The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sherpa, Part 2



When we left our hero, he had failed on Tuesday...

The very next Monday, we set out again. Amanda was too tired to join us, but JoAnnie grabbed her spot on the roster. Again, I asked lots of people, but we hit the by now obligatory 3-person set: Dana, JoAnnie, and me. We hit the subway and ride it up to Seoul and to the Namsan Traditional Village. We wander around looking at all the traditional stuff, try out traditional outfits, cut-out-head style. We see some lucky posts and a princess's palanquin (really small...imagine "the box" in a rural prison on sticks so two people can carry you around in it). We marvel at the swing - not because it swings, but because it was used so that girls could see outside the village every now and then. JoAnnie manages to make the Traditional Korean top (or dredel) spin with its little launcher thing.

We make our way over to the National Palace. Not surprisingly, it is several times bigger than the village. But it is laid out in a similar fashion. Sprawled out over the countryside - building in courtyard which abuts another courtyard that holds another building. Each building holds one to three rooms, usually. That construction style intrigues me. Why so spread out? I mean, yeah, it's grand and impressive, but you can't go from room to room without going outside. If it's cold and rainy, do you just stay in your bedroom? I loved this pagoda (or whatever they call it here) out in the middle of the pond. It looks so peaceful, I just want to go out there and meditate for a while. Unfortunately, we are not allowed out there. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of this shot of the ancient gate (from inside) placed next to the modern city outside. Ancient, colorful wood and new, grey cement and steel.

After our visit to the palace, we are getting hungry, so we head out the gate, turn left, and wander. This takes us into a neighborhood I can only describe as Korean Soho. All the storefronts are arty, trendy, kitschy, and expensive. We eventually decide on a place (mostly on the basis of "I'm not walking anymore.") We get a very traditional-style dinner, and JoAnnie enjoys much more of it than Dana does. After dinner, we go two doors down to a coffee/dessert shop, they get some of the most scrumptious desserts I've ever seen, and I get a 5500 Won can of Coke (yeah, that's like $4.50 - like I said: Soho). After we finish there, we find our way back to the subway and back to Songtan. We get out of the station about 25-30 minutes before curfew and there are NO cabs. Uh-oh. Dana lives right around the corner, so she meanders in that direction. JoAnnie and I strap the backpacks on properly and proceed to run about 1/2 the way, where we find a cab to take us to the gate.

All in all, a fine day.

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2 Comments:

  • At 8:33 AM, Blogger Soo Mi said…

    I think we can call that trip a win.

    It's awesome that you're getting out and seeing the sights. I was chatting with one of Mister's coworkers abt Korea assignments. She'd been on one, and mentioned that a lot of people get crazy over there. I talked abt your travels, and she said that at least when she was there, people weren't interested.

    Maybe that's the difference between keeping and losing your mind on a remote. It made the difference for us in England. A lot of people we knew never went anywhere because of the rain. We rarely stayed home. They hated the country, we hated to leave. Sure, Korea's no England, but it has its history, culture, and beauty, if one takes the time.

    Well-played.

     
  • At 1:48 AM, Blogger Devyl Gyrl said…

    I always feel that as a "guest" in another country, the least we can do is get to know their history, culture, and way of life by exploring. What is the point of going somewhere new if you do not get to know where you go?

    xoxo

     

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