Korea, Urban Walking
Comments 14

One More Spin around the Sun, One More Stroll into the Dawn

The thrill had gone. I just wasn’t feeling it. Seemed the joy of strutting out into the Sunday dark at 4:30am had worn off.

Maybe it was the rain. Or maybe these rice-paddy rambles were just getting old. Maybe was — it was my birthday after all. Well, I was up, and moving, sort of. Might as well keep on going now.


Birthday Weather

I shuffled along the silent roads, Yulha-bound. I needed to vary my routine. These pre-dawn strolls weren’t as magical anymore. I was stuck in a groove of overuse; I could just about see my tracks in the concrete. Another year come and gone, and here I was again, walking into the same old sunrise. ‘Cept there wouldn’t be much of a sunrise today.

Maybe I just needed a real coffee. The iced version when I woke had barely registered.

There was a chilling, piercing cry to my left. And again, and again. I stopped, couldn’t see anything. Cat? Bird? Insect? Looked down, into the deep, broad, deathtrap-drain. A tiny kitten, sodden, trapped, bawling pathetically. I bent down; it darted along the drain into the dark. Better the devil you now, I guess. Korea is crawling with feral strays. We sit here stranded, though we’re all doing our best to deny it. 

I got to the paddies and a murky imitation of dawn, rain pattering on my umbrella. Took my first shot…


..and started to feel a little better.

My mood improved with the light and the challenge of taking pictures in the dreary conditions. But the dragonflies I’d hoped to stalk after a rewarding session the previous weekend were hiding out somewhere safe and dry. Sensible.

I headed up towards the little village below Roadworks Ridge…


A Splash of Colour


..and sat down in a bus shelter to eat some breakfast.

Amazing to me that this decaying hamlet warranted a bus route. And there were several buses a day — I’d leapt into the ditch many times to dodge them.

Gimhae’s freakish mascot, a turtle with ears, welcomed me with his usual good cheer. I hate that happy little fucker.


At least the views were uplifting:


Trashed on My Birthday Again

My birthday breakfast — bakery produce, another cold coffee — helped, as did a few texts with Kate. Having a great time, babe. Wish you were here.

Back in the rain, my first and only dragonfly…


All Flights Grounded

..and I stopped in at a tiny graveyard in the shadow of the massive new embankment where the new highway is taking form.

A wet cat sprang from its shelter beneath a grave marker, dived into the undergrowth. Hard to say who got more of a shock.



I passed the DO NOT ENTER signs and climbed onto the evolving overpass. Even the workers were staying in, though across the valley the KNOCK…KNOCK…KNOCK of the insomniac pile-driver had commenced again.

I perked up as a new mission formed: Let’s walk the deserted highway. But voices. Half a mile ahead, two men talking under umbrellas.




Misty Mts Perky & Pert in the Distance


The Graveyard, Encircled

So down I went again, and soon enough, sure enough, the trucks were back, droning along the new ridge towards the action.

The rain had just about quit. I walked the deserted lanes, scanning the bushes for diversion. Just me and the little critters.


I Know the Feeling



Returned to the village, running out of inspiration.


Greenhouse Grapes


Morning Gardening


Backyard Bounty


Roadside Lettuce

My original plan had been to walk till my preferred local cafe opened at 11:00, enjoy a birthday waffle orgy. But that was hours away; I couldn’t stop thinking about sleep in my nice dry apartment.

Home was a long 45 minutes away, but there were some rewards en route:



Portrait of the Artist Reflected in a Beetle’s Back



Love to Know What They Were Talking About

Back indoors, I slept for three delicious hours. Woke hungry, feeling a lot better, and decided to go see my dogs before my birthday date with four waffles, three scoops of gelato, whipped cream, slivered almonds, sliced kiwi, bananas and tinned peaches and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Yes, I’ve had that breakfast before, more than once, but a birthday gives it some guilt-free legitimacy!

Roadside colour on the way up to my poor imprisoned pals:



Korea loves these deep, open drains

My best friends in Korea, sorry to say. I’ve been feeding them or at least tossing them bones most days, and Katie 2, at least, seems to be looking better:


Katie 1 is still a skinny, sad-eyed thing, but always affectionate, starved for attention as well as real food. I’d show you her picture but it would only bring you down (and you’re probably down far enough after this post).

Instead, here’s Katie 2, overcome with emotion as I informed her of the significance of the day:


“Your birthday? No shit.”

The waffles were great, and I sat there editing pictures till my laptop battery died a couple of hours later. Then I hauled out some more technology, watched some rockin’ You Tube clips and skyped with Kate awhile. And that was my birthday — except for the beer (I’ve resumed dabbling on special occasions and awful workdays) and music when I got home.

I finished the day oddly calm and purposeful, ready for another spin.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. Looks as though you could have rolled a birthday spliff out of that plant the beetle was on! Happy birthday Goatus!

  2. Happy Oddly Calm And Purposeful Birthday!

    Splendid green background for the rainy day pictures. I noticed the character for “the way,” “the path,” “the road,” on the flat surface on the back of the carved turtle. I’m starting to recognize characters because I have Red Pine’s translation of the taoteching with characters next to the translation. Still haven’t been able to figure out what the Z-shaped character is. I see it all the time.

    Especially liked the first two photos and the way the colors are so vivid in the rainy light of the other photos.

    My blog has a new URL: talking37thdream.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Am, and sorry for the late reply. I just got back from a last-minute three-day trip to Seoul, during which I was mercifully divorced from anything blog-related. Well spotted with the Chinese character.

      Seoul was great fun — if you like long pointless rambles along river banks. Luckily I do! Very hot, but I had a blast, and will be working on the photos after work today.

  3. One of my kids has lost a right foot croc. Please dye croc in picture three blue and forward to me.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday again

    • On your salary? Someone runs a crappy household budget. Not sure which foot that was but I’m sure it’ll still be there next weekend — in fact, its partner may well have joined it!

  4. It’s good to see you’re sounding suicidal again. The ‘jumping out of the skin happy goat’ is a hard act to pull off!

    You did get some photos though whilst out in the rain. Was the umbrella in use? You’ll be proud of me, as I’m now the owner of my first umbrella. Yes, I’m aware 49 could be classified as a late starter to umbrella usage! Wet ground can make for great photos regarding reflections, but I guess your grey skies killed that idea. At night it works, but then again, you’d know I’d say that!

    • I currently pack a heavier, bigger but sturdier ‘brella — like sunglasses, I go through them depressingly fast. I do appreciate its broader coverage though it’s a bit tiring lugging it when it’s wet all day. I’ve seldom used a rain jacket in Korea except when hiking in snow on Jeju Island.

      I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I sometimes pull out a shower cap to give a little extra protection to my NEX. Not much call for shower caps when yr bald, but they’re a nice little souvenir in a lot of love hotels and they fit handsomely over a small camera!

  5. Great images! The sequence even lends itself to feeling more awake with each image. I feel like I am there walking with you.

    • Thanks, Mike! I was slow getting going that morning, and a little grumpy and glum for a while. I always have mixed feelings on birthdays — it’s probably for the best that I was walking alone!

      Just got back form a few days in Seoul, lots of walking along creek and river banks. Hot and bright and not exactly ideal photo conditions, but I had a great time and have just started pruning down and tidying up 450-off pictures…

  6. Man, I hate that I’m finding these gems so many months later. I really dig your posts, even the dreary ones and especially the photo cutline info. Too funny. All the best Goat.

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