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Travel to Ulsan & back

We had to do a performance in another city in Korea. Seoul is in the Northwest corner of the country, and Ulsan, our next city, is in the Southeast corner. We had to travel by bus for about 5 hours. I asked the bus driver if I could sit up front on the little fold-down jump seat so that I could try to take pictures from the bus. He said yes, so that was my seat for the whole trip. The driver had all kinds of little good-luck charms and some religious symbols all over the dash of the bus.

Dashboard of the bus

Leaving Seoul we passed the Seoul Tower on top of Mt. Namsan. You can ride to the top and have a good view of the city, but I didn't get the chance to do it. We also passed Seoul Station and the Olympic Stadium built for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Seoul Tower
Seoul Station
Olympic Stadium

It was Buddha's birthday so the temples were all decorated for the celebrations

Buddha's Birthday Celebration

We also passed a little man pulling a wagon full of cardboard.

Man pulling cardboard

Seoul has many bridges, but I never got the chance to get good photographs of them. It's impossible to do them justice from a moving bus, but I always tried.

A Bridge in Seoul

Along the way we passed villages as well as larger cities with block style apartment buildings.

Block Style Apartments

Driving through the mountains it was interesting to see how they had stretched a mesh over the steeper portions of the roadside, and then planted the mesh with wisteria to help prevent erosion. Notice the access stairway and the ditch alongside.

Steep Hillsides

We also passed some rice paddies as well as some fishing villages which had little huts on the water.

Rice Paddies
Fishing Village

And of course a few other interesting bridges.

Suspension Bridge

Ulsan is a very industrial city. Our hotel was full of executives from all over the world. And our room had similar escape equipment in it, but this time instead of fancy rapelling gear, we had a knotted rope. Hopefully we wouldn't have to use it. The instructions were in English, but they described the equipment that we had in Seoul rather than the knotted rope. We did have a gas mask this time, though.

Escape Instructions
Knotted Rope
Gas Mask

In Ulsan as well as Seoul, there are flowers everywhere. In one of the parks there is a little structure where you can sit and look at the water, the waterfalls and the flowers. It's quite lovely. Notice the shoes on the steps leading up to it.


Outside our theatre in Ulsan was a funny little sculpture of some ice skaters. The theatre here is a 2,000-seat house. We only had one performance but it was sold out.

Ice Skaters
Theatre in Ulsan

I was very relieved to go into the theatre and find that I had all of my basic crew members that were with us in Seoul. It made everything so much easier for me. They already knew what had to happen with the staging, and all I had to do was to set cues on the lighting console. This time they put everything in submasters for me, so even that was easy. I even had the same two followspot operators. It was great.

Stage Crew

Ulsan is a big industrial city. The main industry is the Hyundai ship-building facility. They were the company who presented us there (the theatre was the Hyundai Performing Arts Center), so before we left town they arranged for a tour for us. This place is enormous. Think of the largest ship-building facility you can imagine and then multiply it by 10. There are 26,000 people working in this facility. They told us that the cafeteria goes through 240 pigs and 20,000 chickens a day. A lot of the dancers didn't want to go on the tour, but everyone was awestruck by the end of it. They asked us not to take photos so I don't have but one that I can show you.


The bus trip back to Seoul was long and uneventful, but we all had a good time and arrived back safe and sound.

Sleeping Dancers

One of the things I really love about Seoul is that there is sculpture everywhere. Almost every large building and every small park has sculpture. It's quite wonderful and most of it is very interesting.

Sculpture in Seoul
Sculpture in Seoul
Sculpture in Seoul
Sculpture in Seoul
Sculpture in Seoul
Sculpture in Seoul

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Korea and hope I get to go back someday.

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Irma Hale
McMurdo Station, Antarctica

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