Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bike Trip to Cheonggye Stream, Downtown Seoul

My wife and I began celebrations a day early for Korea's harvest festival, Chuseok (추석), by riding our bikes some seven kilometers down along the Jungnang Stream (중랑천) yesterday afternoon until we reached the place downstream where the Cheonggye Stream (청계천) flows into the Jungnang, whereupon we switched streams in mid-ride and followed the Cheonggye upstream for about five kilometers.

Somewhere along that upstream bike ride, we encountered this unusual sight, an old, rickety-looking building on stilts that had me wondering if some of my hillbilly cousins had kept right on going past Beverly Hills and somehow made their way across the Pacific Ocean to settle along the Cheonggye.

Sun-Ae and I approached for a closer look, but my clever wife had already figured out that this was a traditional building associated with the museum looming in the background, identified by my wife as the Cheonggyecheon Museum, which documents the history of Cheonggye Stream. Anyway, I discovered later that these traditional houses really were supported in part by stilts, as shown in the history section of Wikipedia's Cheonggyecheon website. Here's our closer photo, taken from directly across the stream.

Further along the path, and at my prompting, Sun-Ae took this photograph, which I like for those vertical and horizontal lines that converge on the odd, old building.

At this point, we were officially informed by three men riding past in a golf cart that biking on the path along the Cheonggye Stream isn't allowed, so we went up to street level and there made our way further upstream to Gwangjang Market (광장시장), a special market under arcades offering a smorgasbord of culinary delights. As you see, we chose a rather thick version of the salty Korean 'pancake' (빈대떡, bindaetteok).

Stuffed full with that salty 'pancake', and thirsty anyway from the biking, we stopped along our way back at a sidewalk cafe for drinks. My lovely wife had something bubbly though non-alcoholic, but toasted me anyway.

She then snapped a photo of me enjoying my first of two Heinekens but looking rather like a bewiskered Jed Clampett, minus the oil wealth (unless you count this).

After leaving the emptied bottles behind, we soon came again upon that traditional hillbilly home in Seoul, and I decided to drop in on my long-lost cousins . . . to no avail. Not a soul in sight unless you count mine (assuming that I still have one). Note my frustrated stance, arms akimbo, at disappointment over no "heapin' helpin' of their hospitality."

At this point, we were concerned about the lowering sun and the gathering clouds, so we pressed more quickly on, homeward bound, intent on arriving before dark or rain . . . or both. Thus no more photos.

But have a wonderful Chuseok . . .

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At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've no idea how happy I am to discover you've not the one single head covering but two.

But there's one smallish thing I'd point out, stilt built houses aren't usually a solely hillbilly construction - that is unless perhaps you've got some Louisiana blood in them thar veins.


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I considered a more subtle reference to some Cajun cousins like Hank's Thibideauxs or Fontainots, but I 'spect some mountainside homes might have made use of stilts, too, just to even things out . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazingly (to me anyway) an associate from a county to the west noticed my earlier comment and sent me a picture. It indeed slipped my mind that more than a few bluff situated hillbilly houses incorporate stilts in the construction.

I'd send the picture but it features an unflattering image of a very drunk JK sitting on the lap of one of the largest corn-fed females hailing from the Ozarks. Both incidentally, occupying a stilt held deck contraption jutting precariously over a particular river.

I was young once.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Ha-ha-ha! That's funny. Um . . . just one question. Was I there?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe. I only remember the waking up in the morning part. Thank God I can't recall a doggone thing between the late afternoon and wondering if I should chew my arm off in order not to wake her.


At 1:07 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Actually, I recall only one time waking up and not knowing where I was . . . till I realized that I was home, in my own bed.

Jeffery Hodges

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