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Newer Page 521 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Korea Gwangju Rain Uprising

18 March 2015

Rain panic

The 5.18 Memorial Park of Gwangju

No mountain, raining.
It better stop tomorrow, forecast says it will, cause theres a mountain nearby with my name on it, and I am raring to go.

Instead I went to look for the 5.18 memorial. 5.18 also known is the Gwangju uprising, was in 1980, and involved the South Korean dictatorship, at the behest of the United States government, killing off a heap of students protesting in Gwangju after a General had seized power preventing democracy.
The Americans didnt want democracy, because they would be thrown out. So they sent in the Korean special forces. This all came after the previous puppet was assassinated, after 18 years of power, by the CIA.
Yes, true facts.
The result of this incident was a lot of American cultural centres were subsequently burnt down across the country, and in true Asian fashion, students committed suicide by pouring petrol on themselves and setting themselves on fire in crowded places whilst screaming insults about Ronald Reagan.

The net result was the South Korean army killed somewhere between 606 and 2000 people, mainly students.
The park that is a memorial for this is very nice, and in the centre of town. I thought there was a museum, with photos of dead students, but I couldnt find it despite walking a full lap in the rain. The monuments were quite nice though.

So it did stop raining briefly, and I started to make other plans, but then the real rain started, and I got soaked. Korean rain panic is similar to that of Japanese. You would think rain is sulphuric acid.
The look of horror on peoples faces as they look out of shop windows into the street and realise that they might get a few drops of rain on them surely matches that of the piles of dead students from 1980.

The look of horror on shopkeepers faces when I wandered in, slightly damp, and at least one person telling me off or suggesting I was an idiot (in Korean so I have no idea) meant that it was probably a good idea to get lunch from a bakery and eat it in my hotel.
The bakery people seemed less than thrilled that I entered their store whilst it was raining. They had no other customers, but I detected a high degree of FILTHY BIG NOSED DOG IS IN OUR STORE WITH WET BOOTS.

Update: this afternoon I was doing some reading on the CIA and USA involvement in the Gwangju massacre thing, it seems theres some letters from the US ambassador at the time which recently became unclassified. I tried to open those, heres where I got redirected to -


So now I am waiting for the National police agency to knock down my hotel room door. Better put on some pants, they probably come with a live tv crew.

Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - One of many small temples in the park.

One of many small temples in the park.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - This emart is where I sheltered from the rain, and almost bought some really fancy mountaineering technology pants from Korean brand RED FACE. Only th

This emart is where I sheltered from the rain, and almost bought some really fancy mountaineering technology pants from Korean brand RED FACE.
Only they wouldnt let me try them on. Other people were trying stuff on. So what if I was slightly damp. No sale.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - This is the main monument, I assumed there would be a museum, there wasnt, but you can go under here to a small cave.

This is the main monument, I assumed there would be a museum, there wasnt, but you can go under here to a small cave.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - And in that small cave, is a list of the names of people who died campaigning for democracy that America didnt want them to have. Really, this is not

And in that small cave, is a list of the names of people who died campaigning for democracy that America didnt want them to have. Really, this is not made up.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - Yellow blossoms.

Yellow blossoms.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - Pagoda, obviously I had to go to the top.

Pagoda, obviously I had to go to the top.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - I am assuming my mountain is somewhere going up through the clouds on the horizon of this photo.

I am assuming my mountain is somewhere going up through the clouds on the horizon of this photo.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - And here is the downtown region, with all the ridiculous hotels, with their lights off. In the day they look like cheap Chinese low cost temporary meg

And here is the downtown region, with all the ridiculous hotels, with their lights off. In the day they look like cheap Chinese low cost temporary mega city ghost town concrete blocks.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - I thought this might be the museum, no, art gallery.

I thought this might be the museum, no, art gallery.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - It started raining so I went to another store. These are air purifiers. They are 6 feet tall and cost $3500 AUD. Cool.

It started raining so I went to another store. These are air purifiers. They are 6 feet tall and cost $3500 AUD. Cool.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! A porsche racing lego set.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! A porsche racing lego set.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - Now properly wet, I thought I might as well climb up this overpass and photograph the rain. People under shelter watched on in disbelief. They thought

Now properly wet, I thought I might as well climb up this overpass and photograph the rain. People under shelter watched on in disbelief. They thought I was going to jump.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - And now, a photograph of my toilet. You might notice that it has a white light in it. Theres no way to turn this off. It is a permanent beacon in my r

And now, a photograph of my toilet. You might notice that it has a white light in it. Theres no way to turn this off. It is a permanent beacon in my room.


Korea-Gwangju-Rain-Uprising - And finally, due to rain, my lunch. Which was delicious. I think I am 5kg heavier now. Awesome. MORE CAKE.

And finally, due to rain, my lunch. Which was delicious. I think I am 5kg heavier now. Awesome. MORE CAKE.


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