Sunday, May 31, 2009

AH!!!!!

I am becoming VERY annoyed with Blogspot. It took me about 5 minutes to write this post and 45 minutes to get the pictures in! Then I hit preview and it looked find. I publish it and its a MESS!!! I had no idea that the fonts were all different sizes!! I need a new blog site.... stayed tuned to see if I switch where my blog will be! I just don't have the time or can be bothered with this bullshit (sorry grandma)

HiSeoul

yea.... so once a day did not work. The weather has been amazing here though and I have been doing a lot outside. Also keeping myself busying doing other stuff. Anyways, I am still trying to talk about stuff I did in May. Hopefully I will get through May by the end of June *^^* (these are the emoticons of Korea and I am trying my best to get into them!! My favorite is TT which is 
tears or sad face. I get that alot from DongJun's mom when I write how bad her kid is!)






 Anyways, one of my favorite things so far has been HiSeoul. Every season they have the HiSeoul festival. It is in a different place of Seoul every season and has different events.
I went to the May HiSeoul which was at City Hall and along the river.










Their theme was HotPink. So everything was
in hot pink, which was pretty awesome. There were events for 10 days and every night they had something at the grassy patch at City Hall. They drapped these huge white cloth strips across the plaza (1st picture). There were stages set up and they had different events everynight. They called it the HotPink Ball. The first night I went was Monday and it was musicals. It was SO much fun. They did all the musicals that are pretty well known on Broadway but they were all in Korean! It was so much fun to listen to it! There were two stages on opposite ends and the whole crowd would run from one end to the next. 


There was also some people dressed up in these crazy hot pink outfits. When they came out this song would start and everyone would start doing this dance. There were hundreds of them. They were all teenagers and really got into. It was really fun!! They worked really hard getting everyone to be involved and even had a couple dance offs with people. It would happen about 5 to 6 times during the show. I was OBSESSED with this dance. It was just a lot of fun.  Below is just a little video of it. 


So since I had such a good time on Monday night I went back on Saturday night with Jennifter from my school and then my friend Nick who was in town. Saturday night was the HipHop night. It was basically just like a big house party for 2 hours! Lots of dancing and tons of fun!!

We actually got there a little early and had a bottle of champagne that Nick brought with him from Dubai (Nick is a flight attendant for Emerites). Then when the show started the MC was running through the audience and of course found us! He starts asking Nick all these questions in broken english and Nick just kept answer he loves Seoul and bouncing to the music! He was on a huge jumbotron and also on NATIONAL TV!! HiSeoul was broadcasted on the national station. The MC then came back through 5 min later and starting to talking to Jennifer. I did a pretty good job of staying off the camera!! It was pretty funny (and typical). Seoul is really into making a point 
to show the western people at any event. 
I am getting used to being a local celebrity ^^ 

Anyways, HiSeoul was a blast and I am sad its over! Hope you enjoy the video and some of the pictures! 
video

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

DMZ ZONE

 So I am WAY behind on my posting. I think I am going to try to post once every for the next two weeks and that will hopefully catch me! So I am going all the way back to the first weekend of May. The first weekend of May was also my first weekend with a visitor! Todd worked with me in Brooklyn. For the last two years he has been teaching in China. He had a 4 day weekend so he hopped on over to Seoul! It was fun to have a friend in town. Though I love all my friends here, it is always enjoyable to see someone from home.

On Saturday we decided to go the DMZ. The DMZ is the area between North and South Korea. It is actually a very interesting area. Seoul is only 35 miles away from Seoul and as you drive up north you drive along the border. There is a fence on the side of the highway with guards posted every 100 feet. They are making sure that people are swimming across the river. 

The DMZ tour was interesting for a couple reasons. First of all our tour guide Angela was hysterical. She was telling us stories about how North Korea has been trying assassinate S.K official but fail every single time. It was a very interesting tail. 

When you arrive at the DMZ you have to go through a military check point where they check the passports, though I am pretty sure they do that just for the tourists. Then we started to drive towards this train station. As we drive, we pass "freedom village". Freedom village is inside the DMZ but they get some great perks. First they do not have to pay any bills, they dont have to pay taxes, they live rent free and i am pretty sure they get a small check every month. Of course the downside is the whole living in the DMZ. There is another village that was called hope village or something. 

So the first stop was this trainstation. It is a station that is supposed to connect North and South but that has been put on hold. So right now its just this huge and beautiful trainstation, that is not being used at all. It did have the nicest bathrooms I have seen so far in Korea!

After the station we headed off to the 3rd tunnel. In the 70s S.K started to find these tunnels that connected the two sides. It was discovered that N. Korea was probably planning to bring their troops through for an attack. So they these tunnels have been found and the 3rd tunnel is the biggest. All the tunnels have been cut off so now you can go for a visit in it! So we rode down the tunnel in the "roller coaster", their name not ours. On this roller coaster we had to wear helmets which we thought was funny until we started walking. As we walked in the tunnel we had to keep ducking, which was okay for everyone except Todd. He smacked his head 3 times, one time so much that it stopped all the tourists. On the way back up we walked which was the hardest 10 minute hike of my life. 

After the tunnel we had to watch this video. It was one of the craziest movies ever. First it starts with this rapid video flashing which did nothing for my hangover. Then there was a little girl who was crying as she sits in a land mine field. They then go through all the history of the two Koreas. Then they explain that in the last few years there have been major changes with the friendship pact. Then a butterfly comes down and starts to make the barbwire disapear, and the mines and all the war like things. The next thing the butterfly did was make benches pop up. The video then explains who Korea when reunified will show everyone in the world how to live in peace......um
......well
.... right....

I am going to assume that this was down when someone was on a lot of drugs one night and could not have guessed that North Korea was going to set off a bunch of nukes this week....

Anyways after the crazy propaganda video we headed to this big hill where you can looking N. Korea. Its actually very silly but hey it in was interesting. We paid 50cents to look through really high powered telescopes to look in to the villages, it was a little creepy.

So that was more or less the DMZ tour. It was a little silly and I feel like it marginalized the conflict just a bit. But I am glad that I went on it. There aren't many pictures though because they would not let us take pictures in more places, in case we were spies, but the ones I did take are pretty funny! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

AHHH

Can't believe my last post was 3 weeks ago! No good! I promise I will get an update in sometime this weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2009

April downpours brings wet soggy flowers

                                                                    ** tried a new way to put in the pictures.... did not work. I am aware the format is shit. could not be bothered to change it this time**

On Saturday last week (before the lantern festival) I decided to trek up north to Vehlow's neck of the woods. We decided to go to a flower festival, even though it was pouring. It might have not been the smartest idea all year. It was pouring rain and even though much of it was indoors. We still had to walk around outside to get to one exhibition to the other. By the end of our trip there my jeans were wet up to my knees. We went out to dinner later and I sat in front of a heater. It took 4 hours for my jeans to dry, it was a little more than crazy. Anyways here is a couple pictures from the day. The first is a cool waterfall thing that had all these different designs with falling rain, fairly impressive.

There was also this cool screen on the floor that as you walked across flowers sprung up in your foot steps. This is Christina dancing her way across it. 
We were a little shocked at all the pictures everyone was taking. So we decided that we would find the best thing in the whole place, that would be the water purifiers. Justin was just a little too excited to pose in front of it! 


They were really into these flower hearts. We went to take a funny pictures then a guy grabbed my camera and made all four of us get in... then other people started taking pictures of us... and a guy with a newspaper camera.... it all got a little weird.

Christina got left at the alter, Justin was supposed to join her in this union, but he ran.
    
  
There were scorpians, I was impressed. Though they also had a "butterfly" cage which ended up just being a bunch of dead butterflies pinned to leaves, not impressed. 

Lanterns, lanterns and more lanterns

Last weekend there was a lantern festival all weekend. On Sunday was the final day where there is a big parade at sundown. Before that, one of the major streets in front of the main temple was closed off. Along the street there were all these tents set up that were offering anything you could imagine. There were tents that were offering free yoga, a tent for playing Korean games, a tent for Korean food, there was even a guy giving out free hugs. The best tents though were letting people make their own lanterns!!! As many people know I LOVE making crafts, I especially like making pretty crafts. So after much harassment and being really annoying, I convinced Kiwi to make a lantern with me. After about 2 minutes though we realized we did not have the patience to make one so we joined forces and made one together. Kiwi was gracious enough to let me keep it (though this was probably because she knew I would wrestle her for it). We also went to the temple which was so crowded it was not really my oasis that I had written about earlier. It was still pretty though to see all the lanterns. After that we went to get dinner at a very traditional Korean restaurant. I ended up with this delicious soup. It was an entire chicken in a soup kettle. The chicken was stuffed with this really good rice and ginger. 





After dinner we headed to the parade. The nice thing about Korean parades is they set up chairs along the parade route! Not shitty chairs either, they were the really nice sturdy plastic chairs with arm rests. They have two rows of them so you can just sit and watch. And if you don't get a seat at least if you are 3 people deep you can still see since the people in front are sitting. It is pretty genius and enjoyable

The parade itself was beautiful. There were thousands of lanterns and probably that many people who were walking in it. Many people were dressed in traditional Korean wear but there 
were also people dressed in normal clothes. There was actually one group of older women dressed in hiking gear, it was pretty funny. Also, as the people were walking they were handing out their lanterns! Jennifer got a lantern which I also somehow managed to keep (pretty excited about that too). One of the best parts about the parade were the actual people in it. They were so happy to be in it! We were towards the end of the route yet when they got to us there were still huge smiles and they were waving. It was just so genuine and it made the parade that much moreenjoyable. I just love how proud Koreans are of what they do and how they put there whole selves into it.

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