Progressive Pohang – my Korean niche

10 Jan

I will kick of 2011 with a post on my weekend trip to Pohang.

It’s a new year, and even though the 2010 gave way to 2011 without a real break these past three weeks have been great.  Christmas was wonderful and new years weekend was just as enjoyable.  We ventured down to busan to count in the new year, and even though we literally froze our butts off it was a great party.  It was my first trip outside of Daegu since September and I needed a scenery change really bad.  We had an amazing time.  Being a large city we spent a lot of time on the subways navigating our way underground between the places we wanted to go.  It was all a bit exhausting.  So since our time here in Kimchiland is running out faster than you can say Kimchi we decided to make another weekend trip to the coastal city of Pohang.  Why go to Pohang? Well, to get away from it all.

Pohang is a small city on the east coast of Korea, famous for crab and POSCO, the second largest steel manufacturer in the world.  There’s not much to see or do in Pohang but that was not the objective of the weekend.  We wanted to go somewhere where we could just relax.  Pohang rose to the challenge!  Driving into Pohang we noticed a lot of snow.  Much more than had fallen in Daegu a few days earlier.  A day or two before we arrived Pohang experienced two days of snowfall which accumulated around 15 inches of the white stuff.  That’s the most snow I’ve seen in any urban area ever!  We quickly found our way downtown and booked into a nice centrally located motel.  We ventured into the streets of Pohang and immediately noticed that somethings different.  We could immediately feel that we were not in Daegu anymore.  Although the scenery in Korea hardly changes from place to place there was just something we could not pin down.  The people.  Even though Pohang is a small city with a very small foreigner community, we weren’t faced with uncomfortable glares and deer-headlight looks from the Koreans.  It is as if they didn’t even notice us.  My dear friend Diane immediately called it out and said it is as if the people in Pohang are a lot more progressive than their counterparts in Daegu.  How is this even possible.  Daegu is the third largest city in this bustling country and even claims to be the fashion capital of Korea.  Daegu is a very conservative city and I have come to the conclusion that many of the Daegunites cling on to an ‘old Korea’.  Like the pan-Africanists would say Korea for the Koreans!  I realize that it is completely different to live in a city as opposed to just visiting it, especially just for a weekend, but this weekend away made me experience a sence of liberation that I have not yet felt in Korea.  The people are super friendly and kind.  They help us without scurrying away when they notice the Waygooks.  The amount of english speaking Koreans was astounding, especially considering the size of Pohang compared to Daegu.  All in all it was wonderful.

The friendly vibe and the 15 inches of snow made for a awesome weekend.  We walked on a beach with snow.  Truly a rare sight and one I will not forget very soon!  Even though my Korea clock is ticking super fast now there is still so much I want to see and experience.  Pohang was a great and fresh way to start of this new year and a great memory to add to my Korea chapter.

 

That’s all for now, cheers from Kimchiland!

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