On a gorgeous sunny day, I set off for the seven-story pagoda Chungju is famous for. The pagoda lies on the edges of the city near two other parks. Since Chungju is a relatively small city, I decided to bike to my destination. As I crossed into the area of Chungju I don’t know very well, I saw a sign for a UN Park. I recalled that my map had said something about a U.N. Park, but it seemed like I should’ve passed it by now. I stopped for a moment to consult the map. I realized I had no idea where I was and I put the map away. “It’s fine. I’ll just let myself be lost,” I said to myself and turned down a small street that appeared newly paved.
I biked past the soccer fields where practices and games were being held. Occassionally I hear the sound of a small crowd over the sounds of the crickets. Then I passed some older houses. Unlike most of Chungju, these were small two-story homes that were in need of much repair. At this point, I was second-guessing my decision to “just be lost.” I soon came upon a construction site. The drying mud was piled up and the equipment sat still in the afternoon sun.
I slowed to a stop and looked around. Wondering how such a huge construction site was possible. And curious to find some sort of landmark that could help me figure out where I was so I could find the pagoda. On the ground, there sat a map. A large plastic, “Hey this is gonna be awesome so don’t feel bad about the construction phase” kind of map. I looked at it and realized I was about a block away from the UN Park.
I turned around and went back to the soccer fields. This time I went by the field the long way. This time, I could see the small crowd as they cheered their team. The road I thought I should turn on was blocked off, but the parking lot was open. So I went through some mud and rocks to park my bike in the parking lot. “This is weird,” I thought. “Umm…when should you put an unfinished park on a map?”
I don’t have an answer. But in Korea apparently years before the park is finished. I looked around the U.N. Park noting the Caterpillar resting for the weekend. The small trees that lined the edge of the mud field. I’m not sure when the park was planned or when it will be finished, but I do know my map says it was published in 2008. And two years later, the park is still a construction site.
“Well at least the bathroom’s done,” I said. After taking a few photos, I set off to find the pagoda.