Sunday, August 12, 2007

Seoul Tower

Today was a bit of a lazy morning. We stayed home until lunch listening to the rain fall, and watching some english TV programs on my friend's computer. I went out for lunch with his family to a restaurant where you cook meat on a grill over hot coals right at your table. The meat is then put onto a leaf of lettuce, or sesame leaves, sauce and rice are added, and the leaf is then wrapped around all of it and you eat it like a little bundle. It was fun to do, and tasted really good. After lunch we met another friend at a traditional Korean village that was set up-kinda like Upper Canada village, with model houses and other buildings. We had traditional tea and cookies, and toured the area. It was interesting to see their old fashioned things, and how similar they are to some of our old fashioned things. We don't however have a teepee made of straw with barrels set in the ground inside of it to house kimchi and pickles. I couldn't guess the purpose for this structure. It was nice to see my other friend again. Since we last met he stayed in Canada for a while, and now has 2 kids, one of them was born in Canada. He had to get home to his family, so it was a shorter visit than we had expected.

Now just the two of us went to a market area of Seoul to have a look. I was told that it was crowded and that there was energy there. I had never seen such a market, people selling anything from silkworm larvae (to eat) to purses to pickles to socks to T-shirts with the strangest English I've ever seen on them. I'm sure some of them have just copied error messages from computers and put them on shirts, or else they choose the words because they look cool, not because of the sense of them. It was pouring rain on and off, and although there were some tarps slung up over the stalls we were getting pretty wet, and the vendors looked to be closing up. We went to a department store and found some books with the cutest English (or almost English) phrases on them. Some of them are rather poetic in the round about way they get to the point of the sentence, others simply took dictionary definitions and made that the text of the design.

After the store we went to see the southernmost gate of Seoul (historically that is). Currently it is surrounded by traffic on all sides, but it proved to be a good refuge from the rain, and had a particularly interesting ceiling painting of 2 dragons. After resting inside the arch of the gate and waiting for the rain to calm down, we took a cab and got dinner, then went to Seoul tower. The tower is on a hill, and even so is not as tall as the CN tower, but you make the approach to the base of the tower by cable car, which for me was quite scary. We were there after dark, so even though it was rainy the view of the lights was still gorgeous. I've never seen such a fantastic night view. The river was lit up, and the bridges twinkled with hundreds of car headlights and tail lights. After making several slow loops around the observation deck and sitting and enjoying the view for quite a while we came down from the tower, and down from the cable car, and back to my friend's home.

Another long and wonderful day. Tomorrow we're going to meet another friend in the evening, but maybe take it a bit easier in the day. Hopefully with nice weather we can go for a walk, or bike by the Han River. I'm finding the beautiful places that are hidden in the busy city. The crowds and noise in the city make the peaceful quiet places that we are finding seem even more delightful. I'm having a wonderful time.

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