South

Winter Hiking in South Korea: Part 3 금정산 (Geumjeongsan)


Yangyang Traditional Market

Across Korea traditional markets are still a common feature. Taking place every five days in towns and even cities, the markets give a brief insight into an older part of Korea. For the most part these markets are straightforward occasions and possibly a bit like you could imagine in the so-called olden days, drawing in all the local populace for not only business but also social reasons.

Throughout you can see people meeting and doing business, while at the same time there is a good quantity of back slapping and hearty laughing by the stalls. There are rows and rows of people, mostly old women it has to be said, selling what is clearly the excess from their small gardens, and for them it seems to be as much a chance to get out and meet people, with the added benefit of actually making some money.


Our Weekend: Pirates, prehistoric walks and Jurassic Park



Friday evening we ventured to one of Nick's favourite restaurants in PNU which he has suitably named the pirate bar. It's a tiny hodge podge of lots of different dimly-lit small buildings that surround a courtyard with the sound of water trickling by. The trees are overgrown and hang over you while you stuff your face with delicious pajeon and makeolli. It also helped that their used to be an endearingly grumpy old man that used to work there, but apparently he is ill at the moment so has moved out to the country to get some fresh air. I hope he gets better soon!

Following that we went to watch Dan do his stand up comedy, and I was in bed by 1:30 having popped into Basement to dance with Katie's friend who was visiting from England.

An Origin of Korean Discontent

A thought struck me as I was taking a shower before work this morning. With the renewal of tension along the North-South Korean border it’s a sharp reminder of the results of history, and what we’re looking at here, could be considered as one of the final plays in the game of the Great Powers. It, like so many skirmishes before, is taking place in a distant field which effects the lives of people so far away they don’t even look real. Well as one of these people I can assure you that it’s quite real.

Since Korea opened up to outside influence in the late nineteenth century, much like many other small kingdoms, was turned into a pawn in the chessboard of empire building. This process set Korea up to be misused and abused by forces outside their control, and today we are experiencing the continued results of this.


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Getting my Knees Dirty on Korean New Year

On Friday night we boarded a bus in Suwon expecting hours of traffic packed in between tumults of snow. We hoped the journey would take less than five hours and, if we were lucky, the bus driver would at least leave the reading lights on, unlike the last time we took the bus.

We knew what was ahead. Korean New Year is famous for the lines of impregnable traffic on the express-way, and for the previous two days, both the weather forecast and my father-in-law had been warning us about the snow that was going to stop the world that existed around us.

Two hours into our journey along the expressway I awoke with a shudder and snort. The bus was cruising steadily along the expressway at an unfamiliar speed, perhaps over 80 kilometres an hour, and we were passing Munmak, thaat perpetual traffic black spot on the Yeongdong Expressway.


HBC Fest – Rock n’ Roll (and some folk) Photos

Here are some more pics from May’s HBC Fest, this time I’m keeping all things musical this time and focusing purely on the live acts. I have a few more pictures of the crowd’s antics to post but I’m going to give the people who make the Fest worth going to some credit – in fairness it wouldn’t be much of a music festival without much music, right?

These photos are going to start from the beginning, around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I didn’t get to see everyone, but everyone I did see did get a photo included. I decided to go with a slideshow this time.

Enjoy!

 

Click to view slideshow.

 

By-the-by, let me know what you think of how this was presented – did the slideshow work? I have other options for displaying photos that I’m currently exploring. I want to avoid the big long post of photos I’ve been doing in the past.


Mine’s a can of ‘ass, please!

Today, I am at Incheon International Airport – a wonderful place full of coming and going and, I imagine, Korea’s proud welcoming mat to the world.

 

It’s quite a lovely place and has been recognised so by some shower of cowboys  for its wonderfulness. I’m sure most people who read this who are in Korea are familiar with said ‘ness. Lots of glass and steel and luxury shopping (because everyone who flies wants a Fendi handbag).


Busan’s 10 Best: Beyond the Festivals and Beaches

The Gwangali fireworks festival as seen from the peak of Mt. Jangsan, undoubtedly Korea's best fireworks show. ~ Photo by P. DeMarco

View slide show here.

[Note: This article was originally published in the November 2009 issue of 10 Magazine. It was updated on 11.28.10]


Date With an Exorcist: Korean Shamanism Unveiled

A Korean shaman holds up a dead pig during a ceremony. Photo P. DeMarco


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