By John Stringer
Final: Tanks, Planes, Temples and some LoTR Southron Warriors
Hauling back to Seoul and Incheon from the JSA and the DMZ on the border with North Korea, it was back in to the streets. I really like this picture, which for me sums up so much that is South Korea.
After the official tours, we took a guerilla tour of our own through some of the back streets, and got lost, to see how real South Koreans live. I really enjoyed this. Lost down catacombs of chaotic streets laden with produce, boxes, and the detritus of enterprise, we were stared at, but discovered a cloistered, cozy, close-living vibrant community. People live close together, this is a major urban center after all, but there was a sense of village that our central NZ cities do not have to the same degree.
I’ve mentioned and photographed many of the more humourous Engerish oddities. A visitor to Korea may be flummoxed by this, as well as the various ‘nazi’ flags flying on buildings. These of course denote temples or places of historic significance, and are actually a very ancient peace symbol (present as wall tiles for example, in the Christ Church Cathedral). If you know your nazi symbols, you’llrealise the arms are actually in different orientations (inverted) than that used by Hitler and Co. But still, a bit disconcerting if you are uninformed.
Being from Christchurch and having some responsibility for the Container Mall, I was surprised to come across this urban Police Station IN A SHIPPING CONTAINER. “Snap!”
These cool sculptures represent each of the months of the year. And en route, there is this red button on the subway. Not a Nuclear Apocalypse reset button, but it does say “Do not lean on this button, Emergency Train Stop” which in New Zealand would just be too tempting. Not in Korea, where people are most obedient of official imperatives.
Wherever you go on the South side, there is a very real commitment to the ultimate re-unification of the Korean peoples. Signs like this are indicative, expressing the sentiment.
Korea is of course an ancient culture, so they have wonderful architecture (both ancient and modern). We came across these scarlet traditional warriors, which reminded me of Southrons (Haradrim) from Lord of the Rings (see here: http://conzervative.wordpress.com/?s=Southrons). Wouldn’t like to cross them: Kung Fu, Tae Kwon-Do and other martial arts, most likely, and they’d all do well in ‘Mouvember.’ But if those dudes are too scary, there’s always the Blues Brothers behind them.
Because of the Korean War that New Zealand soldiers participated in, we went to the Memorial Hall for Incheon Landing Operation that celebrates the support of Americans and other nations for South Korea, particularly the First Marine Division.
This is one of the planes used in the Korean War, set in a garden. You can climb right up to the cockpit, where you meet this…dummy.
The museum has great arches, steep stairtcases and alleyways which lead to dramatic sculptures and memorials. It is a very steep layered complex, with some precipitous drops, dangerous for children or energetic teenagers, that would never be allowed in New Zealand.
The Koreans feel quite passionately about the Americans actually putting ‘boots-on-the-ground,’ something very non-PC these days (so ISIS is allowed to murder, rape, torture and massacre its way through children, women and innocent men. But that’s another story).
These steps for example lead to this, a huge bronze sculpture of the landing American soldiers (thus the name of the museum park) backed by a massive sculptural wall carved in relief (which you can see behind it).
Some more hardware, parked throughout the campus.
To the left of this amphibious Buffalo armoured vehicle, you can see the New Zealand flag (3rd from left).
…and third from the right, the Australian flag.
This is an American M24 Chaffee tank.
As mentioned in Part 1, this was my first trip to Asia. It was great, exciting, different, dynamic, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the sharing of the journey. But it’s always good to get back to New Zealand, the best place in the world. Let’s hope DPF is not eaten by a Cayman or catches gets of those urethra fish while he’s up the Amazon without a paddle. Jal itsuh.