Click here to see this photo set in Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14528888@N08/sets/72157622485895642/
Saturday: The conference took us on a tour with VIPs from the conference. We went to a cultural monument to an historically important scholar dude and his mother, who was herself a highly important artistic and cultural figure in Korean history. Then we went to the DMZ, an odd experience. And then dinner in Seoul in the Insadong district. We ended the evening by meeting Eunhee and her husband, who took us to our hotel! Yay! Sang-sun surprised us by meeting us at the hotel, bringing fruit and groceries with her. Very thoughtful!
Sunday: Breakfast at “The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf” near our hotel — simple cream cheese muffins and coffee. Haircuts at “Juno.” Sunjung came out looking like a model. We then dressed up and went to family picture time at Chung Studio. Followed by dinner with my family at a Japanese buffet.
Monday: We spent the whole day with Sang-sun, one of Sunjung’s closest friends from college days at Cal. Sang-sun took us to lunch at a noodle place, then a stroll along an urban stream called Cheonggyecheon. Some yummy “snack food” at a street vendor. And then shopping near Doota. And finally a dinner to end the long day!
Tuesday: We spent the day with Eunhee and her husband. Eunhee is also one of Sunjung’s closest friends. Samsung children’s museum — Minju had an awesome time! Lunch at a different noodle spot. Really good noodles and the raw-garlic-est kimchi ever. Then a long drive to the “Han River Bookstore,” one of two bookstores owned by Eunhee’s husband. Minju went on a crazy shopping spree at the bookstore. Then a stroll through the amazing nightmarket nearby. And finally, “Mr. Pizza” before going back to our hotel.
Click here to see this photo set in Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14528888@N08/sets/72157622454614422/
Wednesday: More sightseeing, at the Korean Cultural Village. I was taught how to make a pot using Korean red clay. We saw an equestrian show, and then Minju and I rode a horse. In the evening, we attended the opening proceedings for the conference, which it turns out, took place at the Suwon Castle where we had just spent the previous day.
Thursday: Conference! I spoke in the afternoon, about green jobs. :/ Minju watched Nemo twice.
Friday: Conference! Sunjung spoke in the morning, about family therapy. She did a good job. Minju watched Nemo again. And played a lot on the iPhone. Sunjung and I got a photo with the Governor of Gyeonggi Province. At the dinner, she befriended an 11-year-old girl who had given a beautiful singing performance for us.
Click here to see this photo set in Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14528888@N08/sets/72157622435220544/
DAY ONE Tuesday 9/22
10:12 am Changed our cash into Korean won. Now, dropping off Sunjung’s pants for alteration. Next we will get some coffee at Dunkin Donuts. This is all very near the hotel where we are staying.
11:07am In a cab to the Suwon Castle.
1:13 pm Next to the historic castle is an elementary school with an awesome playground and a school garden. We were there during playtime so it was swarming with kids. This school seems better funded than most public schools in the bay area.
2:07 pm Ate Korean noodles (naeng myun) for lunch.
2:53 pm Hiked up the little mountain atop Suwon (Par Dang), where King Jeong Jo looked over the city. Amazing wall.
3:57 pm At bronze statue and memorial of king jeong jo the great.
4:30 pm Ate ice cream on our way back down from pal dang.
We seem to be getting over our jetlag faster and more easily than I expected. (This is a big relief, remembering how hard the jetlag was when I went to Beijing last year). We used this technique, and it seems to be working! We didn’t fast on the plane, but our last meal on the plane was around 3:30pm on Monday afternoon. We landed around 6pm on Monday evening, and we didn’t eat until 7am on Tuesday morning (hungry!).
We had an awesome first day in Korea. Suwon as a city is defined historically by the legacy of King Jeong Jo. According to Sunjung, he is one of the two great Kings in Korea’s history (the other being King Saejong, who established the Korean written language, Hangul). We woke up quite early, had an AMAZING big breakfast at the hotel buffet (the conference put us up at a 5-star hotel, and the breakfast buffet reflects this). Took a morning stroll around the area. Ran some errands. And then headed to the Suwon Castle (that’s what the cab driver called it). We caught a Chosun-era martial arts performance (Minju was mesmerized). Walked around King Jeong Jo’s giant compound, which reminds me of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Minju got to play at an amazing elementary school next door. Then had a yummy lunch (naeng-myun, not enough food tho). Saw a strange, organized bicycling demonstration as part of a “green city” initiative of the city. Then hiked up the little mountain behind the castle. Amazing views, and extraordinarily beautiful hike. Everything in this “park” seemed very new and the whole thing (walkways, pathways, walls, masonry) was clearly a major public works project. I was impressed that the people/government of Suwon were willing to spend so much money on all of this. Sunjung explains that Korean people take historical restoration and monuments very seriously. Came down from the mountain, and then found the street vendors. Wow, a gigantic web/network of street vendors. Ate at “gim-bop heaven”. Minju by this point was clearly exhausted (jetlag) and her eyes were very red. Took a quick cab home and pretty much went to bed right away. Around 8pm.