Saturday, August 30, 2008


The beach towards the town

Here it is....Gujora Beach, perhaps the most beautiful beach I have ever visited. It's too bad that I don't believe that my photos can in no way display its beauty correctly.

The Bay

About 20 minutes from Okpo by bus, Gujora is part of Hanryo National Marine Park (just off Geoje). Being part of a protected habitat has left the water amazingly clean and pure. Also amazing is that the beach is in a cove of a very large bay, so there are hardly any waves, even in the face of very windy conditions.

The Island with Inner Tubes

I will miss going to the beach when summer is over. Ah well, everything has to end. But until then, I will keep on going....

(and now something off topic)
The Rules of the Beach are:
Let's conserve natural resources.
No dump garbage. Take back please.
No Cooking, No Camping, No fire except permitted area.
No Swimming.
No Shamanism.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Okpo GVC Park

The mouth of Okpo's harbor with barges

In trying to escape from watching Hiyori Lee's U-Go-Girl for about the 50th time, as well as witnessing the poor showing of the USA baseball team against Cuba in the Olympics, I decided to take a hike from Okpo 2-dong to the beach. I had visions of sunning on white sand beaches running through my head, or at the very least, stumbling down a pebble beach into the deep blue water.

A Common Occurrence - Tugboats moving a rig out to sea

Unfortunately, I live on what I thought was a very small island (Okpo definitely is a small place). I mean, come on, I already know all of the blocks in Okpo where all of the (somewhat non-seedy) western bars and foreign clubs are. I know where the jimjilbang is, which noraebangs have western music - I mean, what kind of karaoke establishment doesn't pride itself in at least 2 or 3 Pet Shop Boys selections?

"Of course, you can walk to the beach," I thought to myself. "Why pay 3 bucks for a taxi when you can walk on such a beautiful Liberation Day?"

Hm, it really would've helped to have actually known how to have gotten from Okpo to Deokpo Beach or Gujora Beach. Looking at a map would've perhaps helped....

View Larger Map

So, I started walking. I had a vague idea that if I walked up the steep hill, the beach would be around the corner. Unfortunately, after about 3 kilometers of walking down a highway, the beach just wasn't in the cards.

Although, walking up that hill did provide me with some pretty spectacular views, which hopefully can be seen in these photos. On a clear day, Okpo can perhaps be one of the most beautiful natural places in the world. Except, of course, for the DSME shipyard, which while marring the otherwise beautiful nature of the island, does have a certain bizarre industrial beauty to it.

The temple of Admiral Yi Sun-sin

I ended up going to Okpo Great Victory Commemorative Park, which is about 3 miles down the road from Okpo. The park memorializes the first defeat of the Japanese at the Battle of Okpo on June 15, 1592. The Japanese, under Totoyami Hideyoshi, had invaded Korea on May 23, 1592, laying siege and buring Busan, capturing Seoul, and largely running roughshod over Korea. While largely successful on land, they were defeated time and time again by Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his fleet of Panokseons and Turtle Ships (one of the first ironclad ships in the world).

I think that this will give a better idea as to why Japan invaded:

The plaque in the middle reads:
Japanese culture before Im-jin Japanese Invasion,
inferior to that of Korea, had been desirous of
Korean culture.
Japan organized six special forces to plunder Korea
of its cultural properties.
Japan captured many Korean capanters, workmen,
and took away many Korea treasures and
A majority of Korean cultural properties which are
in Japan today, were taken away during this period.
Japan has developed in cultural respect since Im-jin
Japanese Invasion.

It's a Liberation Day miracle!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


"So what else do you need to know? Stuff about my family, or where I'm from? None of that matters. Not once you cross the ocean and cut yourself loose, looking for something more beautiful, something more exciting and yes, I admit, something more dangerous. So after eighteen hours in the back of an airplane, three dumb movies, two plastic meals, six beers and absolutely no sleep, I finally touch down." - The Beach