Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seoul Korea: Day 1

We spent an extended weekend in Seoul Korea.  Two days sight-seeing and two evening one morning sessions in the Seoul Korea Temple.  The Korean people were very friendly and their English is quite good perhaps because all high schools are required to have a foreign teacher on staff for each foreign language that is taught.  Buildings frequently have signs in Korean, English and sometimes Japanese.

On day 1 we visited these popular tour sites:
Blue House (Presidential Palace)
Chianging of the Guard Ceremony
Gyeongbok Palace
National Folk Museum
Jogyiesa Buddhist Temple
Ginseng Center
Changdeok Palace
Insadong Antique Shop Alley
Namdaemun Market

The first surprise of our Seoul, Korea trip occured as soon as we landed at the airport. Who knew what a spectacular rest room awaited us. I never use public restrooms in China, so when John came out and said, "You gotta see this one," I skeptically took a peek and came right back out to fetch my camera. My Chinese students look at these photos in amazement declaring that they look like they've never been used. 
This is a Korean airport public restroom entrance!
The Mother's room with a cute comode for the little ones.
Spacious and CLEAN
THIS is why I fetched my camera:

The public art in Korea is incredible. Every other corner of Seoul has some kind of statuary. The whole city is a feast for the eyes. And it is so clean and orderly.

The next 4 photos were taken at a functioning Buddhist Temple. By functioning I mean the place was packed with senior citizens praying for the prosperity and good fortune of their families. The piles of offerings at the foot of each statue was impressive. was this colorful canopy near the entrance of the temple yard.

Here is the entrance gate to one of the biggest palaces in Korea. If you look closely at the edge of the roof you'll see small monkey statues lined up. These indicate the importance of the building because the wee statues are protecting it. They are only found on the buildings belonging to the emperor. 

The morning posting of the colors at the palace entrance. 

Gotta love a man in uniform.
Here comes the Band.  

I am so glad we had a chance to see some of the exhibits in this museum. It gave a nice over-view of Korea's past.

Even had some displays of the folk art of other countries, like Africa.

These are Kimchi pots. Within their depths lie mouth scalding culinary creations for which Korea is well known.  If you like a nine-alarm fire in your mouth, you'll love Kimchi.
This is how you'll feel (and maybe look) if you eat a lot of Kimchi.
This cute little display shows some of the foods from which Kimchi is made. Nice disguise. 
Statuary Ode to a Kimchi Lover
....and his friends

War Memorial
...perhaps the theme of this might be: haven't quite got it together  ...aka N. vs S. Korea

The famous Ginseng Root. These specimen are six-year old roots. Look eerily human.

Your typical Korea Emperor's throne room. Nice light fixtures.

...note the importance of the building. Monkeys on guard.

Korean 119 emergency vehicle 

More surprising public art. 

Fun, orderly, crowded outdoor market.

And the award for most interesting display of dried fish:

Yum. Who doesn't love the crunch of roasted larva?

Our reason for going to Korea in the first place: the LDS Seoul Korea Temple...another bucket list check off.

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