Posts Tagged Seoul

Seoul Museum of Art

The Seoul Museum of Art has an Andy Warhol exhibit. On Saturday, my friends and I decided to play culture vultures for the day and check it out.

Warhol was a print maker, filmmaker, producer and author.  He created beauty out of everyday iconic American products, claiming he liked boring things.  Some say that he even took common products and turned them into the iconic products we have in our minds today.

Andy Warhol coined the phrase “fifteen minutes of fame” because he thought even the smallest or most common things would all find their way into the spotlight at one point or another.

We waited in line for twenty minutes just to get a ticket, then waited another 20 minutes to enter the special exhibit area.  It was worth braving the cold to get a glimpse of this extraordinary collection.

To see the artwork, everyone had to stand in crowded lines.  Circling the rooms, we stayed three feet from the walls, looking at images of soup cans, Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvester Stallone and other famous faces.

My friend Asten and I pose with The Banana.  :mrgreen:

Directions:  City Hall Station.  Take exit 1 from Dark Blue Line 1.  Directly out of the subway you’ll turn left and walk along a palace wall until you see the sign for Seoul Museum of Art.

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Food Week 2009

I love food.  So, why not go to the Food Week Expo?

Overall, a fun experience.   Big crowds, pushy old ladies, long lines, but the free samples of amazing Korean food made up for any of these annoyances.

<– samples of rice cakes and salad with onions

It was only 3,000 Won to get into the Expo.  Located at the COEX mall in Samseong, giant exhibition halls hold events such as this.  So after eating delicious food, we went shopping. Win-win situation.

People wandered around getting into various lines and sampling mostly traditional Korean foods.  Such a good way to try new cuisine and drinks.

Organic food was a big part of this Expo.  Fresh vegetables, juices, and teas…. wonderful.

<— soo many mushrooms

Transgenic animals were even featured in this Expo.  I was surprised to find a bin of pigs and chickens in the back of a food expo.  How funny?!

These are animals that have heightened genetic qualities.  The pigs on display were possible heart transplant candidates.  The chickens were producing eggs that contained more vitamins in the white part of the egg.   I’m fascinated at what science can do these days.

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More Street Food

At all hours of the day and night delicious food can be found.

Fish biscuits are a common street food.  I’ve seen them in every part of Seoul I have visited.  My students eat these too.  They’re cheap and yummy.  (I’ve never actually eaten one, but I hear all about them.)  They’re a sweet bread filled with a bean paste.  Usually costing only 500Won ~ $0.45.

Ahhhh, mandu.  Meat or kimchi filled dumplings.  Every night, like clockwork, a mandu truck sits in random spots throughout Sanbon.  It’s always packed with people enjoying these tiny cones of goodness.  To accent the mandu, there is always a warm broth you can drink for free.

Egg bread is usually the I’m-about-to-get-on-the-subway-snack.  It’s cornbread with an egg cooked in the center.  Two of these for 1,000Won.  Seth rarely ever passes these up when heading into Seoul.

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War Memorial of Korea

Not that I like war, but the War Memorial of Korea was worth visiting.

Korea has long bloody history of battles and hardships.  The Memorial has done a wonderful job of displaying Korea’s strength and endurance.  This country has been invaded, attacked and colonized by other countries.  Still today, they feel the effects of the cold war being a divided country between North and South.  Through all this, the people of Korea have held onto their culture and heritage with pride.

Created as a national treasure, this is a drum of war.  The detail was stunning.

Oh and a few months ago I made this tiny model of a dragon boat, but I had no idea what exactly it was…

…now I do. :razz: It’s actually a Turtle Battleship, an important Korean military invention.  Notice the spikes on top!  Canons poked out tiny holes surrounding the ship.  Plus, it was small enough to maneuver easily in rough waters.

The Memorial was filled with everything from ancient relics of battle to jet fighter planes.  Off to the side of the main building was an entire field full of military planes, tanks and ships.  It was also interesting to see that a wedding was taking place in the middle of all these vehicles of war.  People can use a designated open square outside of the Memorial for weddings.  Apparently it happens quite often.  Weird.

<– Statue of Brothers

This memorial was built to represent the split between North and South.  Many families were separated when the country divided.  Inside the dome, beautiful mosaic tile depicted Korean flags.  Light shined through colorful stained glass in bright oranges and reds through the crack/divide of the two representative sides.

Touching and informative, I walked away with a sadness for this strange country that I have come to love.

Directions: the easiest way is to take a bus because it lets you off at the gate, but if you take Line #4 on the subway it’s a 3 minute walk from Exit 12.

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… Marks the Spot

Recently I went to the National Folk Museum of Korea.  Located at Gyeongbok Palace, the outside scenery was gorgeous.  Most of the exhibit was in Korean and I had no idea what I was looking at, but the paintings and displays were amazing.  Not understanding the language has definitely made my trips to museums shorter than normal, but I still love going to look around.

Tall and scary, these carved wooden poles caught my interest.  I’m sure this sort of thing can be found in just about any country’s history.   The tallest poles were placed outside of a territory or larger region.  The smaller poles were made to mark individual tribes of people.  I do not know what colors represented what or what type of carvings on each of the poles mean, but I find them fascinating.   Poles inside the museum were some of the original markers of this region.

National Folk Museum South Korea_291

Anguk Station, exit 1.   3,000 Won will get you onto the palace grounds and then the museum is free to enter.

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Everland

This amusement park was fun and reminded me of home.  It’s fun to be silly and scream on roller coasters.   Everland is themed ‘Happy Halloween’ for September and October.  Decorated in pumpkins and ghosts, the place looked amazing.

Spooky fun houses, pumpkin parades, laser tag with ghosts… I don’t know how it could have been anymore fun.  American Adventureland displayed 1950’s advertisements and blared Elvis records.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Double Rock and Spin’ ride where I was flipped upside down and spun around soooo fast that I was thankful I took Dramamine.

On a non-ride side, the rose gardens were gorgeous.  Giant windmills towered over rainbow squares of roses.   People walked around all day wearing cat, bunny or tiger ears.  Even the guys were sporting some rockin’ faux-fur ears.   I loved it!

For me, the easiest way to get to Everland was to take the subway to Suwon.  From there, I caught a non-stop shuttle bus that took about 40 minutes.  It only cost me 4,000Won (~$4) which was worth every Won not to have to ride the city bus for 2 hours.

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Traditional Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony was held at Gyeongbokgung (Palace).  This was the third tea ceremony to be held this summer.  It focused on the daily tea ceremony using powdered tea with a lecture on the health benefits of tea.

My favorite tea was the Hibiscus tea, it was red and sweet.  Everyone walked along the table sampling the various teas, most of which were cold, and several different rice cakes.  Beautiful table cloths in blues, purple and silver were covered in real flowers and gorgeous serving ware.  It is always fun to see the traditional hanbok outfits because they are just stunning.  Along with the tea lecture and tasting, there was traditional music being played.  I do enjoy Korean culture.

Palace grounds.  A very peaceful place.

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Good Mexican Food

Who knew?  Good Mexican food does exist in Korea.  I have had plenty of half-hearted Mexican dishes and a few pathetic imitations, but finally I know where I can get a great enchilada.  On The Border.   This place is in Sinchon off of exit 4, just around the corner.  It’s really close to the subway.  Prices were moderate to high, but when you haven’t had cheese in a few weeks, it doesn’t matter how much you have to pay.  Their margarita selection was quite amazing too.  I will definitely be going back.

Oh, and the best part was that they served cheese dip.  It doesn’t quite compare to the white cheese dip with jalapeno pieces, but it will do just fine.  This was more of a melted Velveeta concoction with a can of Rotel mixed in for flavor.

The chicken enchiladas were wonderful. Also covered in the cheese sauce, these hit the spot.  Now, add in some black beans and rice… it’s the perfect meal.  I didn’t realize how much I missed black beans until I had the option of ordering them.  Yum.

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Cookin’ Nanta

Nanta is a (mostly) non-verbal performance.  I was blown away by this amazing show.  Knives and various kitchen items are transformed into musical instruments that overtake the audience with a mesmerizing sound.  Martial arts dancing, traditional Korean instruments, singing and chanting are all part of Nanta.   The entire audience was bouncing in their seats.

Since arriving in Korea, we have heard praises for this performance.  Nanta exceeded our expectations.

Take the subway to City Hall Station (Line 2) and walk past Deoksugung Palace. It’s about 500m from there.

I’d also like to report that the in-laws boarded the airport shuttle just before noon today.  Their flight leaves later this afternoon.  It was so nice to have them around.  Plus, unless you see this place first-hand, you will never really understand how amazing it really is.

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Mothman’s Girlfriend?

Found in the Seoul Zoo… Mothman’s girlfriend.  She was smiling and wearing a tobogan that read ‘Seoul Korea’.

She wasnt scary

She wasn't scary

Mothmans Girlfriend... maybe...

Mothman's Girlfriend... maybe...

For those of you that don’t know who the Mothman is… it’s this scary creature supposedly living in WV.  People come from all over America to try and catch a glimpse of this mythical being.   Is he real?  I don’t know.  But many people have seen or felt it’s paranormal presence.  Even movies have been made with the Mothman as inspiration.

Halfway around the world, and it still surprises me when I run across things that remind me of home.

Mothman Waits | 365 Prep THE MOTHMAN!

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