Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Weekend 9 of 52.
The War Memorial of Korea, The Story of King Sejong Exhibition Hall, Admiral Yi Sun-Shin Musuem, Insadong
On Friday night, we were invited to A Passover Celebration put on by Ms. Teresa's class. It was our second Passover this year, and we really enjoyed it. The students had reading parts throughout the Haggadah and we witnessed some fine circle dancing. Dinner was sushi, fried chicken, and pizza. Totally kosher.
Saturday we met up with Korrine to see the War Memorial of Korea. War vehicles of all kinds are set up outdoors and absorbed a lot of our time. Korrine only had the morning free, so we decided to skip a lot of the indoor exhibits instead of rushing through. We aim to return, though, because I really want to see the Korean War room.
After lunch, which is always serendipitously amazing when we three are together (beef porridge), Dan and I went on our own to try and find Insadong. I had read about it in a "24 Hours in Seoul" article I found online, and we keep trying (and failing) to find it based on my hazy recollection of the vague directions given in the article. I knew the directions said something about Gwangwhamun and turning left, so went to the Gwhanghwamun Plaza and found that the statue of King Sejong had a gateway to the underground in it! We walked down and found The Story of King Sejong Exhibition Hall and, just beyond it, the Admiral Yi Sun-Shin Musuem. It was really, really cool. Everything was interactive, with puzzles and video games and walk throughs. We even got interviewed for a young man's college project. I hope we passed.
After our brief educational experience, we set out again for Insadong. Dan hijacked some wifi from a coffee shop and found real directions. We made our way through a winding maze to a veritable hub of souvenir and art dealings. It was teeming with Westerners and proved one of those quintessential experiences. I noted to Dan how culture shocked we'd be if we'd tried that earlier on, that our first night in Seoul we were completely stunned by just a grocery/department store. How far we've come.
So then we went to Myeongdong for some chicken galbi, the spiciest dinner of my lifetime. It is nice to have the odd chicken respite in this red meat (or no meat) country.
Fenced in blooms on our way to the school for the Passover Celebration.
The Daun-Jin Jewish Passover Celebration April 30th 2010.
Our table. I liked that they put up country flags.
Our Seder plate.
Mr. Brent put together the Haggadah and led the Seder. He was so good at engaging the kids and making sure they understood. This was during the disposal of yeast.
Heads down during the hiding of the Afikomen.
At the War Memorial. The statue of two brothers and the dome beneath them. The two brothers represent soldiers from the disparate Koreas.
The Korean War Monument and a water mine.
Korrine transporting her unit.
Dan is too big for war.
I think these are flags of countries that assisted the Republic of Korea during the Korean War, but I cannot be sure.
Us not going up.
Korrine checking out the "Attitude Indicator", which we're sure measures altitude instead.
The Memorial's website has a lot of details about the different vehicles.
To me, they are called "planes".
Pretty with the flowers.
Wearing our game faces.
A photo of the three of us, stolen from Korrine's Facebook.
A lighted fountain in the Memorial Hall.
A model of things we've seen in real life (or at least similar things).
Man, I totally know all about this war and who won and the implications of that, and I definitely learned it way before the year after I graduated from college. So everyone can calm down now, Dan.
Armor. I thought the guy on the right looked like Bernie from "Weekend at Bernie's", which I completely loved growing up.
A turtle ship. We were able to walk through one later in Admiral Yi Sun-Shin's Musuem.
The building. Dan for scale.
Dried fish heads on our way to lunch. They are spookier than this in real life.
Under King Sejong. These girls were playing Beatles' songs on their traditional instruments. The girl on the right controlled the tones almost entirely by squeezing the correct pressure. That is insane.
Bells. I told Dan to put his arms up, and this is what he did.
Inside the turtle ship. Little canons and soldiers for scale. We have found that Korean curators are always incredibly adept at English and always offer us excellent information without solicitation. We very much appreciate this. We were told that out of the mouth of the dragon head came an obstructing steam to keep the enemy from seeing the boat's approach, and that that spiky shell served to subvert sword warfare.
Dan finishing a puzzle of the turtle ship and posing with a garbed dude.
When we got back above ground, it was just in time to see a processional, we think from Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Lanterns lining the streets.
The alley maze to Insadong.
So, we saw what we thought was a second story toy store, but what was ultimately a toy museum with an entrance fee. It was a strange, but prolific, assortment of toys strewn haphazardly around one room.
Don't touch Please--!!^^ Just for viewing.
We followed these lotus lanterns to a Buddhist temple, and it felt like the movies. Soon we will be going to an entire festival of lanterns, and I am pretty excited about how that will feel.