Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend 34 of 52.

Grease, Bukchon Hanok Village Walking Tour

On Saturday night, Dan and I dressed up for a proper date to Chungmuro to see the musical Grease. I'm a girl. I had a strange middle-school affinity for the Bee Gees. I like Grease. Dan agreed to see it with me because he likes me, and he likes Korea. We knew all the dialogue would be in Korean, obviously, but we thought maybe the songs would still be in English. We were a little bit right. Pretty much all of the song titles were sung in English as they came up in the lyrics, but that was then promptly exchanged for rapid-fire Korean. It went a little something like this*: Summer lovin' 핫 미 어 브라스트, summer lovin' 합엔드 소 바스트. Greased Lightnin' was probably the most entertaining song for the collective us, as it was sung with a very enthusiastic vibrato and an endearingly incorrect pronunciation.

Things of note:
-The girls were way better singers than the boys. Rizzo was by far the most talented in our cast.
-The boys are hard to tell apart from very far away (which is where we were sat). I couldn't tell Kenickie from Sonny from Doody. Danny was always easy to spot, though, since he spends most of his time being followed around by swooning girls cooing his name.
-You will not see the hand-jive, extol as they might its virtues and opine about its life-defining importance. That made me sad.
-The second half of the curtain call consists of the T-Birds ripping their shirts off and gyrating for the girls with floor seats. It was a bit weird.

So, we enjoyed all of it very much, but I am glad we did not attempt it sooner or with a less familiar show. Though we don't know much Korean, we could easily recognize what we did know, and that was fun for the full first half. The musical numbers were familiar and Koreans are pretty much experts at pantomime. We did start to feel the work of decoding near the middle of the dialogue-heavy second hour, but we pushed through and would reckon it worthwhile.

But then we accidentally ate pork belly for dinner, and that was significantly less pleasant.

Sunday afternoon found us in Bukchon, a traditional village area in Seoul, full of traditional craft and trade workshops and thousands of hanok, traditional homes. We walked through a brief museum at the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center and picked up a map. We really ended up just following all the other people into the hanok maze and spent several hours walking around being amazed. Because it was Sunday, many of the museums and shops were closed, so we hope to go back on a better day to see demonstrations and things like embroidery and knots and chicken art.

Out of the underground into the light at Anguk station.

We started the day with coffee. The cafe was blasting the ever-irrepressible KPop.

Then I got a little embarrassed about my public behavior.

I wore my Redneek Riviera jacket. I'm from there, but I didn't know it was called the Redneck Riviera until I moved here (though my mom did confirm that it is sometimes called that).

This space seems occupied.

Then we fortified at Han's Deli, which I think I've seen before but always ignored. Don't ignore it, you guys, it is perfect Korean fast food. Dan got omurice, and I got bbq chicken that came with rice and coleslaw and four fries. Also, free refills on $1 sodas.

Leaves and baby blueberries at the culture center.


Hanok roofs.

Rich people need ritzy gates.

And fancy doors.

Eaves and locks.

The prettiest hanok we saw.

There were two columns of protruding bricks. We figured they were a ladder.

Bukchon blossoms.


Through a hole in the wall, through a clearing in the trees.

Immediately after I wondered to Dan if the hanok owners hate people constantly walking through their neighborhood, we turned the corner and found this fence.

Wooden doors.

An alleyway.


At the Seolkyoung NAREAOT Workshop. Royal costumes.

We ended our tour at Books and Cooks, a cafe in a re-purposed hanok. So, this would be the basic set up. A courtyard in the middle of the square or u-shaped home, surrounded by conjoined rooms.

Cascading light parade.

Idyllic outdoor seating.

Not reading.

Window and the bathrooms.

A collection of tea sets.

Sun starting to set.


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