A Waegukin's love for the Han River

Monday, 5 January 2015

외국인 ~ Waegukin = Foreigner i.e Not Korean.

I guess as any travel worm will tell you, there's a bucket list tucked away somewhere waiting to be explored and ticked off!!

And every Korean enthusiast has a special list of things they dream of doing once they finally make the trip to Korea. Now this list of course has a sub-section of things they want to do that they have seen on TV. One of the things on my list is a visit to the 한강 ~ Hangang River. At first I didn't pay much attention to the Han River, but after seeing it in so many dramas I started wondering as to what the significance and in some cases charm of it was. 

You see in quite a number of K-Dramas especially ones where the storyline has a character with serious life problems, you find such character going to this river to vent out their frustrations, bawl their eyes out and in some extreme cases contemplate or threaten suicide! 

I also attended a talk on the history of the Korean war early last year where it was mentioned how this bridge was destroyed in order to slow down the approach of the North Korean troops during the war. This story peaked my interest and upon further study — there's a lot of literature online about this river which is definitely worth a read  I learned its significance throughout history and how in the present day it in a way is a sense of pride to Koreans.

After all the negativity surrounding the river in my mind, I found a video made by the Language teachers of TTMIK   the first time I learnt positive things about The Han River   where they talked about all the fun activities you could do there such as the Han Cruise, visiting one of the 12 parks for picnics and so on. This painted a whole new picture of the river for me. Of course the more research I did I came to realise that a lot of scenes I have seen in K-Dramas like bike riding and picnics in the park were actually at the Han River but at the time I had no idea. An example is the paddle boats in the picture above. I'm glad my curiosity made me realize all that.

Last spring I wrote a spoken word poem about my love for 'The Land of Morning Calm' aka Korea, and at the time it was cherry blossom season. Whilst researching for my poem I found out about the Yeoiudo Cherry blossom festival at Yeoiudo park, one of the 12 parks of the Han River. Yeoiudo is also home to 2 broadcasting stations that gives us our beloved dramas! More reasons to love the Han River :)

Image Source: Changwon City Website. Cherry Blossoms in Changwon Korea.

With 12 parks surrounding this river, I view it as the symbolic park in Korea like Central Park in New York and Hyde park in London. And just like the activities you do in those parks you could also do it in the Hangang Parks and more. I am most looking forward to the Banpo Bridge rainbow fountain display which apparently is the world's largest bridge fountain show! The first time I saw a fountain dance was in Dubai and it was such a memorable experience that I want to see what the World's largest fountain display looks like.

Banpo Fountain Bridge

Also I heard in Korea, food can be delivered to you anywhere you are. Even McDonalds. I'm going to try this out, so one of my wishes is to order Chicken and Gimbap and ddeokbokki for a picnic at the river. How delightful it will be. And thanks to my WKB's fellow bloggers I got to learn more things I could do at the Han river such as Biking Along the Han River  , Cruisin’ the Han River and hopefully see Cherry blossoms at the Hangang Yeouido Spring Flower Festival! There are also a lot of monuments and tourist attractions in the area that I'm looking forward to exploring.

So in the end, dear Han river, you have seen many tears, shared sorrows, been an audience to lovers, families and a lot of tourists. However we have never met! Right now my vision of the Han River is somewhat like the picture below but day after day I hope for the time when I see it in person with a clearer image.


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