Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011 (Seoul, South Korea)

FEET ON THE GROUND: Spent a lot of time walking through Seoul as part of a tour.
This intriguing calligraphy-brush statue (above) marks one entrance to Insadong, a neighborhood in the Jongno-gu district of the city. There are lots of shops and we strolled the length of it. I expected store owners and workers to try and lure passersby inside, making it a gantlet of sorts. But that didn't happen. We paused to watch a couple of entertaining chefs whip up some kkul tarae. The chefs take a very hard concoction and stretch it into thousands of strands. I dropped 7,000 won on a box of "Cocoa Linings" (about $7). If we eat this with tea, it's better if it is "cold and frozen" (I assume they meant to put an "or" in there instead of "and").
The chefs worked in a singsong manner.

THE GUARDS, THEY ARE A'CHANGIN': Early in the tour (at 10 a.m., actually), we zipped over to Gyeongbokgung Palace to catch the changing of the guard, which revives the glory days of the Joseon period. These guards stood watch over the gates of the city and palace. Responding to the sounds of a large drum. The guards nowadays plant themselves at the Gwanghwamun Gate. The one shown at left is, I think, a Gapso Regular Guard. Of course, I'm not talking about the police officer who seems to be affecting sort of a slouch. We also went to the National Folk Museum, drove quickly by the presidential residence (called the Blue House), and walked through the vast Namdaemun Market.

DOES RYAN HOWARD KNOW HE HAS A FAN CLUB IN SEOUL? The Gyeonghoe-ru Pavilion is one of the places used for relaxation on the palace grounds. There, school kids swarmed us, seeming to pay special attention to the dozens of carp, who sensed food would soon be coming their way. This group wore florescent shirt coverings with the number "6" boldly printed on the back. Any connection to the Philadelphia Phillies All-Star first baseman?

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