Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sinwha Art Village

I can't get enough of my quaint little city. There are so many hidden gems. I have a pretty extensive list of places I have yet to explore, including a black pebble beach and amethyst mines. Not so recently (a few months ago, I've been slacking on this whole blog thing) I visited a traditional area of Ulsan formed in the 60s which has recently been converted into a mecca of murals, mainly dedicated to whales, naturally. Leena and I had a blast wandering the tiny streets admiring the colorful houses, barking dogs, and little working families tucked away in their homes.

Before heading into the village itself, we walked through a few personal gardens complete with cute little ajummas tending the plants. At one point I turned around to snap a shot and had to take a few moments observing the view above. Seeing the contrast of a rural like village and huge industrial plants put a lot about Ulsan into perspective for me. It is the industrial heart of Korea and houses the biggest shipyard in the world, both attributing to Ulsan being one of the "richest" cities in Korea. Despite that, there are still areas of the city which are less than telling of the cities industrial successes. 

Even though most of the art involved whales in some way, there was still a huge variety of things to look at throughout the village. It was impossible to walk three feet without seeing something new to catch your eye. Shacks, stairs, and doors were all covered in colorful paint. Leena and I probably spent close to two hours just wandering and snapping pictures around every corner.

To say that Ulsanites hold their history of whaling close to hearts is an understatement. Whales have been a huge part of their culture for A LONG TIME, according to petroglyphs in the surrounding area. Despite recent laws prohibiting the killing of whales as a means of profit, there are still loops holes. It isn't rare to see whale meat at the local fish market, unfortunately. Even though my heart cries at the thought of harpooning an innocent little whale, I try and remember that in the past it was a means of survival and has thus made an imprint on the culture of people in the area. Regardless, you won't catch me frying up any whale meat.

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