Friday, July 15, 2011

Gwanghwamun and others

Yesterday was filled with adventures! So we'll start from the beginning.

In Korean Studies, we took our midterm. It wasn't too bad. But because the question was short answer format, I'm hoping our professor grades easily. I can't really gauge how hard of a grader he is. He claims that he'll give everyone an A if everyone deserves one. But also vice versa. So we'll see. We'll see.

In Korean, everyone was done with the day it seemed. We had all finished exams and were just waiting to go back home/go out/eat dinner...anything but be in class. One girl in the class asked if 홋 was a word, and it turns out it isn't. But she asked because the word looks like a man. (See it?)

So for dinner, Hyungki (my friend from way back) joined us to eat! He is in Korea working in a lab. It was great to see him again and catch up. We went to the all you can eat BBQ place (again) and Eileen's friend met up with us too. It was awesome that he did because he ended up taking us around Gwanghwamun! Yay!

After eating tons of meat, we went to the Gwanghwamun area. This place has the largest gate to Gyeonbukgung, a royal palace built in during the Joseon dynasty. Anyway, we first got patbingsoo (which I hadn't had in a long time) and then went over to be tourists. It was raining off an on so we were constantly taking our umbrellas out and putting them away. I'll just show you pictures now. It'll be easier that way.

 Here's our wonderful patbingsoo.

 This is the entrance to the palace. I don't think I'm very good at taking pictures at night.

 King Sejong, here, is credited with the invention of Hangeul, the Korean writing system.

 Look, I'm in this picture! I was advised that I would regret it if I weren't in the pictures myself. So here I am.

 I believe this is a rain catcher of some sort. There's Chinese on the side of the block, but there was Korean written on the bottom. When I read it, Hyungki thought that I knew how to read Chinese and was super surprised.

 All of us. I think Sara was the most excited.

 We found the US Embassy!

After looking at the palace entrance area, we went to Cheonggyecheon, the stream that runs through Korea. It was installed when Lee Myung Bak was the mayor of Seoul. The story goes that Lee Myung Bak wanted to increase the environmental friendliness of Seoul and wanted a natural river to flow through the city. After talking to his advisors and builders of the project, turns out that he would have to wait 10 years for that to happen. But he clearly wanted something under his name, so they went ahead and built the river, which is powered by electricity. Oops. It was still pretty though!

 Beginning of the stream.

 If you land a coin in the smallest circle, apparently your wish will come true. I missed.

Sara, after she fell into the stream. Bernard fell in and lost his wallet. =( So we were looking for it and Sara fell in too. This stream is brutal.

It was an end of a long day, and it only got longer. We met up with Cristine and Richard and enjoyed some food, drinks, and 노래방. And now, I'm really tired. We'll see what today has in store.

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