Monday, August 13, 2007

Hwaseong Fortress/Insadong

Myung Ho et Moi.

Myung Ho! What a guy. We sang the Beatles in a watchtower, and he drank two big bottles of rice wine.
His friend never said a word to us; he was passed out the whole time (2 PM).

This weekend I was so busy! I'm really not used to having "weekends" off, having worked in random touristy places all my life, but it didn't take me long to get used to this sweet life. On Saturday I made the trek across my city to Hwaseong Fortress- it's about the same age as the Halifax Citadel. The day was so beautiful, and was so unlike the weather I've been seeing every day (they told me monsoon season was over; liars), and so I wandered around the old part of the city until I found it. The pics are down below. I eventually met up with a few other teachers and we hung around one of the watchposts pretty much all afternoon. We made friends with a drunk Korean man who had a guitar- he was great! (see above). The fortress is actually a pretty happenin' spot. There are always people hanging out- I'm definitely going back!
On Sunday me and several of the teachers at my school went to Insadong, which is pretty much a traditional Korean market in Seoul. It had so much stuff, I must say- for the first time I felt a little overwhelmed to be shopping (the feeling quickly passed). We went to a lot of cool shops and I got a few little gifts for people (Zaphy, I need your mailing address!). The coolest was probably the traditional Korean ceramic shops. The tea sets were absolute works of art. Pics are below! Aunt Colleen would have thought she died and gone to heaven- there was jewellry everywhere.

Charlene helping the old man pound rice for cakes in Insadong. You can see Andy and Drew in the background waiting for us... rather impatiently, I might add.
Sign in front of a store in Insadong- they must be starving.
My turn to pound rice. It was about as exciting as it sounds!

The jewellry made me drool.
I did purchase some tea, and it's probably the best herbal tea I've ever tasted. I got a bunch for Mom because apparently it's very good for diabetes ( the phamplet also said veneral diseases (?!) how could a tea make you feel better about having one of those?). Anyway, this woman whose hand you see in the picture gave me and Charlene all kinds of information and lots of samples. Who knew tea could be so exciting? I'm actually planning to go to the annual tea festival in May (btw, this tea is made from Hydrangea leaves- it's naturally sweet!).
Insadong before the rain.
Insadong after the rain.

The bell of Filial Piety: what does Filial Piety mean, you may ask? I have absolutely no idea, and am rather lazy about finding out. All I know is, Suwon seems to be the land of Filial Piety and we have a huge bell that you can toll for 1000 won (I think it was worth it). The first toll is for expressing love and gratitude to my parents- here ya go Mom and Dad :)

The second is for the continued health and prosperity of my family...
and the third is all about meeeee and being selfish (realizing my personal goals and dreams).

This is the view of Suwon from the top of the fortress.
This is one of the many paths available to trek up the mountain.

The gate! Not the entire fortress.

The long way up (please turn head sideways to get proper effect).

Soooo I had an amazing weekend! We ended Sunday with the best Indian buffet I have ever eaten (my apologies to Ms. Gupta in Wolfville). The food was unending, and the restaurant-owner's Father regailed us with Indian/Bangladeshi stories. More later!

No comments: