Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Brixham of South Korea

The tourism industry likes to go for the Santorini comparison when promoting Gamcheon Village, but I haven't been to Santorini. Where I have been is Brixham in Devon, England, so that'll do.

Boy, have I been to Brixham. It was my Nana's favourite place in the world (based on her extensive travels in several parts of England and Wales, and that one time her son forced her to take a ferry to Calais and back in an optimistic attempt to broaden her horizons), so that meant I spent many formative summers relying on joke shops, Sonic the Comic and Bruce Coville's Aliens Ate My Homework saga to stave off the boredom in the coastal town they forgot to close down.

Yeah, like I would have been in my element in Ibiza or something. I'll clearly end up back in Brixham when this is all over.


A bit like Yangdong Village near Gyeongju, Gamcheondong is an independent community that sets itself apart ideologically from the rest of society - though in this case it's more to do with religion and resettlement during the Korean War, rather than just because they saw a historical drama series and liked the clothes. I'm looking at you, Yangdong!

But for most other Koreans, and the rare 외국인 (not-Korean), it's best known as that gaudy, colourful place in Busan by the sea. This technicolor assault was a shock to the system after spending a couple of months in mostly sepia scenery during Korea's cold, dead winter, and felt like being back in Malaysia or something. Or my Nana's similarly vibrant and tacky dining room. I miss her.

Sometimes I wonder if North Korea's regimented uniformity is such as bad thing

Nice view

Yeah, shame about THAT

Wait a minute, a sheer hill overlooking an Oriental village? I smell dead stuff! (Not literally)

As final resting places go, it's really not bad

What the...? Some kind of amputated Yeti foot? (Dave's size 11 foot for comparison)

Busan Tower, obviously

Some round thing on a hill, obviously

As well as disturbing the locals by trampling their gardens, some homes have been renovated to feature 'culture' installations too. Like The Dark House. Which isn't even dark.
If I were Korean, I would be delighted to see my taxes being put to such valuable use

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