So my friends have left me in Suwon for the hot, sunny, tropical landscape of Malapascua island in the Philippines. Last minute deals are excellent, and if you know you have vacation coming up you should always, always put aside major purchases in case you get a sweet deal the last minute. In my case, the purchase was a computer, and I will never be that stupid again. Still though, it works out since one of us had to watch our pets, so I've taken the dog, Fozzie, for a few days while my friends lie on the beach. A fair trade? Well, for Christmas Fozzie ate all the cat's food and then threw it up on my bed! You do the math. I'm really not this bitter in real life, though, and can see the humour in this whole situation... seriously.
I took him for a very long walk today and we wandered around a park in Suwon several blocks down the road from my neighbourhood, near Ingyedong. I'm so flaky, I always forget to write down the name of these places I visit, but honestly, it's pretty much the only park near Ingyedong with an amphitheatre and cool statues (including a war memorial or two) everywhere. I had a lovely walk, everyone I passed either smiled at me and the crazy poodle or looked genuinely frightened. I understand completely; Fozzie may be small, but he is ferocious. Not.
Enjoy the pictures!
The park is on quite a large hill, and has a surprisingly good view of the South end of the city!
This is the amphitheatre where once my friends and I stumbled upon the finale of a free concert. As we arrived, everyone turned around and stared at us. I felt sorry for taking all the attention away from the musicians and we left; the whole time feeling the burning stares and hearing the girly giggles. I doubt I'll go to another performance in Suwon.
As I said, there were beautiful statues and memorials everywhere. It makes me feel more patriotic than I ever felt in Canada, even. Well that's a lie, actually. I am a very patriotic Cape Bretoner!
This memorial monument was really grand and beautiful. I suppose the war is still fresh in the minds of many Koreans. I often see older men in wheelchairs and wonder if they were maimed or wounded during the war. Very sad when you think about it...
It took some getting used to, seeing these Buddhist symbols all over Korea. I didn't realize that this is where the Nazi's got the idea for their swastika. In Buddhism, it symbolizes good fortune and as I hit my five-month mark in Korea, it no longer has a bad meaning for me- not that I would ever have it tattooed to my body or anything, but the symbol itself is not a symbol of hatred or facism and many people in the world don't know that. I sure didn't!
Maybe I'm going too far with this, but the Korean obsession with all things White even goes back to Jesus! I'm sure Jesus would have loved Korean children too, so why not paint a picture with Korean kids in it? Maybe more would convert...?
This is the jjimjilbang I sometimes frequent! Yeah, it's awkward being naked in front of a gazillion staring Korean women, but you get used to anything. I love the saunas, and the mineral baths are to die for, and it costs less than 10 bucks for 24 hours (if you want to stay 24 hours... it's entirely up to you). You can also get the traditional Korean "scrubdown" which is too invasive for my liking, or you can get a vigourous massage by the women who work there.
Ah, the Centreble. The only place I know of where I can use my Canadian bank card. And the name is to die for! Only a Korean could have come up with such a great combination of English names for potential shopping buildings.