Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hammy's 2005 Trip To Korea And Japan - Dec 6th

Temp today is -7 to 0 degrees C. Looks like a beaut day. Mr Kim wasn't home when I went to bed last night and he was up and gone before I arose at 7am. After brekkie Heon-soo went to school, which is literally only a stone's throw away. Yun-soo and Yu-Jin went to kindy which is just around the corner from the apartment. I wandered down to Seodaemun Independence Park and took many pictures and enjoyed the peace of a snow-filled park. I spotted a mother who was doing laps in the park whilst her baby slept in a stroller. There was an awful lot of work going on up the mountain.

Dongnimmun - 독립문 (spelt Dokribmun) built in 1898 to reaffirm the country's determination to be free and self-reliant. Made from granite. Designed by a Swiss engineer who worked for the German minister in Korea. Historic Site No 32.

Statue of Suhr Jae-phil - an activist for national enlightnement and independence. He published Korea's first private newspaper "The Independence" in 1896.

Monument of March First Movement's Independence Declaration. On the 1st of March 1919 national leaders got together in Taehwagwan to open an independence declaration ceremony as a starting point of igniting a nationwide independence movement. Built in 1963 in Pagoda Park but removed in 1979. Rebuilt in Seodaemun Independence Park in 1992. Couple of deros in front of the statue.

Top statue on the monument.

Some detail of the wall art at the monument.

Seoul is surrounded by craggy peaks.

Seoul is surrounded by snow-filled parks.

Memorial Monument to Patriotic Martyrs. It pays tribute to the memory of anti-Japanese activists.

Some detail of the Memorial Monument to Patriotic Martyrs.

Detail showing Ahn Jeung-gwan assassinating the Japanese General on the Memorial Monument to Patriotic Martyrs.

Seodaemun Prison front gate. Many patriotic fighters from the Anti-Japanese Independence Movement were imprisoned, tortured, executed or died here. It was related so Seodaemun Independence Park in 1992.

Kids getting an education about their history.

Koreans don't muck about much when constructing something. Large apartment blocks definitely going up soon.

Booked a DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) tour for myself and Mr Jo with Mercury Tour as recommended by Wendy when we met in Kyeongju. I gave the phone to Seun-hyeon to tell them the phone number of where I was staying and she talked the price down from 46000 Won to 41000.

Miky and I went to Namdaemun and bought some winter track pants. Quite cheap. Went to Shinsegae and bought some pillows, special contoured firm ones that cost around $50 each (on sale!) and a pair of sneakers for me. Lunch was 돌솠비빔밥 (dol sot bi bim bap - hot stone rice mix) and 낙디 (nakdi) in Myeongdong. Caught a taxi to Insadong to look for Admiral Yi Sun-shin's statue for Yu-Jin. Every shop in Insadong told us that it would be very difficult to find. They weren't wrong. If you wanted to pay a small fortune you could buy a turtle boat in a glass box. Discovered a couple of statues for 24000 and 25000 Won but they weren't anything that Yu-Jin could play with.

Namdaemun - South Gate. Forgive my indulgence in posting lots of pics as I love this gate. It was first constructed in 1398 and is designated as National Treasure No 1.






Impressive building decorations for Christmas - Shinsaegae Department Store.

Even the trees were well decorated. Fair bit of light pollution eminating from Seoul at Christmas time no doubt.

More shopping at Lotte before I went to pick Miky's sister Ju-min up at Shinsegae. Trudged all the way back to Lotte. I was surprised when Miky had asked the Lotte Dept store info girl where Shinsegae Dept store was but this is Korea and they do believe in servicing their customers.

Miky and I decided to buy some turkish pizza and bread pizza (baguette) so that I could take it back to the Kim apartment to help with tea. Mr Kim, who wished to have tea together, was about an hour and a quarter late. We ate from 9 'til 10pm. Yu-Jin had to finish everything on his plate before getting icecream and then it was too cold for him. Shower and bed by 11.

The plan was for Mr Jo to join us about 1-2:30am so that we could go to the DMZ tomorrow. He had some heavy drinking to do beforehand. Said goodbye to Mr Kim before I fell asleep as I wouldn't see him in the morning. Asked Seun-hyeon to wake me by 7 o'clock if I wasn't up. Miky and Ju-min stayed in a hotel after spending one and a half hours looking for a place. She didn't sound at all happy on the phone either.

Random picture from inside the subway.

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