Two weekends ago, I finally got the chance to go back to Gwangju to visit. It was a great time catching up with Isaiah and Wooyeon on what had been going on in our lives over the last three months. We’ve all been pretty busy with work. Isaiah had just finished teaching Saturday classes, it seemed like a good time to check in with Gwangju and the Jeollanam-do reason. I board an early morning KTX from Yongsan to Gwangju, arriving at Gwangju station promptly at 10am. From there we just hit the ground running. Isaiah took me to an area we hadn’t done a lot of exploring before, Jisan-dong. There was plenty to see. Two separate apartment complexes across from each other. The apartments we went into were pretty spacy, and at one time long ago, were highly desirable.
There were workers on sight at the second complex, but we had no trouble checking out this first complex, composing of three brick buildings. We did have to wait for a bit as they were getting ready to haul out some dirt. It was at this point, we decided to check out an eye-catching abandonment located in a secluded corner, off a beaten path where nature had been taken over for a while. It would be ideal for checking this building next as we waited for the workers to accomplish their tasks. So we traversed the White Tarp Path.
Halfway up a slight slope, we find a greenhouse reclaimed by nature. Through the untamed brush, we could perceive hanja (Chinese) characters affixed to the front. We come across another disused greenhouse in front of the gate. Whoever worked and/or resided here loved tending to plants. Isaiah and I shimmied our way around and came upon this. I recognize “kwan” as one of the characters, but don’t know the other two. To our left were people’s living quarters and to our right was the tool shed and the bathrooms. Inside, it was barren, but there was a nook in the middle, that reminded me of an altar. Could this have been a place of worship? Curiosity sated, we stalked over to the second complex. This was a more significant grouping of buildings with two entrances. There were at least 10 buildings that composed the complex. While workers were demolishing buildings on one end, we found access on the farther side. Climbing over a scrapheap mountain to see that most of the buildings were empty. This was the highlight of that complex. We found a soundproofed community center in the basement.
It was hot, so we took a break from exploring and went back to Isaiah and Wooyeon’s place. Isaiah had some school-related work to do. I caught up with Wooyeon. A few hours later, we went out for naengmyeon at a newish eatery. Months ago it was bustling with people, when we arrived it was quiet, slow enough for the waiters to sit and chill. The restaurant served significant portions, it was delicious and filling. We decided to walk it off exploring dying Yangdong area. The demolishing has been slow, but noticeable. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is now gone. However, Grandma’s House still stands. I didn’t bring enough film for the walk, so all these photos from this section are from my iPhone. A great day! The next day would be even better as we made a return to an abandoned university further in the south. This time I brought enough film to shoot the entire campus, but I’ll save that for another day. What a wonderful weekend, I look forward to going back very soon.