Monday, March 19, 2012

Coex Mall Excursion

Bob needed to attend a meeting down south of the Han River in a part of Seoul called Gangnam.  This is a very modern and upscale part of Seoul and many Koreans aspire to live there.  It is also very crowded and busy, but is a fun place to visit.  There is an underground mall there that is very popular with the younger generation.  I had visited the mall previously to visit the Aquarium (see post "Seoul Searching"), but wanted to see some other things in the area.  As I approached the COEX (exhibition buildings), I noticed an armed soldier standing on the roof.  Getting closer, I realized there were military personnel all around the area, and caution tape prevented people from getting near the building.  People gathered around with cameras trying to document what was happening.  I was one of them!  There was a military vehicle parked nearby with armed soldiers on the upper deck.  Suddenly, a city bus drove into the area and immediately the armed military vehicle sped forward until it crashed into the front of the bus.  A ramp was rapidly released from the deck of the military truck which smashed into the front window of the bus and shattered the glass.  The soldiers ran down the ramp and into the bus pointing weapons and shouting at passengers.  A man was taken hostage and forced into the military vehicle, which then sped away.  It was like witnessing a scene from Mission Impossible!  At first I wondered if there was a real threat, but the smiles on the faces of the soldiers convinced me otherwise.  I could not communicate with anyone well to find out what had just happened, but I asked a guard if this was a military exercise to which he replied in the affirmative.  For just a moment, I realized the threat of North Korea, and was reminded of wars and rumours of wars throughout the world.

After the excitement died down, I noticed some of the surrounding scenery.  I love all the Korean sculptures and innovative building designs.  The Buddha sculpture across the street was something I would have to check out with Bob after his meeting!

 The inside of the mall was equally artistic.

My destination today was the Kimchi Museum.  You can't talk about Korea without mentioning it's love for the distinctive flavors of Kimchi!  They say it takes eating it three times to acquire a taste for it.  That held true for me, but I don't think Bob has made it past the first one or two attempts.  The fermented and pickled flavors are generally either loved or hated.  I find myself somewhere in between.  The health benefits associated with eating it are really quite amazing, if you can believe everything you read.  It is rich in vitamins and minerals, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, low in calories, cleans intestines and lovers LDL cholesterol.

After dinner with Bob, we walked across the street to see the largest statue of Buddha in South Korea.  The temple grounds were beautiful and peaceful amid the bustle of the city.  I will have to visit again during the day.

On our way home, we drove down the "Rodeo Drive" of Seoul.  I was only able to capture the dazzle of the Galleria amongst the glamorous window displays lining the streets.  One more reason to return another day.

1 comment:

  1. I thought you were going to say they were making a movie! Kent would guess military exercise. He says they had them often when he lived there.
    On Friday night we had potluck at church with an Asian food theme. Kent commented that we should have brought Kimchi and I commented "who would eat it?" haha