Sunday, May 27, 2012
My Korean Tour
Korea is a country of ultra modern clashing with cultures of old.
People still bow their head to you, a man cleaning the restroom was on his hands and knees scrubbing, talk about devotion and discipline.
The people seem to be incredibly fit and slim for the most part, Im not sure if it is a healthy diet or lots of exercise but most of the men seem to be ripped.
I would have a twelve hour layover in Seoul, I had thought about changing my ticket so I could spend more time here but I have a rule that one day is all that is needed to get the gist of any capital city.
So I stuck to that rule, exchanged some cash and started web surfing to see what the city had to offer, and well surprisingly enough, the searching was not so good.
I knew this could not be true as this city has to be rich in heritage so I decided to just go hail a cab and see how much it would cost me to have him drive me around the major sites.
As it turned out there were two separate agencies offering city tours, the extended would be six hours, the short would be two hours.
They would verify your flights to make sure a tour would work for you, how can you lose out?
I went ahead and booked the tour, not something I usually do as I am not much for formal traveling but with only one day, not speaking any of the language, and reading their boards like a two year old staring at a chemistry book.
The tour was excellent and I would visit the Chang Deok Gung Palace being to me one of the main focuses, what an amazing place and is one of the five important palaces in Korea.
We would also visit the Cheonggyecheon stream which is now a park but preserved and honoring a time when people would visit the stream to wash their clothes. The top part of the walkway was a bubbling brook with statues lining the rest of the stream which lit up at night.
We would have lunch and I would become a Fan of Old style Kim Chi, a fermented food which is buried in pots and very popular in the county and are yummi!!! We also had the choice of a main dish which I chose Bulgogi which is pork, noodles and vegetables boiled.
The best part of the lunch was it was included in the price of the tour.
After lunch we would have time to do a little shopping where I would purchase a wonderful hand fan which was hand painted, I absolutely love items which are personally crafted with fine materials.
We then would visit the Jogysesa Temple which is a buddist temple. The area was amazing, covered with paper lanters your mind was simply in bliss as you walked beneath them. In the temple people were praying everywhere, they were putting out prayer mats and enjoying buddism myself I thought I would say a prayer, however seconds into my praying I would be tapped on the shoulder and asked to leave, apparently the mats were reserved for actual Monks.
After the tour I would stop at a cultural center and listen to some performers dressed in traditional garb play traditional instruments.
Things like this honestly bring a tear to my eye, I find the old instruments of the orient to be hauntingly beautiful, like the wood is truly singing they play. How absolutely relaxing, and then you browse thte gift shop and your hands touch what you should not, soon you ar at the cashier buying something else you should not buy, sigh, thus is