Korea's fall harvest holiday is Chuseok (추석), and it's come and gone twice now since Shane and I arrived on the peninsula. Based on the lunar calendar, Chuseok 2011 happened mid-September. Though we didn't celebrate (saving the feast for Thanksgiving, North American style), we did get to enjoy a fashion show. Our kindergarten students dressed up in their finest traditional hanbok (한복) and strutted their stuff through the auditorium. Most of these kids would later don their hanbok again later that weekend for traditional bowing ceremonies to their grandparents.
Note: This guest post was written by my sister, Crystal, who visited Busan with her husband, Nick, back in March 2011. We thank her for her contribution to Soju Cocktail and for visiting way over here.
Buddha's Birthday is not a holiday I normally celebrate. I've still never really celebrated it, although I did have the day off from work. I knew the day was coming weeks in advance, since ordinary city streets gradually became lined with long strings of colorful paper lanterns. It's a beautiful religion I know little about.
Tumuli. Tumuli. Tumuli. It's fun to say.
On most of the must-do tourist lists and in guidebooks, Beomeosa rates as one of the most important tourist sites in Busan. It was one of the first sites I learned about while researching the city that would be my future home, and I looked forward to seeing the well-known temple. When my sister and brother in law visited Busan back in March, we spent a weekend afternoon at the temple.
Sometimes I sit back and wonder when my life took the turn such that it's not out of the realm of everyday possibility to spend a few hours exploring a Buddhist temple next to the sea. How'd I get so damn lucky?
Crystal and Nick's visit in March prompted Shane and me to do some sightseeing around town that after seven months in Busan, we still hadn't gotten around to.
... Cool mountain air awakes us the next morning. That, and the hanok owner's agitated voice asking us through the papered doors to turn off a forgotten light.
In 1988, sprinter Ben Johnson lost his gold when he tested positive for a performance enhancing drug, Flo-Jo set an Olympic record, and Greg Louganis got the gold despite a nasty hit on the head from the diving board. It happened in Seoul.
Two steps off the cable car that brought us halfway up the mountain in Geumgang park in Busan, we realize this sprawling city is even more sprawling than previously suspected. Looking down, we see tiny buildings and bridges and metro tracks. Looking around ourselves, it's hard to remember we're in the middle of the city at all.