Thursday, April 14, 2011

We got the van at a used car lot. We think it says Alleluia Church of Scranton in Korean

Wednesday morning I went with Brianna into Songdo which is the new central business district being built in Incheon. I've only been there once and just for dinner so it was interesting to check it out during the daytime and see how the construction is coming along.
Currently the area is pretty quiet- a handful of buildings sticking up here and there, traffic light enough that you can run across the street during the "Don't Walk" signal (something I wouldn't advise doing anywhere else in Korea), a good number of people out and about but not crowded by any means, etc. Here is what the vision for Songdo is, according to its website:
Songdo IBD (International Business District) boasts the wide boulevards of Paris, a 100-acre Central Park reminiscent of New York City, a system of pocket parks similar to those in Savannah, a modern canal system inspired by Venice and convention center architecture redolent of the famed Sydney Opera House. The cultural fabric of Songdo IBD will also be a rich one with a stunning opera house, concert hall, museum and aquarium. A Jack Nicklaus championship golf course - one of only 25 in the world - is under construction with plans already in the works for high-profile events, including a PGA Championship Tour event.
The plan is to have the area complete by 2015 though I expect that they'll want to have as much as possible done by 2014 when Incheon is hosting the next Asian Games. So Songdo is filling in slowly but surely. People are moving in, buildings are going up, and restaurants and stores are starting to open bit by bit.
(Songdo Convensia Convention Center)
The Central Park is nice. They did a good job planning lots of open spaces in Songdo and the park is located right across from the convention center. A canal runs through it and you can take little boat tours so we bought tickets and then wandered through the park while we waited. And along the way we came across this:
Yeah, so, back story time. Apparently at some point last year they set up this big thing in Central Park called The Bible Expo. But then along came a crazy typhoon at the end of the summer and did a number on it. They stood up some of the pieces that had fallen over and everything but now, a few seasons later, it's still standing and... well I'd say looking pretty worse for the wear but I'm not sure it was ever really in such great shape to begin with.
 (There's luckdragons in the bible?)
 Dedicated to those who did not make it through the typhoon parting of the Red Sea.
Random Santa Village

After a turn around the park we still had about an hour to kill before our boat ride so we grabbed some lunch at Res2Go, a teriyaki house with great food and great service. I definitely recommend it if you're in the area. Then we came back for our boat ride down the canal which lasted approximately 25 minutes. It's a wee canal.
Look at how huge that ark is that they built! I thought it was a building at first.
친차?! Really?!
I feel like this picture pretty much sums up Songdo as it stands right now...
 The Northeast Asia Trade Tower.
So yep, that's Songdo, or at least what's there so far. A few streets over from the convention center and central park there were more stores and coffee shops and the traffic was slightly heavier. It'll be interesting to watch as it gets busier though and hopefully while I'm here some more good shopping places will open up. Maybe I can use the Asian Games as an excuse to come back in 2014 and see how things have progressed!

Trivia of the Day: Dancheong (단청) refers to Korean traditional decorative coloring on wooden buildings and artifacts for the purpose of style. It literally means "cinnabar and blue-green" in Korean. It is based on five basic colors; blue (east), white (west), red (south), black (north), and yellow (center). Dancheong has various symbolic meanings. Dancheong also represented social status and rank by using various patterns and colors. It functions not only as decoration, but also for practical purposes such as to protect building surfaces against temperature and to make the crudeness of materials less conspicuous. Applying Dancheong on the surfaces of buildings require trained skills, and artisans called dancheongjang (단청장) designed the painted patterns.

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