Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pohang Steelers

POSCO, the second, or maybe it's the third, largest steel producer in the world is located here. It's hard to miss, as it consumes a large swath of land and bellows smoke and burning flames at night. They also own the appropriately named Steelers, Pohang's soccer team, who play in the K-League, Korea's major soccer league. I finally managed to make it to a game a couple of weeks ago, and the atmosphere was electric. Okay, not quite electric. A shade more electric then the atmosphere at a soccer game in Uzbekistan - and without the overbearing eyes of a massive state police force looking on - but rather pale in comparison to South American action. So rather then spending all of your money to come and experience the spectacle yourself, I present the full grandeur of it here.

The opposing Daegu fans. Corralled into one small corner of the stadium.

The vocal Pohang superfans, on the other side.

And the game in action.

Final score - Pohang 0, Daegu 0, Att: 2,088

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Buddha's Birthday

A day of decent weather and a national holiday allowed me to escape to Gyeongju, the ancient capital of the Silla dynasty. Kind of like the Kyoto of Korea, but not quite as nice. There are a lot of sites in and around town, and I managed to make it to a couple of them. Fortunately, it's pretty close to Pohang, so I'll be able to return relativelt easily. Sadly though, I did not receive any presents on Buddha's Birthday (Number 2550, for those keeping track). Neither did I see any fat men dressed up in costumes, nor dead molting trees. Although they hung up a lot of paper lanterns.

First up are the burial mounds. They're about 1500 years old, and contain the tombs of the ancient leaders. This double mound holds a king and queen.

Next is Anapji Pond, which was the site of a palace back in the 7th century. These buildings are of course reconstructions. The original structure was much more expansive.

A crowd gathers at Bulguksa Temple to watch Korean women, dressed in traditional Korean clothes, sing American pop songs.

Paper lanterns fill the air.