April 13, 2012
Ok, first thing’s first: I HATE writing Cheonggyecheon 청계천 in English. Good googly goo! I never remember how to pronounce it. Catch me off guard and I’ll call it the Chunkychung…chunkybum…chuckycheese…Then I remember there’s a double g after the n. Ah! Not complaining that Korea did a bad job of naming it, just saying that the romanization is such a mind-warp. Let’s go for CC River for short.
So historically the CC River has a bit of a dramatic back story. In a nutshell, it was a real river, that turned into a kind of refugee area for people after the Korean War, with makeshift homes and everything. But – and here is where the drama comes in – the Korean government thought the area was an eyesore for the city, so they kicked out all the people, filled in the river with cement and turned the area into a highway. Fast forward to 2003, the major of Seoul decides to bring the river back, so they demolish the highways and start this massive project, including the task of getting water from the Han River into the now totally dead and dry CC River. By 2005 the project was complete! HURRAH! The CC River! Wow. Remind me to never talk about history again. History lessons do not suit us.
It’s difficult to really explain how cool this river actually feels to visit, because you need to feel the city bustling around you as you slowly descend into this little tranquil area. You’ll be staring at the river, and then you look up and there is a huge skyscraper glowing from the sunset reflecting off it’s glassy blue panels. The often have art installation pieces that change up every six months so even if you’re used to the area, you can always drop by and see what’s new in the art world. This time there was a kind of laser light show beaming onto the walls with computerized versions of plants growing from the ground and bouncing brightly off the brick walls. It was a really cool edition.
Make sure you drop by this river if you’re visting Seoul or if you live in Korea, it’s something special, and if you do, I suggest you take the subway route we suggested in our video, because the CC River actually flows through the city so there are many exits you can take to see it, but it could be a really plain part of the river without any of the special art exhibits or specially carved rockbed. Oh and one last thing, head there while the sun it up but just starting to set so you can see it at both times of day!
As for the video itself, we felt a bit silly, because everyone there was all romantic and lovey dovey, while we’re building mega straws and drinking water as fast as we can. LAME. And, on that note of lameness, on to our bloopers!