Thursday, October 18, 2007

Palace Day

Today was palace day. We took the subway to the Gwanghwamun station, where we began the day with a little book shopping at the famous Kyobo Book Center. There we met my Korean teacher HJ and one of his friends YR.

For lunch, HJ had made a reservation for us at Samcheonggak. This is a secluded park which I had visited back in April. But today we only went there for lunch. Boy it was a very nice place. HJ had reserved a table at the window, and we had a spectacular view. Unfortunately we were so busy eating I didn't get any good photos of the scenery.

After lunch, we decided against seeing another palace. Unless you are an avid palace enthusiast, I think they are all very similar. If you asked me to visit all the palaces, I wouldn't have any problem, but I would do them on different days, not all at once. Anyway, instead of more palaces we went around to some art galleries in the area. HJ was especially happy, because he saw two famous fashion models walking on the streets. I found the below photo from TSF camera - I can only imagine it came from one of the galleries, but I don't remember seeing it myself:

One "gallery" we visited was at the insistence of TSM. She saw a sign for The Silk Museum, ahead 300 meters. Despite her toe problem, she really wanted to see a museum of silks. So we started on the path, when suddenly it turned and went uphill for 200 meters! We finally arrived, all out of breath. But it turns out there was no silk at all - it was a museum of artifacts from the Silk Road! Despite this surprise, we all enjoyed it. At the third floor of the museum, there was a place to sit and they served free tea and drinks. We left, got all the way to the bottom of the hill, when TSF realized he left his camera! So poor HJ volunteered to walk all the way back up the hill for it (THANKS SO MUCH HJ!!!!). Here is an article I found describing The Silk ROAD Museum. There were a LOT of peace posters at the museum, also:

Even though dinner time was approaching, none of us were very hungry after the huge lunch. So instead we ate at a small sandwich shop before going on to the main evening event - the Chongdong Traditional Korean Theater. I have seen this performance at least 2 or 3 times before, and still look forward to it very much. Their website told me that the performance time was 8pm until December, when it changed to 4pm. We arrived around 6pm to buy our tickets, and found out that the show had just finished! Apparently there was an error on the English language webpage, and the incorrect times were shown. I double-checked the Korean language page, and it shows the correct times. Furthermore, because of a week-long street festival, which attracts a lot of foreigners, all shows were booked up for the entire week! So, TSP were not able to take in this show. Next time. We did walk around some at the street festival, where we were treated to a live singer and some unusual illuminated statues:

We decided to visit a nearby Dunkin Donuts before calling it quits for the night. At the donut shop, I was surprised at the sight at the table next to ours. There was a young couple drinking coffee and working feverishly building a small electronic circuit board! Finally I had to go over and talk to them, and ask what on earth they were doing. They had a couple of large breadboards, a large box of wires, electronic components, and various tools. They had turned their coffee shop table into a small electronics lab! It turns out they were electronic engineering students at college, and had this lab assignment to build a microprocessor controlled "LED art" project. There was a small board containing a couple of dozen LED, on which I presume they were going to make various "artwork" patterns. I wish I had thought to take a photo, but I didn't. Here's a photo I stole from the web showing a normal breadboard, however I will point out that these guys breadboard was about 2 or 3 times larger and more complicated.

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