无论如何,事事都一定要拿出斗志来 - 힘내 알았찌?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

귀로에 오른다

To me, taking the airport limousine bus to Incheon Airport was almost like taking a bus to an interchange. I have stopped counting the number of times I went through the immigration door at Incheon Airport. Actually it wasn't that many times but I have gone through it enough times that counting has no more significance.

Looking at the departure board for my return flight to Singapore - Asiana Airlines OZ751.

Looking for direction to Boarding Gate 10. The gate was located almost to one end of the airport.

Waiting to board my plane. 6 hours is not too long a travelling time. Before I even knew it, I was back in Singapore safe and sound. That day was April 6. With this posting, I shall end my "Scent of Spring" journey. I can't possibly drag the end any further because it is becoming very hot these days that I feel like "melting" >.<

Saturday, May 10, 2008

진해의 봄

I attempted to write about my trip to Jinhae (진해, 鎭海) earlier but left it uncompleted because I had too many things to do and too little time to blog in Korea. Since my earlier posting is incomplete, I have decided to delete it and re-write my Jinhae trip all over again. My purpose in visiting Jinhae was to participate in the Gunhang Festival (군항제, 軍港祭). This festival is held annually in conjunction with the cherry blossom blooming period. However, I was one day too early for the festival. The festival started on 1 April but I arrived on 31 March. Though the celebration had yet to start, the street in Jinhae was also relatively less crowded.

My day itinerary in Jinhae started at Mt. Jangbok (장복산, 長福山). After which, I made my way down Jangbok Road (장복로, 長福路) towards the direction of Jinhae city which is about 2km away. In Jinhae city, I turned into Yeojwa Cherry Blossom Road (여좌벚꽃로) and that led me to the scenic Yeojwa stream (여좌천, 余佐川). From the stream, I found my way to Jungwon Rotary (중원로터리), the main venue where all the cultural performances and activities, during the festival, are held. Jungwon Rotary was the end-point of my day itinerary. My lunch was a bowl of ramen or instant noodle at GS25 convenience store. After lunch, I took a taxi ride to Masan Express Bus Terminal where I took an express bus back to Seoul.

Jinhae Mt. Jangbok Sculpture Park (진해 장복산 조각공원, 鎭海長福山雕刻公園) - The starting point of my day itinerary. It was end of March but the morning air in Mt. Jangbok was still chilly. The cherry blossoms had yet to bloom. The yellow forsythia flower still had a few more days before the cherry blossoms took over the Spring.

The winding road leading up to Mt. Jangbok, lined on both sides by cherry blossom trees. It was a Sunday morning but there was no weekend crowd yet.

Since I was in a sculpture park, there were, of course, many sculptures displayed openly around the park. This is a stainless steel sculpture of four books with the titles - Honesty, Justice, Humility and Human Being. I guess what it means is that for someone to be considered human being, he should have at least the virtues of honesty, justice and humility.

Cherry blossom starting to bloom in small numbers as I walked down Mt. Jangbok. It was interesting to see that more and more trees were blooming as I moved towards lower altitude.

In a plum blossom garden. To an uninitiated person like me, it is not easy to differentiate between cherry and plum blossom. However, after a while, I kinda noticed their differences. Cherry blossom tree is much bigger than plum blossom. Cherry blossom also appears in much greater numbers than plum blossom.

I thought Magnolia flowers were all white until I saw these violet-coloured flowers. The morning dew was still visible on the petals though it was already 9 plus.

For a long time, I am curious about the look of maple leaves in Spring. I know that the maple leaves are green in Summer and red in Autumn. Now I know that they are actually green and red during Spring.

The cherry blossom trees in Jinhae city were in full bloom. One can never fully appreciate the sheer beauty of cherry blossom unless you see them for yourselves. In Korea, there is no better place to see them than Jinhae because the whole city is populated with cherry blossom trees.

This is Yeojwa Cherry Blossom Road (여좌벚꽃로). The road definitely lived up to its name. The road is like a covered walkway with the cherry blossom canopy forming the cover. Ahead of this road is the beautiful Yeojwa stream.

The scenic Yeojwa stream (여좌천, 余佐川) with pink cherry blossom above and green rapeseed below.

The bridge at the end is called the "Romance Bridge". It is supposed to be the filming site of the MBC Wednesday, Thursday Drama - Romance (로망스) back in 2002. The bridge appears in episode 15 of the drama which cast Kim Jae-won and Kim Ha-neul. Frankly, I have not even heard of this drama. I got all my information from a board along the wooden walkway.

예쁘죠? Isn't it beautiful. It feel so dreamy and surreal. The stream has night lighting so night viewing of cherry blossom is possible.

This year marks the 46th Gunhang Festival. The festival first started as a memorial service for Admiral Yi Sun-shin following the setting up of his statue in Jinhae city back in April 13, 1952. In 1963, the Gunhang festival becomes an annual event to remember the patriotism of Admiral Yi and to promote local tourism.

This is the Jungwon Rotary. It was the end-point of my day itinerary. It was one day before the start of the 46th Gunhang Festival. Workers were busy setting up the stage on the traffic island. White tents were erected in large numbers for the festival market. More than one million of visitors are expected to visit Jinhae during the two-weeks festival.

The convenience store in Korea is generally big enough to have tables and chairs for people to rest and eat their instant noodles or other foodstuff bought in the store. I had my lunch - "udong" instant noodle inside GS25 convenience store.

So many brands of instant noodles to choose from. It is about 1,000won for one. A very convenient way to satisfy a hungry stomach.

At the Masan Express Bus Terminal. A taxi ride from Jinhae to Masan cost 15,000won (~S$20) and took less than half hour, if I remember correctly. The taxi fare is not as expensive as I thought. A superior-class express bus ticket to Seoul cost 26,200won (~S$37), half the price of a KTX ticket. The express bus has only 3 seats in a row so the seat is quite spacious. Our express bus departed Masan at 14:40

At 16:20, our bus arrived at its half-way stop - Seonsan Rest Area (선산휴게소). The meal-break or toilet-break is about 15 minutes long. The actual time of departure was displayed at the front of the bus and it read 16:40.

Express buses parked at the Seonsan Rest Area. After Seonsan, there was no more stop until the bus reached the Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam, Seoul. It seems like there is an express lane meant only for the express buses. Our bus didn't experience any jam although it was a Sunday evening when many Koreans were supposed to make their way back to Seoul as well. Our bus arrived at the terminal at 19:00. It was a 4 hours and 20 minutes ride. Express bus definitely gives more value for money compared to KTX. Not that slow afterall but way much cheaper. So this is it - the end of my short Jinhae trip.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


There are not many more places in Seoul that I have not been. However, once in a while there will be some "rare find" like Samcheongdong (삼청동, 三淸洞). Samcheongdong is hidden away at one quiet corner near Gyeongbokgung (경복궁, 景福宮). It is a place where art galleries, boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants co-exist in perfect harmony. The evening atmosphere at Samcheongdong is, lack of a better word, fantastic and there are many beautiful spots along the street that are worth the effort you take to bring your camera along. Many of my photos taken at Samcheongdong didn't turn out well because of the low-light environment. If not, you would be able to see much more of this beautiful place. When I am starting to get tired of walking up and down Myeongdong, Samcheongdong is a welcome change.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

부산 잘 가

Last group of photos of Busan. I spent only 3 days in Busan but it seems like I have been there for a longer time. For some reason time seems to slow down. Perhaps I was thinking, seeing and dreaming a lot more, thanks to the great sea view, gorgeous beaches and the warm weather and people. . .

As I walked up the overhead bridge at Busan Coastal Ferry Terminal.

As I looked up the sky of Haeundae while on my way to the beach.

As I saw while sitting at the beach of Haeundae.

Leaving Busan on a KTX for a 3-hours journey back to Seoul.

Monday, May 05, 2008

광안리 해수욕장

Just to see the Gwangan Bridge (광안대교, 廣安大橋) at night is enough reason to visit Gwangalli Beach (광안리 해수욕장, 廣安里海水浴場). When I was there, I couldn't take my eyes off the bridge.

The road at Gwangalli is busier than Haeundae. While Haeundae has the resort feel, Gwangalli is more like a heartland's beach park. Even beaches have characters ㅋㅋㅋ