Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SEOUL Searching Pt 7: Palace, Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, Archery! & tons of Galbi

DAY 7: THURS APR 16/09

SUWON'S Hwaseong Hanenggung (Palace)
Woke up early so that I could go to Suwon again, but this time to the palace and the fortress. Got a riceball to eat, since I didn't know when I'd stop to eat. Everything was going pretty smoothly, since I was following the instructions that the tourism lady gave me. I got to the right stop and was searching for the fortress. For some reason I had thought it would be obvious to find. The map sure made it look that way! It isn't as obvious ahahha. I met two other tourists from Hong Kong and we walked to the palace.

The palace was very standard and I looked around. An interesting thing was seeing the traditional games that children played. I also went to the other grounds to see the King's portrait. According to Agnes, he was a very kind and good king.

I was fortunate enough to get there before the martial arts performance, so I got myself a good place to sit and was soon swallowed up by crowds of children who were there on a school trip. I watched kids being kids before the show started. They were throwing rocks, making mud balls, playing with bugs...yup...quite interesting lol.

I took some awesome shots of the martial artists. They were quite into it and on many occasions, had their weapons very close to the kids. Of course there were screams, most of delight. It was quite an experience. There were two female warriors too! YEA YEA!

SUWON's Hwaseong Fortress
I must say that the fortress is beautiful! Extremely beautiful and worth it's reputation! Of course on the way up, I had a conversation with myself as to whether I was completely nuts to put myself through the torture of climbing to the ticket booth. It might not be evident in my pictures, though it should be, that the hill is high and bleeping steep!!!

After a quick pitstop, I wasn't sure how to find the ticket booth and a kind man explained. I tried to follow his directions and then he came across me again and directed me again. What a nice guy! So I had thought I had arrived, but I still had to climb higher.

Bell & Archery!
I began my journey and one of the first things I saw was the giant bell. This bell was dedicated to fillial relations and one's love for parents. I paid to ring the bell three times. The meanings and such are in the pictures you will one day see keekee. Luckily the lady at the toll booth, noticed that I was alone and she offered to take pictures for me. YAY! So you get to see my slugging the bell!

The walk is really beautiful. Many of you who like walking and beautiful views would enjoy this and I highly recommend it. Another reason I recommend it, is there is also a spot where you can do archery!!

Doing archery is on my 25 List! I was finally able to do it!!! WOOHOO! On my way around the fortress another man saw me taking pics and offered to take one of me with one of the sights. I thanked him and we walked around part of the fortress together...each of us trying our best in an unfamiliar language. We had a nice conversation and eventually parted at where the next stop was. I was looking around and then realized it was the archery stop! So I went to pay a ticket and was being assisted by the lady when she started laughing behind the glass. Suddenly I saw a hand knock on the window. The same man was there and was saying hello :D

I bought a ticket for 1 round of archery (10 arrows). It was supposed to start at 3pm but the man let me do a one-on-one lesson. He has been doing archery for 15 years. After a few bad shots, I was starting to improve and wanted to continue. He told me I had to get another ticket, so I did. The lady had trouble understanding me, but with my handy dandy phrasebook I was finally able to get through to her. I went for a second round and the man gave me three free arrows and said it was service ahhaha yay! Another teacher came and helped me out a bit. I got a bullseye with his help!! (not unassisted though). It was so much fun! When I come back, I'm really going to try to join UofT's archery club.

Kalbi Feast
Because Suwon was known for it's kalbi (beef ribs), I tried to order them at a restaurant. The woman misunderstood and gave me kalbi-tang which is beef rib soup. I ate it b/c I was hungry, but I thought, what the heck lets try again. So I said kalbi please and tapped the bbq. I think they were surprised that I wanted to eat again, but they still prepared my food. Turns out they didn't have kalbi and the pic I saw was actually bulgogi stew which they made for me. I ate it anyway and the nice lady kept coming to cook the food for me. They were really nice and I felt quite comfortable there.

After eating, I headed to the washroom and it was nicely decorated. Then I left Suwon and headed back. I met up with SHR for a bit and then back to the guest house as I was going to meet Agnes at 7:30am at the train station to go to Chuncheon (outside of Seoul).

Ok, that's it folks...until the next one. I'm running late!! Byebye!

-Sam ^___^

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