Monday, June 29, 2009

Korean vacation miscellany

Koreans are big fans of cuteness, like say this sign promoting (I think) persimmons.


Anders really did love our Partridge Family bus.


If you visit Korea and stay in Seoul, you don't really appreciate how hilly and green most of Korea is. I remember the first time I flew to Pohang from Seoul, and seeing the hills of Korea from above... it was quite amazing.


Our Gyeongju hotel featured a state-of-the-art (the old art, that is) entertainment system.


While the entertainment system may have been less than stellar, the view had no such problem. This is the view out of our window in our hotel in Gyeongju.


Koreans have made some interesting choices in naming their candies and drinks.





Our room in our hotel in Seoul featured a window bench that was perfect for changing Anders.


Our hotel in Seoul was across the street from the Lotte department store, which is a huge, three building affair. We ate dinner in the upstairs restaurants twice, had lunch and dinner once each in the downstairs food court, and grabbed food to-go from the downstairs once or twice more.


We also visited the children's floor twice, because it had a cafe with a play area. They charged ₩3000 (about $2.40) to use the play area for an hour, which at first we thought was outrageous (not the amount, but the fact of any charge whatsoever). But then we found out that the cafe had employees that watch over the kids while they play—you can't leave the cafe, but you can sit and relax with a drink while your kid runs amok.


My cousin JeongAh joined several of us for one of our Lotte dinners.


Anders thought these baby food jars that we bought at Lotte were wonderful blocks.


We bought dojong (name stamps) for all of the kids, and I took this picture of Isabel while we were doing the ordering.


I'm not sure what they use the Louis Vuitton scooter for.


It was less hot and humid than we feared it might be, which is not to say it wasn't hot and humid.


Anders fell in love with elevators.


Remember what I said about Koreans and cuteness?


I had a bulgogi burger at the McDonald's at the airport. Can't say I recommend it.

last morning in Seoul

On the morning of our last day in Korea, several of us decided to stroll along the waterway that Jonathan had discovered a few days before. Unfortunately, access to the waterway was closed off temporarily, so we could only observe it from above.



On our way back, we found this curious Korean Snow White.


Anders also figured out that if you drag your feet while two people are holding your hands, you sometimes get a fun ride (he doesn't look like he's having much fun in the pictures below, but he really did like this swinging game). We hope he doesn't remember this, or it may be hard to get him to walk under his own power when we hold his hands.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Janggu lesson

On the 27th, we went to a performance at the Chongdong Theatre, featuring traditional Korean instruments, dance, pansori, and drumming. We came back to take lessons on the janggu (the hourglass-shaped drum that anchors traditional Korean drumming).





National Museum of Korea

On our last full day in Korea, Sigrid, Anders and I visited the National Museum of Korea, which relocated to a new location in 2005.





Friday, June 26, 2009

Museum of Korean Traditional Music

Sigrid wanted to visit the Museum of Traditional Music, which turned out to be rather on the small side, though still interesting. As an added bonus, it provided an opportunity for us to master the Seoul subway system.

We also ran into some cute kids who were also visiting the museum.



The museum is housed in the first floor of this magnificent building.







The museum is next door to the Seoul Arts Center. Sigrid hypothesized that the opera house is designed to look like a traditional Korean hat.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Deoksugung

On our first day in Seoul, Sigrid and I took Anders to the Deoksugung palace grounds, so that Anders could run around a bit. As it turned out, he mostly just slept, but he did wake up in time to get some playtime in.

This is a statue of the Great King Sejong, though he never lived in the palace here.


The top line here just says that this is the statue of Great King Sejong (not all kings were declared to be great). The stuff below that is the original Korean alphabet, which was created during Sejong's reign.


This is a replica of an old Korean weapon.


Anders loved this fountain.