Sunday, May 18, 2008

The bridge to somewhere

The village Abai Maul* is perched on the tiny strip of land that separates the ocean from Lake Chungcho -if the strip of land weren't there, Chungcho would be a bay rather than a salt lake.

The lake is harbour for small and medium sized fishing boats and the like and is accessible by a canal pinched between Abai Maul and Sokcho proper. For some time, the canal could be crossed by foot traffic by a human powered ferry (갯배 in Korean). It is a locally famous tourist site.

Before I arrived in Sokcho, a beautiful red bridge was built terminating in Abai Maul. Strangely, one does not need the bridge as the land is continuous on that side. It is an unnecessary bridge that ends at the end of a penninsula - a bridge to nowhere.
Now, work is underway to extend the bridge over the canal. I am not sure why Sokcho needs a big bridge or multi-lane road there, but soon they will have one. The bridge will finally go somewhere. The original bridge to nowhere was not a crazy idea. Lake Chungcho, communicating with the ocean only through a small canal was filling up with pollution. Eventually, the plan is to dig a second canal under the bridge so that water could flow in through one canal and out the other, cleaning the lake (and further polluting the ocean and local beaches.)

In other construction news, for the four years I have lived in Sokcho, the building behind our apartment, 'Sporium', has been closed. It will soon re-open as Fantasia and will be a spa and health club and possibly a jimjilbang - a dry sauna and open sleeping area for budget travellers.

*Abai Maul may have an interesting history. After living in the area for a few years, a fellow English teacher from the West Coast told me that it was founded by displaced people from North Korea.

No comments: