Monday, October 27, 2008

My Saturday In Korea

So, here I am in Korea. I'm taking this opportunity while my fiancee is working to describe my past couple of days.

So, I landed in Korea and after standing in customs for a while, I was let in. I met my fiancee at arrivals, which was awesome! 2 months is too long. We got on the subway, and one hour later, got to her apartment. I wasn't too tired at the time, but after some supper, I crashed.

Saturday, we were planning to head out with a group of English teachers to Seoraksan (Seorak Mountain, san means mountain) but, the bus tickets were sold out until later in the day, so we decided to stay in Seoul for the day, which in hindsight was a decent idea considering the amount of rain that hit in the afternoon. So, we went home and got ready to set out again. Up first was Gyeongbokgung (Gyeongbok palace, as gung is palace). This was the primary palace for a time during the Joseon dynasty, but was burnt down during a Japanese invasion. It was rebuilt during the 1860s and later partially demolished again. Here are a few choice pictures, for more, check out flickr.

The Main Gate

The Throne Hall

Throne Hall Roof and Interior

Rear Garden

There were an extraordinary number of cops milling around in the area. I saw roughly 12 police buses in the area. No idea really what was going on. My fiancee suggests police training. They were all very young, but she says that she has yet to see an old police officer, and suspects this is a feature of the compulsory military service. Research will be done.

After that, we had lunch at Mulan - Casual Chinese Restaurant, near Anguk station for some Jajangmyun (really long noodles with black bean sauce, delicious) and then wandered into Mary's Alley in Insadong, a touristy shopping area. All forms of souvenirs can be found here. There were awesome shirts saying "The DNA of Victory - strong", clearly proclaiming the power of Korean genes. There's also this "museum" of pop culture and toys called Toto. It's 1000 won ($1) to get in, and really, it's just some guys collection of toys and models haphazardly displayed in a room. I really don't know how it got into the tourist guide book as it was pretty lame. All except for these awesome post cards and stickers. Oh man, these are pure gold.

Come on! The gun? The random animal eying of each other? Awesome!

We then wandered off to the Korean War museum and memorial. They have an impressive collection of hardware out front. Much more than the Canadian National War Museum at least, since last time I was there, but they've moved since). There was also a traditional wedding going on outside, so we grabbed a few photos. The bulk of the displays are understandably about the Korean war. It was very good, though we were getting tired, so we blew through the post war stuff (Vietnam, etc.). Also, it started to pour outside, so we kept looking for an opportunity to bolt while it was relatively light rain. We found a good window, and left.

The War Museum and Memorial

The Ceremony

For supper we went to Pizza Hut and had a very tasty Crispy Potato pizza. They put seasoned potato slices on top. It's quite good.

No real plans for the evening, most people had left for Seoraksan. I crashed again (the jet lag helps me wake up early, but fall asleep by 9). Very nice first full day.

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