Yangdong Folk Village

Wandering around the sprawling folk village of Yangdong, I spent almost no time thinking about the history of the place.  I didn't think about what two-thousand years of families and traditions and culture looked like, I didn't think about hundreds of years of thatched roof houses and farming and knowing the world is changing all around you and hanging on anyway.  I thought about the people that lived there today.  I thought about the kids who went to the middle school across the street from the first set of houses, I thought about the farmer, carefully pulling the shade back from the rows of tiny green sprouts popping up in the dirt, I thought about the people living there now, because that's the way Yangdong felt to me.  It felt like a city still living, not something left behind, but just different.  Like suburbs and skyscrapers.  Yangdong just feels like it has a place in our understanding of how we should choose to live.  At Hahoe I thought about the isolation and the years of history, the families and the in-fighting that must've gone on, I thought about sons and daughters moving away generation after generation and I thought about what it would have been like to come back after a decade or two in Seoul.  I thought of Hahoe as a place that time let slip through the cracks.  Yangdong felt different somehow.  Hahoe has satellite dishes and cars, but it felt like a tourist attraction.  Yangdong felt like a town, a village, a place people choose to live and feel good because of it.  I took three hundred pictures of the place, but I couldn't find any that I really liked, and I think it's because I couldn't get my head around photographing this place.  It was like photographing apartment buildings or houses in the suburbs, I just couldn't figure out what was interesting, I couldn't find too many things that made me say, "Hey, check this out."  I do recommend a trip to Yangdong, it's beautiful and peaceful and seems like a pretty cool place to live.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.

Truthfully we were the most interesting thing in Yangdong.  Every family that walked by us remarked on our foreignness with the standard "Way-guk-in" which just means "foreign people."  It's common to hear it in E-Mart, but on the street around town not as much.  At Yangdong, literally every family.  One kid bashed his head on a low hanging door because he was just staring at Sara, even after his brother smashed his head two seconds before.

People live in this house, and by Korean standards, this is a really big, really nice place.  I mean, there's a yard.  Most kids play in the parking lot, a yard like this is huge.

The houses were built up into the hills and from the tops, the views of the surrounding farmland were spectacular.
The dominating feature of the whole village is a pond full of flowers.  Really beautiful as the sun went down.
Here we are in all our sweaty glory.  We've been in a heat wave the last two weeks and I sweat through my shirt putting my shoes on. 

The boat tickets are purchased, a car is rented, in two days we're headed to Ulleung-Do, the tiny islands off the eastern coast of Korea.  Everything I read says the island is stunningly beautiful, one of Korea's true gems.  

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