Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seoul Grand Park

Andrew and I decided to head up to Seoul Grand Park. It was a gorgeous park nestled in the mountains. There were no sky-scrapers to be seen, which was extremely refreshing! In the park there is a zoo. 

The fountain at the entrance. You can barely see the mountains in the background. It was so humid and hazy. 

On a trolley ride to the park.

At the zoo entrance

Uh oh!

This was at the giraffe exhibit. Somehow something got lost in translation... I think they were going for "don't feed the animals" ... or "don't litter" perhaps. 


I'm on to you, zebra.

Andrew meets his match

The zoo was laid out climbing up a mountain. Once we got to the top, we took a sky lift back down the mountain. It was about a 20 minute ride, and well worth the $4! This is us just getting on the skyway. 

You can see the skyway going down the mountain

An un-American 4th of July

We have spent a lot of time looking at the wall, walking the wall, and taking photos of the wall. But we hadn't gone in the palace of the wall until now. Admission to cultural things are extremely cheap. We spent about $0.50 admission fee to get into the palace. 

It was a really hot, humid 4th of July. Every day we have checked the weather since the beginning of June, the humidity has been sitting still at 100%. Miserable! However, we decided to brave the elements and check it out!

As I've said in previous posts (nearly a year a go now) the king wanted to move the capital of Korea to Suwon in the 1700's. He built the walls as defense and put the palace in this place. He was unsuccessful, the capital stayed in Seoul, but Suwon gained a great tourist attraction 300 years later. 

If Andrew were invading the palace, they would have been screwed! He is taller than the walls! 

Take your shoes off before entering!

We aren't really sure what these were because the signs were in Korean. However, we guessed either they were for storage, or maybe they were the servants sleeping quarters. 

The King's father had been essentially buried alive in a rice chest. They allowed us to climb into the rice chest and feel how tiny it was. 

... Andrew didn't fit.

For about $1.50 we were able to buy a gold coin. These are replicas of the currency Korea used to have. We then took the gold coins and were able to buy different experience around the palace. 

First we tried on Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress. The outfits we have on are King and Queen clothes. It was so hot and humid we were sweating like crazy. There were many layers to the outfits, and two Koreans had to help us put them on. The headpiece she put on me was so heavy!

Look mom, no hands!

Next, we told our name to this old man. He put our names into Korean calligraphy where he made the different characters animals and symbols.

After that we went and got to make hand-made rice paper. We were able to etch an outline of the Hwaseong wall on the paper.

We were able to try on old warrior clothes if we wanted to, but it was so hot we couldn't even imagine putting on any more clothes. However, this little tyke took up the opportunity! He was marching around so proud! 

They film a popular TV show here. Here I stand with two life-sized models of the main characters of the show. 

Work Party

Usually once or twice a term our boss will take us all out for dinner and drinks. We had just got several new employees, so he took us out as a welcoming dinner. As most of our work parties usually go, we ended up at a Noraebang (Karaoke room). 

Here are a few pictures from the night! 

Our boss has a really red face!

Tony and Kelly singing and dancing

Our boss, his wife, Grace, and Jason

Sunny, singing and dancin' to the beats

Our boss got up to sing a song, so we got on the floor to sway to pretend he was on a stage

Our boss singing a song. I love Sunny's face in this picture!

The rooms come fully equipped with tambourines! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A sea of red

Andrew and I were sitting at home with the windows open on a random weekend evening. We were getting ready to grab some dinner and had our windows open. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, we heard screaming. Hundreds of people screaming. With worried looks, we ran outside to see what the matter was. We saw no one.  We could see no one, yet still heard screaming. 

Now, tensions were very high with North Korea and so my mind immediately went to, "Oh shit. Where are the passports... lets go!" 

--- silence ---

And then again, hundreds of people screaming. We were really worried. We were meeting up with our new coworker for dinner. He didn't have a cellphone yet, so we were communicating with him via internet. We went on to check and he said, 'Korea just scored a goal!"

Ahhh yes, the World Cup. Not being very big sports fans, Andrew and I hadn't realized the game was on. But where were all the people coming from? They had their windows open in the high rise apartments - and we couldn't see them, but could hear them all screaming at the goals! Hundreds of people all around us, even above us, were all screaming at the same time. It was a very unreal feeling. 

As we walked to the restaurant we heard random screams of joy all around us. 

For the next game, our Korean coworkers asked us if we wanted to go watch in the park after work. I asked if they would have a TV there, and she said yeah, they'll have a big screen. I figured there'd be about 20 people around a TV watching the game. Boy was I wrong! As we approached the park... we realized there were about 10,000 people sitting in the park watching the game on a projected screen. 

A lot of the people were wearing red flashing devil horns. It was hot, humid, and completely crowded. It was so humid, in fact, that it actually looks like it is raining in my photos. This was, unknown to us, what the rest of our summer was going to be like. Every day there is 100% humidity and heat indexes around 120-136*F daily. I did NOT expect that from Korea at all! 

My coworker Sunny.

Some of my female coworkers... with their guy friends.

Andrew got Devil Horns!

A sea of red flashing lights and black hair

Some of my coworkers (except the guy next to me). From Left: Andrew, Tanner, Kelly, Sunny, ? , me

Andrew showed his Wisconsin pride!

Our work group that went together: Kelly, Lainy, Me, Sunny, Andrew, Tanner

South Korean flags

Even the dogs were ready for the game!