Thursday, April 18, 2013

Marching Into Spring

The last couple of weeks of March were still quite chilly, but with spring fever starting to hit, several excursions around town got us out of the house.  A friend, Sharla, and I decided to check out the "Leeum", Samsung Museum in Itaewon.  The museum displayed various pottery, paintings and historical items from Korean history.  I liked the orange fabric staircase hanging from the ceiling and the white spiral staircase down the center of the exhibition hall.

Bob and I decided to hike Inwangsan Mountain near his office on fairly nice Saturday afternoon.  On our descent, we saw a Shaman Shrine, where they used to perform sacrifices and exorcisms, and next to it was a Buddhist Temple.  There were some odd shaped rocks, said to look like praying monks, (or grim reapers?) which were moved there along with the Shrine, from their original location on Namsan mountain to protect them from one of the Japanese invasions.  We decided to walk home through town, and on our way we observed a small "Arc de Triumph" which I think was placed in Seoul in commemoration of one of their Independence Days.

In honor of the birthday of Relief Society, I decided to put together a little celebration for our sisters.  We met near Myeongdong and I took them on a "Korean Street Food" tasting tour, and then we came back to our apartment and had a simple program.  It was nice to have so many of our sisters in our home.

On "Good Friday" (which in not celebrated in Korea), Bob took the day off and we headed to Suwon, which is about an hour south of Seoul.  This city once hoped to become the capital of Korea.  The emperor built a fortress around the perimeters of the city and his palace was in the center of town.  Hwaseong Fortress was built in 1796, and the original blueprints and detailed construction plans are still held by the government.  We were followed for the first portion of our trek around the wall by a self-appointed crazy Korean "guide" who spoke no English.  We finally managed to shake him off our trail, but had I been alone, I think I would have been quite worried!  We ended the day with some famous Suwon Galbi, (beef short rib) - Delicious!

Some of Bob's business associates and wives got together for a Korean dinner one evening.  When I complimented Mrs. Park on her lovely scarf, she surprised me by giving it to me at the end of the evening!  For our meal, we were served all kinds of interesting dishes, including sliced large octopus tentacles, a variety of seaweeds, and small octopus soup.  For dessert we sampled rice cakes and red bean jelly squares.  Don't you wish you could have joined us? ( I do, because then just maybe I would not be the only towering huge woman in the photo!)

 And to conclude this post, here's a little tribute to our Lou . . .
While walking the streets of Itaewon we saw an interestingly named restaurant.  And in a small knitting shop in Suwon, we found this adorable piglet.  Sadly, the owner would not even consider selling it to us!  Sorry, we tried, Chelsea!


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