14 October 2008

Haedong Yonggungsa and Songjeong Beach

This Sunday past Yujin and I went for a short trip to Haedong Yonggungsa. The temple is located in a place that (I think at least) is geographically significant. I think of the point it sits on as being the southeastern corner of the squarish bottom of Korea. Why this is important to me is because when I first can here I had a very difficult time getting my cardinal points straight in my head. Part of this is due to the Korean idea of space and its measure and marking (the streets here don't have names and they have a habit of printing maps without regard to the compass so north isn't always on top). It is also due to the fact that I somehow got it into my head that Busan stood on the easter shore of the peninsula. It doesn't. It faces the sea in an almost due southerly orientation. I have slowly reoriented my head, but once you screw something like that up you never really get it right again.

The beach was nice. I would like to go there again. There were a few hotels on the strip and some restaurants but the whole scene was a lot less built up than Haeundae or Gwangan. There was even a little surf shop that rented kayaks. Next time I am taking a kite.

The temple was crowded but beautiful nontheless. It seemed like more of a wishing well than a temple I fact, the temple was reached by a large granite bridge spanning an ocean gorge and there was a pool at the head of the gorge with a Buddha in the middle holding a bowl and people were chucking money off of the bridge at a hectic pace, trying to hit that bowl. I emptied my pockets. There were also little places to pray and light candles and incense all over. Several of the statues are accorded special powers. The Buddha whose belly I am touching is supposed to grant male heirs. I don't want any heirs of either sex but we will see what happens.

There are quite a few pictures and they are posted here. I tried to take a variety of shots, landscapes and close-ups. I have been watching photography lessons on You Tube. I hope my photography is improving but it is not my strong suit. Yujin has a real knack for finding artistic subjects so if you see a very good one it is probable that she took it.