Trip to Gohan, Part I

A couple of weeks ago I took a short trip to the town of Gohan up in the mountains. I mostly just went for a break but I also wanted to practise some documentary photography. THIS is GOHAN LIFE. Something like that. But that was a mistake. I’m not good at that sort of photography and all I came back with were about 500 snapshots that show a slightly grubby town. The next time I take a trip, I’m going to bring a tripod and do the kind of slow and static photography I’m better at. That said, here are some of the photos I took. They might be of interest to someone who has never been to a small Korean town. There are just over 72 photos so I will post in three or four parts.

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It pissed out of the heavens on the morning I left. I bought a ticket for the first class car with its longer windows and nicer seats.

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The Jeongdongjin train station is right on the beach and many families and young couples come to see the sunrise. But no luck that morning.

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A Korail employee watching the train leave the station.

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Two young women get off the train in Donghae.

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A pedestrian rail crossing on the outskirts of Donghae.

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Houses near the train tracks are usually run-down, so I was surprised to see this well-kept traditional Korean house very close to the line.

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Entering a tunnel.

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Inside a tunnel.

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Exiting a tunnel. The train to Gohan passes through many tunnels, and some of them are kilometres long.

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This is not a very good photo, but you can see some of Gangwon Province’s landscape. The hills, the flat farmland, and the river. The houses in the background are in an excellent spot, according to feng-shui. The house faces south with hills behind it and has running water in front of it.

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A train speeds past mine in the opposite direction.

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My train passed through the City of Taebaek.

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Sometimes you are driving through the countryside when suddenly you come upon tall apartment buildings that seem out of place, like alien artifacts dropped into the landscape.

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I stood by the exit as the train pulled into Gohan station. This fellow waiting for a train seems aggressive in his stance.

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Is this man rapping or ranting? In either case, he looks like someone to stay away from.

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This town square, or triangle, is across from the train station. It was usually taken over by smokers while I was there, despite it being a public space. The sign says, “This place is 700m above sea level.”

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There was a lot of road construction in the town this summer. On the hill are apartments for employees of a resort.

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An old-fashioned suit shop. I like the plants in the display window.

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Satellite TV dish on a small house. Many people in Korea can’t be bothered to paint concrete walls, making many neighbourhoods quite depressing. It looks like the third world existing in the cracks between the shiny department stores and apartment skyscrapers.

 

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