Monday, 29 June 2015

Seoul's Banpo Fountain Bridge: Rainbow No More

                 (The bridge, the bank and the bulbs)

Years ago, when it was finally completed, the Banpo Fountain Bridge attracted thousands every night. The nozzles on the bridge's sides would spray water out into the river and when the darkness falls, the colored lights next to the nozzles bathed the water with different colors that fascinated the crowds standing on the Han River bank.

On one of my visits to the Banpo Park, I took a photograph and submitted it to a local magazine and earned me a prize. I still have the magazine copy; I already ate the prize. Ha-ha-ha! It was a restaurant coupon.

                (From afar, it's only yellow and white lights)
               (I no longer see the reds, blues and purples)

But last week, when I went on my night walks along the Han River from my Hannam-dong neighborhood with the goal of reaching the Banpo Bridge, I noticed that, from afar, the colored lights didn't look colorful anymore. 

Years ago, when my friend Alfa and I traversed the distance from the Hannam Bridge to the Banpo Bridge, we could see from hundreds of meters away the fountain changing its colors from yellow to red, to blue and purple, and other hues in between.

                           (Up close and electrical)

                 (A tourist ferry about to go 
                   under the Jamsu Bridge)

But now, the fountains seemed to have lost its other colors, or I have turned colorblind? Or, perhaps the fountain lights need repairing. Did they change the other colored bulbs into yellow and white?

As I wanted to make sure whether the other colors were indeed missing from the bridge's spectrum, I crossed the lower Jamsu Bridge and observed the water spouts up close.

     (Crossing Jamsu Bridge with my frappucino) 

So with my frappucino, I stood on the bridge and took photos of the waters streaming from the fountain, which from the lower deck, looked like they were coming from a platoon of ajussis above urinating in unison and with the motion of the pee following the cadenza of the K-pop music playing on the background. Ha-ha-ha!

Although there were faint blue and red lights, these were not the strong colors I used to see years ago. Something definitely happened; Banpo's fountain bridge is no longer a rainbow fountain bridge.

I later joined the crowd on the Banpo side of the bridge, and just like me, they also seemed to have been disappointed with the lackluster spectacle. 

Years ago, you would hear people exclaiming "waah"  when the fountain changed colors from yellow to red, to blue and purple in sync with its flow trajectory. Tonight, people were just busy chatting and the sight of the fountain was just ordinary.

If you're at the Banpo Park next time, do observe and compare the colors of the fountain bridge with the ones you remember years ago. And let me know if I am just colorblind, or the bulbs really need changing. 

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