Sunday, October 05, 2008

Drums, Beers, and Temples

Well, loads of pictures, and many more to come as John has been snapping shots like the paparazzi. So many pictures weren't posted because I was making the "oh please don't take my picture...again" face. I guess it's nice though, because I don't have to spend the time taking the shots, yet I still get the benefit of having awesome pictures and great memories.

This weekend we had another long weekend. We've been pretty fortunate since we've been here to have quite a few days off. This holiday was called "Foundation Day" which celebrates the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty.

We started the weekend by checking out a Drum Festival on Friday afternoon. This month marks the beginning of the Hi Seoul festival, so there is a lot happening this month I think. Anyway, the drum festival turned out to be pretty cool. When we arrived, there were demo tables of all sorts of different types of drums, most traditional, and John turned into a kid in a candy store and had to touch and play every single one. The best though, was when we were watching this "famous" drum instructor in a big crowd and I guess he asked for a volunteer to play the second drum kit with famous guy and I am pretty sure he said it in Korean, but John magically understood and shot his hand up right away. Being six foot four, and very white, he kind of stands out, so they picked him and he got to jam with this guy. It was really cool, he's totally the guy that wants to be up on stage, or picked as a volunteer. Its great, cause then I get to turn into the camera man. At the end of the night there was a big performance with all sorts of percussion groups, so we stayed and watched most of it, it was nice to spend the day in Seoul Forest, just hangin out.

On Saturday morning we finally had our furniture arrive! We have been quite excited to actually have somewhere to sit, put our clothes, and use the computer!! Our house feels a lot more livable now and I actually really like it. If I imagine that the walls are a different colour, I could even spend some time here...maybe paint is in order? That still wouldn't get me past the 60's flower wallpaper though. That's ok, it's the hospital green that bugs me.

Saturday night we had plans to go to one particular restaurant, however, upon arriving we realized that it no longer exists at the location it once did. The restaurant has not updated their website in a couple of years, I guess. Needless to say, we had a great night hitting up random places. We started out at this Japanese restaurant in Gangnam and had awesome food, including: Tuna Tataki (pictured), Mashed potato tempura -- incredible!, and Chicken Yakitori. We chased that with a bottle of Sake and a couple beers and we were off to a good start. The great thing, or maybe not so great?, about Korean beer is that its really weak, so you can drink a few and feel like you've only had a glass of water. It's really tough to get drunk from local beer.

From the Japanese place, we went to a few random bars just for a single drink, just to check out the area and see what was cool. We found a bar called "Wild Bills" and ended up staying for a few and playing a couple of rounds of darts. It was a bit weird because the darts were all computerized, so we didn't really know what we were doing for the longest time, but we played anyway. After our hours of fun, we decided to take the subway home, but failed to realize that we would only be able to take it to Sadang station before it closed and we got kicked off. So we were stuck about a 30 minute drive away from home and were forced to take a cab, which wouldn't be so bad, but we were out of cash, and every bank machine we tried was denying us. After about 20 minutes of looking and wandering, we finally found a machine that worked, grabed some cash and got a cab.

The cab ride in iteslf was interesting. First when we told the driver where we were going he cackeled with joy because it would be a long ride. Then once he started moving, he proceeded to turn on his tv and watch some sort of Korean pop culture show...while driving 120km/h! We were a little freaked, but we arrived in one piece. We were tempted to go to one last bar near our home, but I was pretty tired, so we folded and went to bed.

Sunday was interesting as well, we woke up and took it easy and then I remembered a hike that I had done a couple of years ago up to a shamanistic temple called Inwangsan. We decided to go hike the mountan and take some photos. It was really neat, there is this one rock, that women go to so that they can pray for a son and there were many women, grandmothers, and even men, praying for boys. We were able to get to a really great lookout point and just sit and view this city, which prompted me, for some reason, to think about drinking tea. So we climbed down the mountain and toward Insadong to have some Korean "Five Taste" tea at an old teashop just off the main drag.

It was a pretty exhausting hike to say the least, but it was really fun and we came home, flopped on our new couch and watched a movie. A really great end to a really great weekend.

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