It wasn't until July 2003 that the current Seoul mayor decided to embark on a mammoth project to restore the Cheonggyecheon to its original glory. At a total estimated cost of 900 billion won (about $900 million CDN; the CDN dollar is hot hot hot!). What makes this project mind-boggling is that they had to demolish a massive highway in the process, which was a major artery to the downtown core. Diamond saws were used to cut the enormous slabs of concrete which were dismantled block by block, since the public was at risk due to the density of nearby buildings. You really have to watch the video made by the Discovery Channel's Man Made Marvels series, "Seoul Searching" (download the video) to see what was involved. Throughout the construction, archaeologists also had a field day unearthing a bunch of artifacts too.
In September 2005 the stream was finished and opened to the public. I never realized that the stream was restored until I read about it online. The water source comes from the Han River (which is pretty polluted by the way), is then sent to a plant to be processed, then flows at the beginning of the stream, and ends up flowing back into the Han. Huge boulders were laid across the stream to help control the flow of the water (as people play in the stream during the summer) along with multiple bridges and plants to create a sustainable urban environment.
When I asked my students to name three places tourists should visit in Seoul, the majority would scream "Cheonggyecheon" at me. I was bewildered at the time, because what was so special about a stream? Anyways, after learning the history of the stream I then realized why it was such a big deal to them! Check out this post to see more pictures of Cheonggyecheon during Christmas.
Anyways, the point of this post is that near the start of the Cheonggyecheon, there area always things to check out, such as free outdoor entertainment. Near our departure date from Seoul, there was a festival happening on the weekend. One attraction was this female drum group, known as "Drum Cats". I saw this one guy with a massive XL "Rip" Hamilton tshirt and he explained to me in English that he was a big fan of these girls for their on stage performance.
Walking towards the crowd to see what was going on, we spotted this really tall Korean guy...
...who sent a lot of mixed messages...cya later buddy!!
One stage at the time, my fellow countrywomen from China performing their magical plate-spinning-with-a-bamboo-stick-which-I-have-trained-for-since-I-was
...And here we are with the infamous Drum Cats with their #1 fan, Soulja Boy. Crank dat, son!!
Watching the Drum Cats perform was sort of the equivalent of Lord of the Dance but replace the Irish dancers with scantily-clad Korean women and drums on speed with a lot of hair flinging:
Words cannot explain, just watch the video:
Any other fans of Drum Cats out there? Don't be shy!!