November 8, 2008

Korea - Weekend, Young Love Blooms In Seoul

We spent out weekend in Seoul with our friends The Lee Family.

Here is the background. Right after we arrived in Japan, Jacob and Jaewon (classmates in school) became the best of friends. The two J's were inseparable. But after last school year, Jaewon and her family moved back to Seoul. It was really terrific to have this visit with them. They were great hosts. It was so much was to catch up with our friends and to explore a new city. The best part was seeing Jacob and Jaewon so happy to be together.

On Saturday morning, we met at our hotel, and we all piled into their car. We drove by the President's House, and over to the giant palace and endless grounds of Gyeongbokgong. Built in the 14th century, this was the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, and is set with a backdrop of two of the five mountains that surround Seoul. (These five mountains, and the sun and moon are pictured in the artwork that goes behind the throne.)

Like in Japan (possibly even worse?), our blond haired, blue eyed, white-skinned kids attracted a lot of attention. Perhaps a bit too much!

After the palace, we grabbed a quick bite at a restaurant called SamcheongGak, an amazing spot located up on the mountains overlooking Seoul. We then drove down through a cute little artsy area called Samchungdong, a neighborhood set in windy streets lined with little cafes and art studios.

We headed to Insadong, a great neighborhood to walk through and take a weekend stroll. We sampled some Korean candies, looked at the various market wares, wandered about, and grabbed some afternooon ice cream.

In the late afternoon, we all went to see the show Nanta at a theater in a neighborhood near our hotel. To get there we had to stroll along a tree lined path along the wall of Deoksogong Palace. It was a beautiful area. The show itself was fabulous. A hilarious show of chopping, Stomp-liked percussion, dancing, and comedy, based in a Korean kitchen.

Dinner was at Cham Sooth Gaal for really great Korean BBQ, shoju (the Korean version of shochu), and Korean beer. Tak and Hana taught us how to really eat Korean BBQ- which greens to use when, smearing a piece of lettuce or bok choy with chili paste and wrapping the grilled meats inside. What a feast!

On our way home, kids on our shoulders, we again lucked out, as we ran into a huge free outdoor MTV-sponsored pop concert that was going in the plaza across the street from our hotel. It was called Beautiful Digital World. We were able to enjoy it both outside and from out hotel room!


Alexis Jacobs said...

Wow! Korea looks so cool. I bet it was nice catching up with old friends. I am laughing over the kids getting their picture taken. So odd! Glad my kids are all darker hair. :)

The Kasdan Family said...

Thanks was. Yeah- that picture is a classic. Insane.