Sunday, March 14, 2010
Weekend 2 of 52.
Dos Tacos, the Seodaemun Prison, Independence Park
Since our second weekend in Seoul coincides with Dan's birthday, I asked him to pick our weekend thing. He picked the Seodaemun Prison in Hyeonjeo. Seodaemun Prison was built by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea. It was used to house resistance patriots and to hide their torture. We were given a guided tour by a thirteen year old Korean girl whose chosen English name was Hermione. She was extremely well spoken and very reverent. Having come to Korea by way of Dan's interest in Japan, neither of us knew much about Japan's oppression of Korea, but I am struck in these places by the need always to treat humans as humans, never as less. There is a link in the sidebar that goes into more detail about the prison.
We started our weekend by walking to the subway. This horse and gate were on the way.
There's a lot of interesting juxtaposition in this country, buildings, personalities, technology, cultural mores.
We had our first taste of Mexican food in Asia at Dos Tacos in Hongdae. It was very good. They brought us one drink to share again, which is our favorite way to have a drink. Dan had the bulgogi burrito, and I had a chimichanga with no cheeju. I was going to ask for no cheese in Korean (cheejuppeh, joosehyo), but I wussed out. I will be braver next time. Cabbage is a big thing in Korea, and it showed up here, too. I liked it.
I was trying inconspicuously to take a picture of the menu, but I failed at that.
Dan especially liked and so photographed this poster.
After lunch, it was back down to the subway. We had two transfers to make. This was underground.
We made it to Hyeonjeo. There are mountains there.
Just peaking out behind the tops of buildings.
A better view.
Prison building and the building that housed leprous prisoners.
The prison also serves as a museum with artifacts and animatronics depicting scenes of prison life and certain tortures. This was in a sentencing/execution room. Dan sat on a chair that simulated hanging. Hermione told us that it used to be a more significant drop but that customers complained it was too scary. It did seem pretty jarring.
The Korean flag.
Front wall and watch tower.
Pepsi vending machine next to the Korean flag. Pepsi, are you trying to be ironic?
There are two poplar trees planted by the execution building, around which there is a wall. The one planted outside the wall grew tall and strong, while the one planted inside the wall is stunted. The Koreans attribute this to its commiseration with those here tortured and executed.
The Patriotic Martyrs Monument in Independence Park.
Dongnimmun, the Independence Arch, which Hermione informed us was fashioned after the Arc de Triomphe.
Buildings beyond Independence Park. This looks like one giant billboard.
And then back in the subway where Dan bought an Oran-C.
So tonight we are going to some sort of hip hop type concert and a Korean Barbecue for Dan's birthday. It should be fun.