Friday, December 21, 2007

The after-report: Tourism Day Two

This whole writeup is late, as I was too busy having a blast in while I was in Seoul to actually post all this here. So this is actually the account of my second full day in Seoul.

I started out the day with a trip to the University of Seoul, where I often went on this trip. Three different times we stopped at this art exhibit, which is fine with me, because there were quite a few welded projects which were neat to look at. For instance, this sculpture made of #41 chain is neat, although they managed to hide the welds really well- I think they're all on the inside.




UBF won a contest for decorating their room well, which is good for taking pictures. This is me and with a guy that I actually didn't spend a lot a time with, so I don't remember his name. (Sorry!)


In Korea, the cell phone companies have supplemental cell antennae everywhere. Here are a couple in an insignificant, easily ignored back alley. The contrast to the US is obvious- the subway in Boston is just now entering an experimental project which will provide coverage in five of the subway stations in the system. Compare that to Korea, where it's hard to find any square meter of the country where there isn't coverage from every one of the major carriers, including subways, back alleys, and the never-crowded basement gym I went to at Handong.



Later this day I went to the Korean War Memorial. As we were nearing it, I was a bit surprised to see this sign. I suppose there's a little remnant of a US military base here.



The light was fading as we approached the museum. This statue is of a soldier helping a Korean child.



Outside of the memorial there were some large war machines. Most of the heavy war equipment was either US or USSR manufactured, depending on whether it came from South or North.



Entering the Memorial, these plaques are filled with the names of the soldiers who died. Shinsheel and Sarung are walking ahead of me.


The memorial covered all Korean military history, not just the most recent war. This ship, called the 'Turtle Ship' was an innovation during its age and with it, one Korean general pulled off a ridiculously unlikely victory over the Japanese, whose ninjas feet were fouled on the hundreds of iron spikes on the roof.


Korea was a leader in giant bottle rockets.


And if you're going to have 12 foot long bottle rockets, you need to have giant drums to go along with them.


I've lost count of how many times I or someone else has surreptitiously taken pictures where they are prohibited. This model is one example.


Looks like Korea figured caltrops out fairly early. Nasty things.


This cannon is actually Japanese, and it looks like they were on the verge of getting rifling figured out. Meanwhile, museum attendees have the practice of stuffing pamphlets into dark holes figured out. Not a bad casting.


I don't remember exactly what this thing was- I think a javelin with not-so-wise attachments for spin. I do know, though, that if I saw an angry man running at me with it, I would make haste to run the other way.



We're working our way to the more modern end of the museum, as is evidenced by this helicopter. Around here there was also a display of the evolution of battlefield digital communication equipment, which didn't draw even my interest. (Remarkable) I wouldn't normally think of 80's era encryption equipment as being museum material, but hey- I'm not in charge.



The Korean war was one of the first conflicts to see the usage of jet aircraft. I think these models are more modern than what were used, and depict the current Korean armaments rather than those used in the 1950 war.


For some reason, the museum(and a lot of museums, I suppose) was kept rather dark, which made photography difficult. Taking a picture of this neato jet engine cutaway forced me to use the flash (which I generally despise), but it actually came out fairly well. I'm not sure if Samsung was actually involved in the production of this engine in any way, or if they just slapped their name on it like most things.


I call this one "Business End".



The complete lack of good lighting is readily apparent in this picture. If the lighting were better of if I were willing to use the flash, you'd see a heavily armored 2.5 ton truck. If you could see the heavy steel plates mostly covering the radiator, I'd make a quip about its cooling efficiency.



It's a bit weird seeing Hangul(Korean writing) stenciled on what I know to be 100% American equipment, which I previously only have seen in an American context. Allies share equipment all the time, though, and I suppose I'm just used to seeing what the US puts out in native use.


I guess the designer of this Soviet tank didn't care too much about those fuel drums up front, as they're completely unarmored. I suppose they're a 'If they make it, great' add-on. I can just see one light-caliber round draining those onto the tank, soaking it in nice flammable fuel... I'm not sure if tanks were more commonly gasoline or diesel in this era. I'll have to look that up.
... Wikipedia shows me that during this era, there was a mix, but the trend was for newer equipment to use diesel.



I just wasted too much time looking up the development of tanks in WWII. Here are some aircraft, seen out the window.



...and just below is laser-guided democracy.



Hooray mortars!



Neat.


Here's another model. I wonder who puts these things together, and what they do when the museum has all the dioramas/models that they need. I mean, the demands for these things can only be so much.



I think these show all the different ranks in the Korean military.



You saw this same statue earlier when we entered, here it is in near darkness.


On the way back, I took this picture of the subway name so that if I ever needed to find my way back to my temporary home, I'd know where to go. I never did need to use this knowledge, though.


Finally, Shinsheel, Sarung, and I all went and had dinner together in a small restaurant near the University of Seoul.



And to finish up, a picture of me.

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