March 3rd, 2005

Pink fairy

Sightseeing on March 1st

March 1st was a holiday here in Korea, so Chris had the day off. I'm not sure what the holiday was, I think it was the Korean Independence day, but we didn't see any celebrations. Someone told Chris that it was just another excuse to have a day off and drink. Whatever it was, it gave us the chance to do some sight seeing.

We went to the Korean Folk Village. The Village is south of Seoul, just outside the city limits. It took us about 45 minutes by car to get there, and that was mainly because of traffic. The Village had traditional houses and buildings of an era gone by. Most of the houses had earthen floors and very little in the way of decoration. Very utilitarian. There were traditional playgrounds, swings made of thick ropes and wooden logs to stand on, not sit. See saws were just a stack of hay as the fulcrum and a 2x4 piece of wood. Maya enjoyed playing on both - what more does a child need?

We saw a performance of a tightrope walker. He was very agile and quick on the tightrope and I am pretty sure he was no less than 50 years old! Spry and healthy and so nimble on that rope! There were some cool shops, of course, of traditional art and items. Maya got a handpainted sun umbrella. I picked up some paper folded dolls (to use of my scrapbook pages, of course).

Lunch was a traditional Korean meal. Kimchi, beef stew, rice with vegetables. Sorry, but it left much to be desired for me. Korean food, not so much. Nadia seemed to agree, she chowed down on the package of goldfish we brought.

Also, there was a lake there that was completely frozen over. I did get pictures of Chris and Maya standing on the lake! Crazy they were to go out there, but there were lots of other people walking and skating on the lake, so I guess it was safe enough. No way was I going out there though!

What was really weird about this village was that right next to it was an amusement park. It was so strange. But anyway, we went and Maya wanted to go on the roller coaster! So, I took her on her first roller coaster ride. It wasn't like the ones at Magic Mountain, but it was fast and fun. She loved it! Unfortunately, my camera battery had died by this time, but I did save the ticket!

Afterwards, we headed back to Erik's place (did I mention who he is? he's the reason we're here - he was Chris' college roommate and owner of the company that Chris works for here in Korea.). First we drove around and picked up food for dinner. Then we went back to his place and played games and hung out for a while. Got back to our hotel room around 9pm, which wasn't too bad. The girls had fallen asleep in the car from Erik's place to our place. Got them into bed and then we crashed as well. Over all, not a bad day.

Until next time,
Pink fairy

Koreans, Koreans everywhere!

Ok, what I'm about to write is just terrible. I can't believe I even felt like this, I am so ashamed. I'd be offended if I read this by someone else, but what to do? This is what I felt and so, I blog it.

When we first arrived in Seoul, I was totally overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of people. And there were a lot of people who greeted us when we got to Chris' office. And maybe it was because I was so tired and overwhelmed, but my first instinct was "how am I going to tell them all apart?"

Isn't that just awful? Of course they don't all look alike. Now that I've been here a few days, somewhat adjusted to the time difference, I see that they are all unique people, just like any other race. But I guess at first, I was just overwhelmed by everything and just saw everyone as the same people. God, I never thought I would have felt that. I'd be so offended if anyone said that all Indian people look alike and how do you tell them apart. My first thought would be "what a racist!". But here I was thinking and feeling the same thing of all Korean people.

I am going to attribute it to my lack of sleep on the plane and the stress I was under and just being plain tired and out of it. What else can explain my apparent lack of cultural sensitivity??