This Confluence point introduces a new visitor to the project Johannes accompanied me to his first point and it was a very successful premiere.
I was in South Korea for the first time, so it was a point of honor to the country and to the project to at least visit one of it's confluences. I was attending the World Congress of the Association of Nuclear Medicine and Biology 2006 in Seoul last week and Jo was here in the region as an IT specialist for his company.
We met each other in his hotel in Suwon, south of the City of Seoul on Sunday morning, together with his colleague we payed the World Heritage Monument of Hwaseong Fortress a visit. The UN homepage says:
„When the Choson emperor Chongjo moved his father's tomb
to Suwon at the end of the 18th century, he surrounded it with strong defensive
works, laid out according to the precepts of an influential military architect
of the period, who brought together the latest developments in the field from
both East and West. The massive walls, extending for nearly 6 km, still survive;
they are pierced by four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers and
After this cultural event we had some time left before
my flight home at night. We were awfully bad prepared for the visit, we had no
map of the region, virtually no knowledge of the Korean language and writing, the only information we had about the closest spot to Suwon was from the only former visitor Hwang-Chung
Wesley Woo-Dukon on the CP website - many thanks to him.
This information turned out to be very valuable. First we took the train
to Pyoengtaek, a comfortable Express train with reservated seats. It brought us to Pyoengtaek in 25 minutes. After looking around without success for a tourist information or some source of a regional map Jo had the brilliant idea to ask a Policeman in front of the railway station for help. The policeman was very friendly, helpful and speaking English very well, he took us into the station's bureau, where we found a detailed map of the region around the town and with the address given on the website we could identify easily the place of desire. The
policeman told a Taxi driver in Korean language where we wanted to go to, the Taxi driver promised to make us a fair price and off we went. The taxi was equipped with a modern GPS navigation system, but the Taxi driver
made no use of it, he already knew where to go but it was helpful for us to check his progress.
When we reached the exact latitude, I told him to stop at a nearby farmhouse
and we walked by foot into the dry and already harvested rice field directly to
the confluence point, which is located exactly beside a small gravel road in
the rice field. On our way we were accompanied by the barking of the farm's dog
I would like to add some impressions from my short visit to Korea. The
medical congress was organized in a perfect manner with a high quality program,
in a pleasant atmosphere with minutious timing. My impression is that the people
of Korea must be extremely diligent, they are working like bees the whole day and probably half of the night. The city of Seoul and all public places were kept perfectly clean , the people I met were all very polite, friendly and helpful and it was a pity that I am without any knowledge of the Korean language. If you take into account that it is only several decades (1950-1953) since the country was badly hit by a furious war, you can image what an effort it must have been to build up all what shows up today. Look at this leap from a traditional folk village near Suwon to the
busy cities of today.
At the end of this story the first word I learned - you will hear it very
frequently in Korea „kamsa-hamnida“ to the friendly people who helped us to reach the point.