A Walk and a Drive #2

by sebastien on March 8, 2009

Note: I know it's been three weeks since I've last posted an entry on this blog... I'm sorry! While being intensely sick with what I think was a sinus infection, I didn't feel much like writing.. Then after being sick, finally being able to go out and do things, and spend some time at work including overtime, I also didn't feel much like writing.. Though I do have a lot to write about! I'm still learning so much about this country, and I still have so much to learn yet. I think I'm going to start writing shorter posts (after the epic posts I'm planning for today of course) so that it doesn't seem like such a big chore to me.. haha. Well, let's get on to the topic.

The Urban Walk:

Two weekends ago Bert and I went for another walk... This time, instead of heading farther away from civilization and climbing up the mountain behind our complex, we headed into the town of Hogye near where we live to go and look at some of the shops and see what it was like. In order to get to the town from our complex, we have to walk through little rural neighbourhoods with very narrow roads and lots of agriculture. It's interesting, the contrast of the modern city roads and building, right next to these old narrow roads with old buildings. I believe it has to do with South Korea developing so quickly in the last 50 years or so.

(Rural subdivision between our complex and the town of Hogye)

It's so cool really, all these rice paddies and little farms with roosters and chickens and whatever, and in the horizon there's no less than a half dozen sky cranes all working full time to put together new buildings for this expanding country.

(Rice paddies and sky cranes)

(Another strong contrast, giant apartment complex surrounded by rice paddies)

About 30-40 minutes after leaving the complex we got down to highway 7 which is the main interconnect to the city center of Ulsan.. It's not really wise to cross that street by foot, and we had no plans to anyway, so we walked along the highway on a railroad track to get into the town. I saw what I thought was a good photo opportunity with a local walking along the side of the rail:

As we walk into the town it quickly changes from rural to urban, from not-so-clean to not-so-bad.

(Let 'er dangle)

(You sometimes find strange things lying around...)

This is one of the side streets in Hogye, to show you how packed everything is here:

(It's not very busy because it's early morning on a Sunday, but these streets do come alive on a Friday or Saturday night for sure)

Bert and I wander around looking at stuff, finding out prices and what-not, and just soaking it all in. At one point we find a stray dog that just follows us around for a few minutes.. He's very timid and doesn't seem to like being touched, but he's very playful and energetic and looks friendly.. He was our dog for a few minutes :)

(We never did see his owner, just a distressed lady who didn't seem to trust this dog at all, too bad we couldn't understand what she was saying..)

We walk to the end of one of the main roads (where we see that pile of toilet parts, haha) and we start heading back where we came from to look for a taxi. We waive one down pretty quick and hop in.. We show him the little card we get when we move in that tells people where we live in Korean. 4,800KRW later we're back home! The taxi drive didn't want to take any extra money for having two in the car, nor did he want to take any tips.. I can get used to that ;)

There are a few more pictures on the website here.

The Mountain Tour:

Later in that same Sunday, Bert, Arif and I went on a tour of Gyeongju, a neighbouring city just north of Ulsan. This time I drove, I think it was my first time driving in the country, but I could be wrong. Speaking of driving, this country is crazy, haha. Maybe not as crazy as what I've heard of countries like India and China, but it's up there. Motorbikes here don't obey speed limits, traffic lights, or common sense. Car's rarely use signal lights, and rarely uses caution when changing lanes. But traffic moves though, and if you stay sharp, and follow the dance, you'll be alright. Sometimes you have to be a bit aggressive to ensure your place on the road.

Gyeongju, from my impression, is mostly a tourist city. There's an amusement park, lots of little shops and temples, traditional houses everywhere, and it's generally quite pretty.

Our intent was to make it to the Gyeongju Hilton where there was 4-wheeler rentals nearby, but we didn't end up finding it, and it was pretty cold anyway, so we drove up a touristy mountain to see what we could find.

The drive up the mountain was awesome. As most of you know, I love driving, and I love winding roads. It was so beautiful, even though the view was shortened by the mist and overcast.

(A quick stop at the end of a trail for some pictures)

It took a while to get up to the top, and when we got up there we had to pay 2,000KRW to park the car (peanuts!). Then we started wandering around the area. I didn't find out much about this attraction, and we didn't bother getting tickets to go up further on the mountain (way too cold, we'll save that for another time).

Above the parking lot there was a bell tower (it's hard to see the bell in the picture though, sorry!):

(Arif taking some pictures with his Sony SLR)

(Big Berta with his mountains)

We didn't hang around too much longer, just long enough to see the views, freeze our butts off, and then head back down the hill. We took the long way back, through the mountains to the east, following the coast south towards the power plant, than back up over the mountain on the route we from work. [We got stuck behind a really really slow driver going up over the mountain... slow in more ways than one.. S/he (pretty sure it was a she) just about rolled off the mountain a few times, and nearly got into a head on collision with oncoming traffic around a blind turn. I was pretty happy to pass her once we got passed the narrow mountain road... haha]

Check out the rest of the pictures here.

Well, that's it for this post! I hope you learned a little something.. I still have a few more short posts in mind before the end of the day, so stay tuned.

Take care for now!

(Note: This blog post was imported from my old blogger site to this new WordPress blog.)