Monday, January 02, 2006

Hammy's 2005 Trip To Korea And Japan - Dec 2nd

Checked out of the Hercules Motel and walked down to the restaurant at the bus stop. I had dwen jang jji gae for breakfast and that stuff really warms you up. Miky called for a taxi to get to Hyeonchungsa - the shrine of Admiral Yi Sun-shin. The bus came straight away so we jumped on it. Sorry Mr taxi driver. Not far down the road the guy who hit Yu-Jin last night jumped on. Miky asked him if he hit Yu-Jin and he replied that he didn't take this bus last night. Bloody liar. Miky hit him with her bag and me too before calling him a jashik (bastard) in front of everybody. He was a bit stunned by this. We could tell from his body language after Miky had spoken to him that he was uncomfortable and so he was lying. Classic. Revenge is sweet.

Naughty vending machine inside the Hercules Motel.

Private parking for those monkeying around.

Petrol and diesel prices at Hyundai Oilbank.

Caught the bus from Asan to Hyeonchungsa and it was about two-thirds of the way to where we stayed. Bugger. Taxi would have been quicker and possibly cheaper. Wouldn't have been able to get the "Slapper" back though.

How many Korean men does it take to repair some paving?

Feelhaus - it's just the apartment block name, not some diry, sordid place.

The shrine itself is befitting of a national hero. My toothbrush started working while we were looking at Yi Sun-shin's house and maybe the guard thought that it was a bomb - or was that just my rampant imagination? Saw the archery field and the burial tomb of his son, Yu-myeon. The respect that should be paid at such a shrine was not forthcoming from a group of elderly tourists as they were quite noisy. There is a reception area at the shrine and the girl answered her mobile phone and sounded so bored. This area of Korea is not particularly stimulating to the locals it seems.

Why is it necessary that the sign is so accurate with the measurements?

Admiral Yi Sun-shin's home at Hyeonchungsa.

Nice house for back in those times.

Rice paper decorations were obviously the flavour of the day.

No shortage of kim chee.

They built the old houses well. Either that or they do them up well during restoration.

Graves of 3rd, 4th and 10th generation descendants and tacky tourist-aimed vending machines.

Portrait of the great man - Yi Sun-shin.

Decoration on the ceiling in the main shrine.


Yu-Jin paid his respects to one of his heroes.

Gate to the main shrine.

The museum inside the grounds. The sword is on display inside.

Original shrine to Yi Sun-Shin built in 1706.

The museum has some great relics - official documents, his swords, a scaled model of the geobuksan and a guard using some hand expander tool. I was looking at some inscriptions in Chinese and an older guy said to me "Han mul" - something about it being in Chinese, and motioned to me to read something in English. Hmm, did I look stupide enough not to realise that it was written in Chinese? Just outside the museum was the original shrine - rather modest in nature. Cold day.

Bus driver, who went directly to Cheonan, was a bit rude. Once in Cheonan we looked for a place to stay. One place, Say Motel, wanted 35000 Won but we couldn't look at the room. Miky walked off in disgust at how rude they were. Another place said no and a third joint said they had no room. At 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon you have no room, in December? What rubbish. Probably still had some possibility for "resting couples" for a few hours. Miky can't believe how rude the people are. We hardly saw any young people. Only old, rude people. No wonder Lonely Planet says that the only reason to come to Cheonan is to see the Independence Hall. I concur.

Miky found a place stay after we had lunch at Lotteria.

Danger sign in Lotteria.

No bath, just a shower. And it still cost 35000 Won. Not that we cared much by that stage. Miky rang the Gakwonsa (Gakwon Temple) to see which bus we had to catch and then walked us to the bus stop. She wanted to stay behind and rest. Talk about gridlock in this little backwater known as Cheonan. Very surprising, especially as it was 4pm. Glad I didn't take a taxi. It is Friday though.

The statue of the Buddha was huge and we had to climb 214 steps to reach it. The main building in the temple was enormous as was the two storey pavilion that housed a very large bell. Luckily for us they were ringing the bell just as we were about to leave.

Some of the 214 steps to the Buddha statue.

Gakwonsa - bell pavilion in the foreground.

Giant statue.

Really big.

Wanna be immortalised?

On the way home we waited 42 minutes for the bus. I asked the lady at Ddrak Restaurant about the bus and she said it would be 10 minutes and that we should come inside to get warm. I asked about cha (tea) and she said it would be 1000 Won because she thought I meant (ja dong) cha - car. I waited until she had finished serving her customers before asking again for cha and after clearing up the misunderstanding she told me that she only had coffee. She found a tea bag and made me some tea and gave Yu-Jin a mandarine. Not all people here are rude. However, what sort of country doesn't serve tea to drink? Barbarians.

Bus finally arrived and there was still a very large traffic jam. Journey home took one hour. The temple is only 4 kms from the city centre. Could have walked quicker.

Went to a kimbap house for tea and ordered kimbap, tuna kimbap and two mandoo soups as take out. This took a bit of explanation. As I crossed the road to go to Dunkin' Donuts a woman going the other way was running across the pedestrian crossing, fell over, and hit her head. She actually had no need to run and nobody helped her, even though she sat there for several minutes.

At Dunkin' Donuts the girls had name tags that proclaimed them to be "Part Timer"s. In Australia we call someone that doesn't work very hard a part timer.


megha said...

ow, why did the guy hit yu-jin?? how mean.

on the happier side, 'cha' means tea in my mother tongue (bengali)too! i like little surprises like this. so unforgettable in their own small way :) i could begin on the enchanting vastness yet closeness of our world yada yada, but i will be kind today.

Hammysmum said...

Good for Miky! (Anybody who hits my kid, gets whacked too.) Go, girl! I hate liars! About the street repairers, looks just like Oz.

Hammy said...

He just reached forward and slapped him on the face. Wasn't difficult to recognise him the next day as he had stood out the night before for being so loud.

As to the street repairers, the guy looking at me when I took the photo wasn't too pleased about it and said something to me. Then he and another bloke got into their tow truck and drove away. Not all the guys were there for the repair work.

On another note I've gotta turn a few of the pics around. Bloody technical issues.

tmz_99 said...

Wow man, just read all that, seems like you had a nice trip... love the snow everywhere, gotta remember to travel in wintertime from now on..

Hammy said...

Hey Tom,

Still got a few days up my sleeve mate. Thanks for your niceties. You did travel in winter time recently - just not to a freezing cold place.

Hammysmum said...

You beat me to it! I was just about to ask you why some of the pics are on their sides!!

Hammysmum said...

Love the pic of Yu-Jin at the shrine.

Hammy said...

A bit of silent contemplation hurt no-one.