Exuberance on Gwangalli Beach

Fairly close to where I’m staying (Haeundae) is Gwangandaegyo Bridge. It’s known as the “Diamond Bridge” because it glitters at night. I’d read that the best place to see the bridge was from Gwangalli Beach.

After finishing my hike in Daecheon Park, I walked to the bus stop. I saw a small convenience shop that was self-service and self-checkout. There were no staff in the shop! I also noticed that there are many of these grey-white buildings throughout South Korea, perhaps state-built. There are so many of these buildings that each of them can’t have a name. Instead, a group of buildings has a name and each building in that group has a number, and presumably each flat in that building has a number too.

I got a bus directly to the beach. I quickly checked Google Maps for vegan restaurants and found quite a few. There was falafel place 10 minutes away, but it was closing soon. I got there just before 8pm and asked if they were still serving. They were. It wasn’t the first time Google Maps had the wrong closing time. I had a hummus and falafel wrap and later, unusually for me, ordered a Coke — perhaps because I was staring at a wall advertising Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke and two beers. The Coke was less sweet than I remembered it. The falafel had the right taste, with a good amount of parsley/coriander. The hummus was a bit on the watery side.

This is my hummus recipe, which several friends now also use. Put all these ingredients in a blender until smooth:

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas (drained) 
  • 1 x freshly squeezed lemon 
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil  
  • 4 tbsp water  
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 clove garlic  
  • 0.5 tsp salt 
    Add more water for required consistency. 
    Adjust salt and garlic to your taste. 

I sometimes add other ingredients, such as coriander, but the basic recipe is tasty!

As I was finishing my falafel, I noticed several Arsenal shirts hanging from the ceiling. I told the person serving that Arsenal was my local team. He was incredibly happy and told me that he was a Gooner too (what Arsenal supporters call themselves) even though he’d been born in Korea. He said he had been to the Arsenal Stadium (Emirates in London) and added that he considered Arsene Wenger (a former manager) a father figure!

The Gwangalli Beach was a five-minute walk from the restaurant. It was packed but I could see the Diamond Bridge. It looked good. I continued walking along the beach, briefly getting quite close to the water to rinse my shoes from the mud picked up during the hike.

There was lots of music being played from stalls and performers. I saw a queue for a screen where people picked an emoji, and their faces would float pass on a big screen with their chosen emoji.

Suddenly, however, I was in the middle of an outdoor theatre performance. It was either a musical or opera. I asked someone standing next to me, but she didn’t know. I was just in time for the finale. In the closing scenes, there was heartache, fighting, acrobatics, dancing, and singing. It was spectacular and I enjoyed it very much!

At one point, the whole cast came to me as I videoed them! It’s about at 4 min 20s:

I continued walking along the beach hoping to get closer to the bridge. I got a bit closer before the path fizzled out. Almost at the same time, I saw lights in the sky. I thought it was fireworks, but the lighting was too ordered. Then I thought it was a projection but there was nothing to project onto. The lights were doing amazing things, forming shapes and even human figures. I’d seen something like this before — at an Olympic opening ceremony, I think. It was hundreds of drones, computer controlled: what an astonishing sight!

I started taking photos but then decided only a video would do it justice:

My guess proved to be correct: after the light show finished, they flew back to a cordoned off section of the beach and landed, this time all lit in red. They were then packed into boxes.

It was a shame to leave the excitement, energy, and exuberance.

People were having a good time, and no one was drunk. However, by this time, it was getting late. I checked my route and got two buses back to the hostel.

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