A Look Around. Have You Seen It?

모슬포 (Moseulpo), South Korea. 1997.

It was quite relaxing to watch the fire burn and the batch boil. Without a care in the world, we boiled rice stalks until lunchtime. When the lunch gong sounded we went up to the house and ate more rice with the others. After lunch we had another instant coffee and I said I should be moving along back up to Seoul. Mr. Kim suggested I stay another day; there were a lot of things I had not seen yet. I agreed to stay another day.

He told 민철 to show me around the place. The building was formerly a school, abandoned, and then purchased by Mr. Kim and family. With the help of 민철 and other likeminded types, they had totally revamped the place as pictured here. They placed all the stones around the outside and built up the center piece.

The inside had been totally re-done as well. Several rooms were used only for storage like the one with all the unfinished masks. Four or five of the classrooms had been turned into huge sleeping areas (I was sharing one with 민철 and 명룡). There was only one bathroom in the whole joint, shared by both genders. It could be awkward to emerge from a stinky stall to see one of the Angels brushing her teeth. Or vice versa...

One of the classrooms had been turned into the domain of the Angels. Their room was piled high with rolls of cotton fabric that had been dyed using natural ingredients, primarily the juice of the ubiquitous Jeju persimmon. The dyeing process is executed during the fall months when the fruit ripens, and now, during the winter/early spring, the angels were busy sewing the dyed fabric into outfits. Four sewing machines whirred while 민철 told me how Mr. Kim's wife designs all the outfits and Mr. Kim and his helpers do all the dyeing. The clothing they make is referred to as 갈옷 (brown clothes) and was very common in the older days of Cheju. Only, these clothes have a bit of a modern flair. Turns out Mr. Kim's wife was in NYC for 10 years studying fashion design (more on her later).

We left the angels and went up the stairs out onto the roof. The backside of the center pillar in the photo above is a giant picture window that looks up at Halla Mountain. Inside of the pillar is a bedroom, but one would never guess that from looking at the place from the front. The view makes the bedroom the perfect spot for an afternoon tryst or nap, and I wanted to crush one out, but my tour continued back into the house. We hadn't even seen the ground floor yet...

No comments: