Travels With Coetzer : March 26, 2017

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I might have mentioned this in previous Coetzer posts, but when you prepare for a trip with the guy, be ready to keep up with his pace. It’s going to be an all-day affair, with minimal breaks spliced in between to make sure we accomplish Coetzer’s internal checklist. As the late afternoon transitions into the evening, Coetzer is still determined to show you everything he has found in the area. I appreciate the guy’s energy, but even an enthusiastic explorer like myself needs to call it a night.

I will do my best to recall the events as clearly as possible. Memory is imperfect and time obscures the possibilities a bit more each day. I’ll try to keep these pictures in chronological order as much as I can remember. With Coetzer’s pace and expertise, we did cover a lot of ground and saw many abandonments in Gapyeong-gun. Today, I present the highlights from that day.

Stepping out from the station, Coetzer immediately took me to a cluster of abandoned hanoks. All of them were pretty old. One particular home stood out with its left behind Buddhist memorabilia. Perhaps it was a small meditation center for a monk or sanctuary for a devout layperson. 

Buddha Bookmarks.
Buddha Mind Stones.
A giant painting of Kwan Seum Bosal.

Another highlight of the walk was the trek across the old, unused train bridge though it was kind of harrowing. Am I glad that I did it? Yes, it provided a great view of the area. I did feel the surge of adrenaline after reaching the other side. Would I do it again? No, once is enough for me.

After reaching terra firma, Coetzer brought me to the abandoned Yellow Land Sauna, which had been out of business for years. It’s in a prime location, situated along the Han River. The only inhabitant of the place is a mummified dog. If only we could measure time by layers of dust.

The Men’s Bath.
I was beginning to take note of bujeok around this time.
One of the saunas.
Coetzer means business.

Later on the day, we took a short bus ride to a place, in my opinion, that didn’t have any distinguishing characteristics. It was a tiny valley with small farming tracts sandwiched by unremarkable hills. However, it did have two abandoned love hotels and a restaurant Coetzer wanted me to see.

Hotel #1 was easy to access, but didn’t have much to see.
The standard set up in Hotel #1.
The interior design of the noraebang SCREAMS at you, demanding you to have a good time.
HAVE FUN!!!!!! DRINK AND BE MERRY!!!!!

While Hotel #1 took less effort to get in and rooms were already open for us to see, we couldn’t find the keys to any of the chambers in Hotel #2, plus the entrance into the second hotel took a lot of effort with little in return. The lobby provided plenty of visual stimulation, though.

Hotel #2’s way of setting the mood for guests.

While Hotel #1 took less effort to get in and rooms were already open for us to see, we couldn’t find the keys to any of the chambers in Hotel #2, plus the entrance into the second hotel took a lot of effort with little in return. The lobby provided plenty of visual stimulation, though.

Security measures to prevent entry.

I have plenty of pictures for future Travels With Coetzer (TM) posts, but I shall return to posting about my current activities. Things are starting to pick up in one particular neighborhood in Seoul that I want to report back to you, dear reader.

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