Friday, April 22, 2011

Seoul's Renewed Stream: Cheonggyecheon

All good things supposedly must come to an end and there's time only for one last stroll Wednesday, April 20 before catching the airport bus to ICN for our 5:00 p.m. flight after five nights on the ground in Seoul.

We decide to go looking for Cheonggyecheon, the stream that was recreated and opened as public recreation space in 2005 at a cost of several hundred million dollars.

To some, it's a tremendous example of urban renewal, as this NYT article outlines. Even now, some Korean environmental groups criticize it as inauthentic and merely symbolic.

For us it's a pleasant walk in a very urban city and a fine way to spend some of our final moments in Seoul on another beautiful day.

A visual feature of this project stretches a long way on the wall, a ceramic tile mural of an ancient king and queen in a grand procession.

We also glimpse yet another giant advertising TV screen on the side of a building, a very common sight in Seoul.

We continue our stroll upstream...

We end up at the beginning and Tom is already up at street level, eager for one final round of shopping.

Luckily for Tom, we find an outdoor sale. If any loved ones recognize their presents from Korea, they can appreciate how hard some of us are working to pick through the merchandise while jostling with fellow shoppers.

It's clear from the photos that Tom tries to hide the fact that he enjoys shopping as least as much as Ellyn and Kathy do, while Brian prefers to take photos from a distance rather than getting involved.

Yes, we've seen a lot of smiles in Korea, as this tourism ad encourages, we've met a lot of genuinely friendly and helpful people, seen some interesting sights, eaten good food, and thoroughly enjoyed our first trip here.

It's always great fun to travel with Tom and Ellyn, as we have in Thailand, South Africa, and now Korea, and we're already looking forward to future expeditions with them.

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