Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hammy's 2005 Trip To Korea And Japan - Dec 4th

Yu-Jin got up at 7:30 this morning to see the snow. We checked on the Internet and it was -4 degrees C. Fair bit of snow on the ground too. After breakfast we cleaned the snow from Gi-young's car which took a good 10 minutes. The stuff was caked on. Seong-hoon and Yu-Jin played on the other side of the building and made a snowman. Gi-young and I joined them after finishing the car. The finished product wasn't too bad.

View from apartment, complete with snow - compare with Nov 30th.

View from apartment, complete with snow - compare with Nov 30th.

View from apartment, complete with snow - compare with Nov 30th.

Caked on.


Building a snowman.

The finished snowman.

Gi-young drove us to Mi-youngs' friend's house, Seun-hyeon, and didn't wish to accept any money for petrol. I put some money in his glovebox and when I wasn't looking he gave Yu-Jin 10000 Won.

Born To Be Chicken - what a strange name for a shop. They've been around for a while though.

Dongnimmun - Independence Gate.

All the apartments surrounding Dongnimmun.

Seun-hyeon's husband, Mr Kim, gave us a ride to the Seoul City Bus Tour depot. His daughters, Heun-soo and Yun-soo, came also. We were joined by So-eun and her mum. Adult tickets cost 10000 Won and children five and over were 8000 Won. Our first stop was Namsangol Traditional Korean Village and it so happened that a traditional Korean wedding was taking place. So we got to see much of that. Silly time of the year to be getting married outside, methinks.

Namsangol - Traditional Korean Village. Bloody cold.

Tourist info at Namsangol.

Nice pond.

Lucky well. Blew my 40 Won.

Cold tourists. Fairly freezing this place.

Preparing for a traditional Korean wedding.

Music please.

Groom in maroon.

Nice hanbok - traditional Korean clothing.

Bride refusing to show her face. Not until she agrees to get married that is.

We were unable to visit Namsan Seoul Tower as the road was closed due to icy conditions. We jumped off at Changedeokgung to visit the Ttok Kitchen Utensils Museum, a private museum. They showed how rice cakes and kim chee were made. Yippee, I have been to a museum about kim chee. Once on the bus Seun-hyeon told the guide that Yu-Jin was only four and they refunded his money.

Ttok Museum.

The kids just wanted to play in the snow and Miky and I wanted to see Changdeokgung. We had 30 minutes and that was certainly enough time in -3 degrees C. Our plan was to catch the next bus. It's amazing how quickly you can sightsee when it is freezing cold. Finished our little tour on the dot and our group of friends were nowhere to be seen. They were in the nice, warm cafe. It allowed the kids to play for another half hour.

Entrance to Changdeokgung. The 600th anniversary - 1405-2005.

Main hall at Changdeokgung.

Frozen pond in the garden out the back.

Buildings in the garden. Not the sort of place to be hanging out in winter, one would have thought.

How the kids spent the time while we had a look at the palace.

Our last stop was Cheongwadae (The Blue House) where the President resides. A security bloke popped his head on the bus before we were allowed to enter the grounds. The mountain backdrop was awesome. Whilst waiting for Mr Jo to pick us up to go out for tea Yu-Jin and I went to the toilet. By the time we finished a group of 30 to 40 protesters, farmers upset by the importation of rice, had gathered and were singing what sounded like a very nice song. The police mobilised very quickly. I was happy to see democracy alive and well and no force being used upon them.

Out the front of the Blue House - the President's residence. Looks more like green to me. Or maybe turquoise. Perhaps they don't have turquoise in Korean.

Protesting rice farmers appeared out of nowhere. And so did the police/security to keep them in check.

Mr Jo and Mr Kim hadn't met before and to be friends they had to drink together. I was poured a drink and it sat there the whole night. The proceeded to get sloshed and I even had my drink by the end of the night. Big meal of mince and kimchee with side dishes was had. Mr Jo wished to go to a no rae bang (karaoke lounge) after tea. I said that he'd managed to get me to have a drink but no way would I be singing.

The no rae bang was next door and whilst Mr Jo can hold a tune, Mr Kim can really belt out a decent song. Mr first song was "You are my sunshine", followed with "Love me tender" and finally "Layla" - not the acoustic version. Miky even sang a song and she was really good. Yu-Jin sang a couple of songs even though he didn't know the words and certainly couldn't read them from the screen.

We spent over an hour there before Mr Jo called for a skipper to drive us to Mr Kim's apartment. They provide a very popular service as Korean's love to drink and probably would prefer not to drive. It was -5 degrees C.

Mr Kim and Mr Jo polished off a bottle of red and Mr Jo had scoffed some 50% proof cognac, which he very soon regretted. We also had pizza, garlic sticks, dried fish, walnuts, kim, pine nuts, strawberries, apple, nashi pear and mandarines. Didn't hit the sack until 11:30. What a huge day.


Joe said...

Great pics again, Hammy. Thanks for sharing. I'll need never go there now since you've already taken the trip for me!

Hammy said...

Thanks Joe. I was hoping that, although I may be overloading you with pics and info, it may still inspire you to visit. There's plenty of the country that I haven't cast my critical eye over.

I'm a sharing kind of guy.