Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekend 11 of 52.

Soul Underground Session at Cafe Soul Underground, Lotus Lantern Festival

On Friday night, Dan and I (as the Bell & the Hammer) got the chance to play a show at Cafe Soul Underground. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience, and I will blog about it over at our band's site and we'll be posting videos of it there as well. I am going to steal (with permission) some pictures from some of the teachers at school.

The Lotus Lantern Festival is an annual celebration of Buddha's birth. It is a three day street festival culminating in a lantern parade. We attended the closing parade on Sunday evening, and it was very much like Disney's Electric Light Parade, but with lantern floats, and that is now the third time I've described it as such. I guess some people aren't that impressed with it, but we really enjoyed ourselves. The lanterns everywhere were beautiful, and sometimes it's fun to feel the full force of Seoul's population. After the parade, Dan and I sought some quiet down by Cheonggyecheon Stream. We and all the other young couples of Seoul. It is a lover's respite after sunset, it seems. The stream is fast becoming one of our favorite features of this city.

Lanterns by the stream.

Lantern carriers readying for the parade. The women on the right are in Hanbok.

No large-scale Korean event would be complete without some b-boying. They like to represent. But, in addition to this very modern performance, we also saw some traditional drumming and things.

There was a booth for making lotus flowers out of, I think it was "beautiful paper", but you had to ask Andy 4 help, and, really, it was a task even to approach the booth, so we walked on.

We received free Fanta Shakers. I honestly can't remember anything about it but the texture. It was like when you eat jello and then swish it up in your mouth and then swallow, but, instead of cool jello it was warm soda, so... not awesome. Hundle, hundle!

Dan with lanterns. So, listen, I am an exceedingly lazy picture taker. I am not very adventurous, but I sat on the ground to take this picture, because I was using my dad's old telephoto lens, and I needed some distance. And a nice English speaking woman saw me do this and very congenially asked if I was getting some good shots. And then I was embarrassed, and I will now probably go back to being lame and lazy.

It's such a magical little canopy of lanterns.

This seems like cheating to me.

The concentration of hanging lanterns is at the Buddhist temple. "This way is for the monk. You may use the side doors". I have read it described that the holiday is like Christmas, how there are some devoted to the religious observance, but mostly it's a chance for a fun time.

Buddha looks like he's getting ready to address the crowd, but that's impossible because he is made out of gold, and gold can't talk (that's money's job- booyah).

We snaked through the maze to Insadong to find dinner, but we eventually made our way back to a window seat in Dunkin Donuts along the parade route. Once the parade started, we went outside and staked out some space.

Discarded festival items.

So, we were sat in Dunkin Donuts for a time, and this is what we young people with cameras do for time-wasting.

Me always with the face on the right.

Outside and ready for the parade to begin.

I don't truthfully know what any of this is, so I will make things up and declare them definitively (read: with exclamation points). Kings and queens!

Elephant on the run!

Fancy mountain!

I can never remember what this animal is (but I know who won the Civil War, you guys). A tiger, right?

Lanterns, lanterns everywhere!

I liked the lone straw hat in the midst of all the revelry.

Throwing up signs!

Buddha and lady friend!

Elephant with movable parts!

Fire breathing dragons!

Lighted wind socks!

Ladies dancing inside giant flowers!

Baby Buddhas and cartoons!

The stream at nighttime.

A water screen designed to mask the smell of "sewerage" according to a posted informational plaque. I appreciate their honesty. It also said that to go behind the screen is dangerous. Too bad.

We saw some young lovers nestled together in the wooded area down by the edge of the water, so we nestled ourselves for a bit. We saw some arty mechanical projected flowers.

And an even artier art gallery. Our second randomly attended art gallery. Yay, Seoul!

I heard Dan say he was preparing some more nerdy posts. Be looking forward to that.



  1. I have SO been looking forward to photos from the lantern festival ever since you mentioned its existence! It's so magical! You two lucky kids :)

    I'm enjoying attending your show via YouTube. Thank you, internet and Dan, for allowing this to happen. Sounds amazing!

  2. We are really lucky to be here, it's true.

    And thank you for virtually attending our show!