Entries Tagged as 'End of the Line'

End of the Line : Amsa

Friday, September 20, 2013

My new friend Dominic and I took the train to the end of the pink line a few Sundays back. We didn’t have much of a plan, but we did have a couple of empty hours and two cameras. We meandered around by some mud huts at the city’s famous prehistoric settlement site, reached boredom in less than an hour, and hopped back on the train two stops to catch the sunset over the Han. While I can’t give many (or any) recommendations for the area around Amsa station, I would urge you to walk the bridge from the nearby Gwangnaru stop, pick up a few beers on the other side and perch at the edge of the river amongst the fishermen, the teenaged lovebirds and the visor-clad ladies, the ones who rule the city.

End of the Line Amsa Dragonfly 1

End of the Line Amsa Cave 2

The sky was especially saturated that day, from a cotton-spattered Chevy blue at midday to an ombre of butterscotch, and later a giant canvas of cotton candy, lavender and pink and completely out of reach.

When we’d drained and deposited our beer cans, we packed up and walked back to the train to meet our friend Melda for Tex-Mex (which, to find in Seoul, felt like a small miracle). Cars sliced through the belly of the bridge while spiders held stake at the edges, working feverishly under a moon that wasn’t quite full. Spiders know so many things we don’t, don’t you think? We would have counted hundreds of them, if we had counted.

Seoul Sunset Han River 4 Seoul Sunset Han River 2 Seoul Sunset Han River 3 Seoul Sunset Han River 1

Thank you, Dominic, for sharing the day and these beautiful shots from it.

End of the Line: Chuncheon

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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Fortunate is the food enthusiast with fellow enthusiast friends, especially those who will travel for food. It was my friend Habiba’s idea to journey to Chuncheon for the city’s annual Dak Galbi Festival. Thank you, Habiba! Though Chuncheon boasts a lot of natural beauty, we went for its culinary claim to fame. We met at noon in Seoul on a Sunday and took the Gyeongchun line to the end. Along the way we met a good-tempered man, typically bedecked in hiking civvies, whose first words to us were, “Welcome to Korea!” What a guy.

Habiba’s approach to food is bewitching, and I’m constantly learning from her. She contemplates flavors and how to pair them, and she always has an anecdote or interesting piece of history to share about the ingredients she uses. But the best part about her culinary point of view is that she doesn’t take it too seriously. In Chuncheon, we ate bin dae duk, or savory pancakes made with mung beans and fried so that they crisp at the surface but stay tender at the center. We tore them apart with wooden chopsticks and soaked each piece in salty sauce flecked with red pepper and green onion, alternating between bites of crackly pancake and kimchi and swigs of shitty Korean beer that somehow grows on you despite your best attempts to avoid it. We walked around and made friends, and when we were sufficiently sweaty, we headed to a corner tent for the festival’s main attraction.

Dak galbi is a dish meant to share, and the aroma itself can lure you from a block away. We sat around a circular table with a big flat grill in the center, and soon a woman in a red kerchief delivered a heaping serving of chicken, sweet potato, cabbage, garlic, green onion, and rice cake. Dak galbi’s sauce is thicker and sweeter than gochujang and, like all good sauces, is the magic ingredient of the dish. Our lady used a wide metal spatula to fold it all together, and as it cooked, the rice cake’s edges turned golden and candied. The cabbage relinquished every bit of its sweetness, and when the chicken was ready, we wrapped it in lettuce with grilled garlic like little dak galbi tacos. Dak galbi tacos?! For a nanosecond, I thought the idea was all mine. Not even close. Yes I would travel to Chattanooga, Tennessee for dak galbi tacos. I wonder if I could convince Habiba to join me…

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Photos in color, copyright 2013 Turmeric and Twine.

Photos in black and white, copyright 2013 Something for Sunday.

End of the Line: Incheon

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Two weeks ago, my friend Jun and I rode the dark blue metro line from central Seoul all the way to Incheon at the northwest coast of South Korea. Jun is a street photographer, and we met at a workshop that Seoulist hosted earlier this year. I told him about a new project I wanted to start where I’d select one of the city’s seventeen metro lines and travel to the last stop, get off, eat, explore, and take photos. I’ve admired his work since we met, and when he agreed to join, I was thrilled. In fact, it was his idea to visit Incheon.

The third biggest city in South Korea after Seoul and Busan, Incheon is known for its Chinatown, international airport, and port. Jun had visited before, and I hadn’t. He knew exactly where to go for lunch. For the first time, I understood why so many go wild for jajangmyeon, a Korean adaptation of Chinese food with noodles, potatoes, and carrots in a sweet, dark, thick sauce. The sun was merciless, and after an hour of wandering we found a shaded spot to rest and share a big bottle of Tsing Tao. We ambled down sleepy streets lined with used book stores and found a small art gallery on the second floor of a nondescript building. The woman working inside was well-dressed and a little lonely, maybe. She gave us cold barley tea and told us about the visiting artist, whose photographers were all inspired by one of Haruki Murakami’s novels. We found a traditional market with hanbok shops that was deserted but for us, a few other rogue tourists, and the shop workers and owners. Thanks, Jun, for joining, for navigating and for sharing your shots! It was fun.

Photos above, copyright 2013 Jun Michael Park.

Photos below, copyright 2013 Something for Sunday.