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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Art and Sand, but no SandArt (Day 239)

A day of Art and Sand in Pohang, but no SandArt, which Tim is well-known for creating, and what a day.

A late start, due to an interrupted sleep – ah such a shame England lost – a good game, and they did us proud.

As we were leaving, we said “Annyeonghaseyo” to a young man following us and it turned out to be Kay, who manages the Apartments and is our Airbnb Host. What a lovely man. We stood chatting for some time and I mentioned about drying our clothes. Immediately he said he would get a clothes horse for us. Humble pie for me. All I needed to do was ask. I might give him a few other suggestions to improve the place before we go. He seems very receptive.

Off we went to the bus stop. Even with our few Korean words, it’s so nice to connect with people. A lady was also waiting for the bus and she signed that she was hot. Tim looked up google translate. “Tteugeoun,” he said. She laughed and I got my book out of my bag and fanned her down. Little moments like that are wonderful, connecting with strangers. Tim read an article once about some research on longevity and one of the top suggestions was to connect with strangers each day.

Our bus came, another mad driver and 20 minutes later we were at our destination. We had come to Hwanho Haema-ji Park to the Steel Art Museum and as we entered we were greeted by the sight of the most beautiful Stag made of steel. It really was a “Wow” moment.

More art installations were placed around the grounds; it was hot though, 34 degrees, so we popped into the 포항시립미술관(Pohang Museum of Steel Art) to cool down. Hurrah! It is open! It seems that in South Korea, the Art Museums only have one or two exhibitions on at one time, so can be often closed between setting the new exhibitions up.

The exhibition was the 100th Anniversary of CHANG Dookun (1918 – 2015), an artist who originated from Pohang. His work is beautiful, calm, wonderful colours, a balance between being intricate and quite simple at the same time – such talent. I found it fascinating that he would have themes and then paint a number of paintings of the same theme and style. He obviously liked roses as he painted three huge canvases absolutely covered with them (Charron, this reminded us of you). And interestingly, they were painted in three consecutive years. Looking at the dates of the paintings exhibited, many large pieces were from the early 2000s when he was in his 80s! How inspiring is that!

Flowers, landscapes, people, birds – all beautiful. We were both intrigued to know more about this artist’s life, sadly not much was in English. We did find out that he studied briefly at Tokyo Pacific Art School and dropped out when he was in his 20s and then studied and graduated from Law School in Tokyo in 1946, becoming an instructor at a University for 11 years. He moved to Paris and studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and that was the start of his career as an Artist. He returned to Korea around 1960 to continue his passion in the arts.

We had such a laugh with a couple of the Art Attendants. We were trying to say “Hullyunghan” but they hadn’t a clue what we were saying. One said “Sorry, no English” Haha, she thought I was speaking in English! It is amazing what can be communicated with a little bit of acting and humour. She managed to understand that we were English, watched the football at 3am and our team lost! And we now know how to say “Hullyunghan” correctly (you stick your tongue out a bit at the end!)

We wandered outside, the air was still hot with a slight cool breeze from the sea and walked along the promenade away from the city. The tide was in and we could see fish darting about. A lady, fully clothed was in the water to her knees, probably searching for shellfish for a free dinner.

Occasionally, we stopped to chat with a passerby. Just by saying “Annyeonghaseyo” opens up the dialogue and if they know English, they often want to practice. It really is a delight.

We returned towards the city a different way, I do like variety, and came to Yeong-il-dae Beach with neon lights, music blaring, young men showing off their wheelie skills and many young ladies perfecting the art of Selfies. The sun was setting and the sky turned from blue to fiery red. We kept stopping to take photos, trying to get that one great shot.

I researched and found a well-reviewed restaurant for dinner. 256 reviews with a rating of 4 seemed pretty good. We arrived at 8pm, a traditional Korean restaurant, shoes off, sitting on the floor. It’s not getting any easier – we need to do more core exercises. The menu in Korean and no pictures were given to us. We managed to gesticulate that we wanted to eat fish and hadn’t a clue what would turn up. That’s one of the great things about travelling – the anticipation of “what next” and it does help not being too fussy with food.

A bowl of raw fish, julienne of vegetables and spicy sauce arrived for us each and the waitress added 4 ice cubes to our meal and then stirred rapidly. The usual side dishes and rice were placed on the table as was a steaming hot bowl of spicy water with fish bones and tofu. The Hoe-deopbap (Raw fish bibimbap) was delicious. The owner of the restaurant kept checking that we were ok. She was quite a character, After saying farewell we walked out to see two chefs collecting a live fish from one of the tanks outside – realising that our raw fish couldn’t have been any fresher. They also waved goodbye to us. Such a friendly lot, no wonder this place has great reviews.

A mad bus drive home from another wonderful day of art, sand, but no art-sand from Tim – well, apart from Day 239.

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