Archive for November, 2012

Revisit Korea 2012

Geoffrey in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do

My son Geoffrey spent a year and a half working in Changwon (창원), Korea as a logistician for Ducom

This blog was created in response to his request, before he left on May 15th, 2012, that I identify information about Changwon. When I wrote this I also included sites that interested me as I planned to visit him there in connection with an official Revisit (see box below). That has happened and I returned October 31st, 2012. I returned again

Note: In the following paragraph, if pop-up windows (mostly in Korean) ask “OK or Cancel” – Click “Cancel”
Changwon is “The First Planned City of Korea” and prides itself on being an environmental city as well. There is a city map of Sarim Dong (Geoffrey’s neighborhood) that can zoom in and out, and an (over large) tour map with nice drawings of sites of interest but which doesn’t zoom (viewer must move it around). Another good Changwon link is at Wikipedia, and there is a weather report and map at Open Weather. Specific pages of interest at the government site include House of ChangwonBulgoksa TempleSeongju TempleJunam Wetlands, and Changwon Festivals and Events.

Click here for Changwon weather.

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Geoffrey with co-workers (Won Jung on left) having just climbed 정병산.

Interesting blogs on living in Changwon by expats. They are mostly teachers of English, and are American, Australian, Brit, and one crochety Irish guy. Each link is to only one page (not always the first) of a longer blog; the rest may or may not be about Changwon.

Jinhae (Chinhae) and Masan were absorbed into Changwon City in 2010, and are now districts (gu) of Changwon.Jinhae is the home of the Korean Naval Academy, and of a naval shipyard. Other links for Jinhae are at Wikipedia, and at Jinhae City Guide (weather). The only U.S. Naval facility in Korea is Chinhae Naval Base (still using McCune–Reischauer spelling); see also Global Security which gives more extensive information. Masan is a major shipyard andshipbuilding center. Geoffrey’s landlord, a doctor Pak, designed the large crane used in the STX shipyard. See also pictures at Marine DigitalIn searching for “Masan shipbuilding” I came upon a publication of the Naval Institute (it was located in the building next door to my office when I worked at the Naval Academy in Anapolis, Maryland) showing Korean navy ships. Might be of interest here). Evidently the Masan shipyards build ships for theKorean Navy, and navy ships for export (particulary the PKM or “Chamsuri”)! Scroll up for North Korea.

Changwon is the capitol of GyeongSangnam-do (경상남도 or Gyeongnam for short)

The above link has a map and links to the many points of interest in Gyeongnam. About 40 km (25 miles) east is the major port city of Busan (부 산, Pusan). Busan Metropolitan city is Korea’s second largest city and is geographically, but no longer administratively, part of Gyeongnam. See Busan Cultural CenterHaeundae beach (note: two links), one of the most famous (and crowded) beaches in Korea is in Busan.

Historic and Religious Sights to Visit

There are many temples in Gyeongnam, including two of the “Three Jewel Temples” of Korea. About75 miles (120 km) north of Changwon is Haeinsa (해인사) which houses the Tripitaka Koreana (printing blocks); see also sites at VisitKorea, and UNESCO. The second, Tongdosa (통 도사, T’ongdosa), north of Busan, is a Sacred Buddha Relic Temple. About 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Changwon, in Gyeongsangbuk-do (north of Busan and just west of Ulsan), are Gyeongju (the capitol of Silla 57 BC – 935 AD) and Bulguksa. Many sites in the Gyeongju Historic Area and the nearby Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple are UNESCO World Heritage Sites (see white box, above right). Geoffrey and I visited Bulguksa and the Seokguram Grotto, but didn’t get into Gyeongju.

About 100 km (60 miles) west of Changwon is Jinju and Jinjuseong (seong=castle), which was the site of two battles (1592 and 1593) during the 1592 Imjin War (Japanese invasion under Hideyoshi). See also the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival (held in early October in 2011) commemorating the (second?) battle.

I visited Geoffrey, and participated in an official RoK sponsered “Revisit” to Korea in October 2012

The Government of the Republic of Korea (RoK), in cooperation with Friends of Korea, and Korea Foundation has been hosting former Peace Corps Volunteers for one week Revisits. I participated in such a revisit in October 2012, as part of a group of fifty volunteers from different groups. While in Seoul the group stayed at the Somerset Palace, across from the Japanese Embassy and just a couple blocks from Gwanghwamun (광화문). We revisited our sites (in my case GongJu), all as guests of the ROK. You can see a 20 minute video of the 2011 revisit. A vidio of the 2012 revisit is not yet on line.I combined this with a wonderful two week visit with Geoffrey, during which time he showed me around his city, and we saw a couple movies (Looper, Skyfall). We would eat dinner out after he got home from work and he had his run. Several times we ate with his uncle and other Ducom co-workers who were in town for a few days (usually he is the only American at the large instalation); or with Dr. and Mrs. Park (his landlords); or on his birthday in Masan with Won Jung, a friend and co-worker from his factory. On a Saturday we visited Bulguksa and Seokguram Grotto (with much help from Geoffrey on the steep, uneven steps leading to the grotto), and on Sunday went to church with Dr. Park.I kept a blog on this trip at Blogger, the Revisit beginning on Day 13. The blog is organized most recent entry first *, so to see all enteries in this blog scroll down and start with the last entry, or use “Timeslide” on the right to select any one day. Click on pictures to enlarge them. See more pictures on Picasa. See also the Korea Times articleon the Revisit.

*I presume it is organized this way for those who are following the blog and want to see the most recent first.

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Gene with health center staff, Gongju, October, 2012.
Health Center Director on my right, Ms. Pang (co-worker in 1968-9) on my left.

Water Drinking (1)

Having a drink at Seokguram Grotto.

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Geoffrey at Gyeongbok Palace, with Gwanghwamun and modern city behind him.

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