who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

a peek at the week

this past week was the last week of winter camp.  from hereon we go into normal lesson-plans which run for 1 week at a time.  camp is usually a crazy time, with manic schedules and a demanding pace.  from what we've been told, normal teaching weeks are far more manageable and civilised. so we've much to look forward to then. 

what's great is that we got to experience the mayhem, so now we'll take the next few months of our jobs in our strides.  it's been a whirlwind month.  but we survived.  and we managed to squeeze in a far bit of fun despite the workload.  

outside of work, this week has been rather festive ... for several reasons:
- we finally got cell phones (and there's a whole other story attached to that adventure)
- i learnt to read korean  *kitty d takes a bow*
- we explored a few more towns which were far more interesting and character-filled than our the previous attempt to sight see

so, without further ado ...


as is was one of our 3-day weekends (of which we get two per month), Fathead and i spent monday wandering the streets of a quirky town called insadong.  it reminded me a little of greyton, or parts of stellies - filled with artisan attractions, galleries spilling from every nook and cranny, street vendors exhibiting an array of crafts from jewelry and antiques to porcelain tea sets and wooden carvings. 

the area is just off of a heavily urbanised district, and the sudden contrast makes it all the more charming.  
here, the "border" between industry and culture ... a bent building marks the spot

not long into our explorations, we stumbled upon a knife gallery.  not one for museums and/or weaponry - this was a strange choice for me.  however, there was something all too intriguing about a gallery filled with knives. so in we went. 

apart from having what i would imagine is one of the world's largest collection of bladed goods, the gallery had some incredible treasures on display. 

this was only one of several rooms -  exhibiting swords categorised by their country or origin (mostly asian).

the detail and craftsmanship was truly beautiful, and almost all of the pieces had some fabulous story behind it.

this one, for instance:

"buff's head" - so named, as the caption below explained, because "this sword is being used to chop off the heads of buffaloes during sacrificial ceremony in nepal" ... which is nice, now isnt' it? 

in addition to the many swords, blades and tools of beheadment - the gallery also had the scariest, creepiest battle masks ... most of which actually put a shiver down my spine.

traditional battle armor from japan

even hollywood had a number of displays dedicated to some of the all time cinematic weapon-greats

the sword used in braveheart (you thinking of this scene, right?)

quite a few weapons from those movies that geeks (and Fathead) watch.  the light sabres  from star wars (no, i'm not joking ... really) 

and all of rambo's jungle hackers

we spent about an hour in the gallery, completely engrossed in things that people used to kill other people (and buffaloes) with - and then we stepped back onto the streets. 

these food vendors are everywhere - each selling something more intriguing then the last. on the right of this pic, those two big brown blobs are basically plastic pillows, filled with mysterious brown blobs of sticky goo. 




on our way out of the artsy area, we stopped for a squizz at (our first) temple.  no longer in use, they've built a glass casing around it to preserve the relic from industrial ruin and decay.  over the years a bustling city has risen up around it, and the temple now finds itself in the heart of modern day life. 

the jongno tower behind Fathead.  apparently people come here to see it - but seeing as we don't speak korean and they aren't that hot at tourism here, we don't know what happens in the tower, why it's there or when it was built. 

a stone's throw from the tower of many unanswered questions, is the wongaksa temple.

Fathead calls this tomb "crouching tortoise, recessed pit"

the temple itself is a materpiece - so intricate in detail that it looks like its been embroidered together.

back in town, the city was starting to wake from its day indoors - and the streets began to fill.  many restaurants lay dormant during daylight, and then suddenly light up and welcome you in. 

most have a display cabinet outside, exhibiting the full menu on offer.  the food on display is all plastic, molded to appear to be fresh and real and even disguised under cling-wrap in an attempt to make it look genuine.

feeling like a wee tipple could be enjoyed, we hoped onto the subway and headed off to a town closer to "home". i've no doubt that itaewon will be a regular stop for us, so i'll tell you more about that town at a later stage. 

anyway, in itaewon Fathead and i found a number of charming little pubs, where we met a few friendly folk and watched the day turn into night. 


tired and tipsy, the two foreigners expertly caught a cab to the bus station and with a quiet confidence that comes from experience - waltzed into the booth to await the next connecting 9401 bus.  people around us marveled at the skill and ease with which we were executing the journey home. 

and it was only about 45 mins later, when the frost had returned sobriety to our brains, that we realised we were in the wrong bus shelter and the 9401 stop was two highways and a twenty minute walk away.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Chinese culture, traditions and history. I just saw the pictures you posted here and I really love the craftsmanship, it is amazing the quality of the details and the story behind it, thanks for sharing!