I thought I’d give you a little bit of a tour of my neighbourhood! I live in a part of Ulsan called Taehwa-dong. It’s a funny little lump of land that sticks out into the Taehwa River. It’s easy to find on a map because it looks like a smile. 🙂
The Taehwa River runs out of the mountains, right through Ulsan city and out into the Sea of Japan (or as the Koreans call it, the East Sea).
Taehwa-dong and the Bamboo Forest, thanks to the Ulsan City website, http://english.ulsan.go.kr
According to Wikipedia, Ulsan is the seventh largest city in Korea, and (I have been corrected a great number of times) is pronounced “ool-san”. It is considered the industrial heartland of Korea and is home to the world’s largest automobile assembly plant (Hyundai), the world’s largest shipyard (Hyundai Heavy Industries), the world’s largest oil refinery (SK Oil), a number of chemical plants, and a variety of other smaller industries. It used to be considered one of the dirtiest cities but over the past few years, a lot of work has been done to clean it up. Not having seen it before I can’t comment but Ulsan certainly is MUCH cleaner than I expected it to be.
I suspect I live in one of the poorer parts of town. There are very few of the domino-like high rises so common in Korea. Most buildings are 5 or 6 stories tall and the great majority of them have shops and small businesses on the ground floor.
To get to my house, you have to go past the whale restaurant (I am undecided how I feel about this. It has been part of their culture for centuries but really? Whale? Sad.)
Then turn right at the totally tacky light-up palm tree.
Go straight until you get to the intersection with the public bath house.
The smoke stack is a bit creepy and at first I thought I had moved in next to a crematorium.
Across from the bath house is a Mexican Chicken restaurant that is hugely popular with the high school crowd. I have yet to figure out what the chicken has to do with Mexico.
Next to the Mexican Chicken restaurant is a double-polled barber shop. I have heard from several reliable sources that the double pole is an indicator of the barber shop’s disreputable nature. Apparently you can get a shave and a haircut with a happy ending, if you catch my drift (wink wink, nudge nudge.)
Despite nearly giving myself whiplash every time I walk by, I have yet to witness anything of a less than salubrious nature. Rather disappointing actually. 🙂 That curtain that hangs in the open doorway is highly suspicious though…
A bit further down the street is the Sehwa Mart where I do a lot of my shopping. I have no idea what is under all that blue tarp. I’ve never seen it uncovered!
My apartment building is right next to the bath house. In the summer when my windows and the bath house windows are open, I can hear everyone bathing. It’s like having a water feature in my apartment; very feng shui.
Here’s someone moving, Korean-style.
Down the street from me is the wonderfully amazing Taehwa Grand Park.
You can run for miles along the river…
… or run through the Bamboo Forest.
Or you can work out at the free outdoor gym!
There are giant hula hoops and all sorts of mysterious machines! Clearly I’m a little larger than the average Korean!
Anyone want to come visit? 😀