Destination: Korea Queer Culture Festival (2010)

Author's note: In order to take photos at this event, I was required to sign a pledge promising to keep people anonymous. In compliance with that pledge, I have blurred out faces or selected pictures that did not show people's faces - homosexuality in South Korea still carries a harsh stigma, and I will not intentionally 'out' someone on this blog.

Destination: St. Patrick's Day festival (2010)

St. Paddy's Day was celebrated at Cheonggyecheon in downtown Seoul - and what a party it was. Although the mixture of Korean hip-hop (above), Korean acapella, traditional Korean music (a pungmul band), and Irish music was a bit quirky, the crowd stayed - and remained noisy until the exodus to Gangnam. More on that in awhile.

Destination: Seoul Lantern Festival 2009

The Seoul Patch beat me to the Seoul Lantern Festival by a day, but there's still a few great opportunities to check out the Lantern Festival, sponsored by the rather silly-named 'Visit Korea Year'. I've already written about that particular endeavor, but let's separate the chaff from the wheat - these lanterns are definitely worth seeing and experiencing.

Destination: the quieter side of Cheonggyecheon

While the more urban side of Cheonggyecheon is well-positioned in the heart of downtown Seoul, the stream continues for kilometers more outside of the urban jungle. Even though the overhead roads remind you that you're still in the city, it's still a unexpected pleasure. How many major metropolitan cities can boast a stream and a quiet place to reflect in just minutes from a subway station?

Start by taking in the clear, mostly still water. Once you're safely away from the commuters on the roads overhead, you'll have a little less on your mind. Also consider taking some self-portraits from one of several docks that dot the stream.

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