Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Children's Day 2014

I arranged to meet my pal "Heron" at the King Sejong statue in Gwanghwamun Plaza on Monday, which was Children's Day, to have a look round the downtown area at all the Children's Day festivities. While awaiting her arrival, I had the remarkable coincidence of running into Mr Hwang who was my first co-teacher and "handler" at Young-il HS lo these many years ago. I had seen him a couple of times since then, but the kids have grown up a lot in the meantime:

 photo DSC_0052_zps1ac0388a.jpg

Heron and I spent a pleasant afternoon, first at Gwanghwamun--she had not yet been to the Sejong and Admiral Yi museums located underneath, then walking along the Cheonggicheon. There were yellow ribbons everywhere, a sad remembrance of the youth who died in the Sewol ferry disaster, but many of the usual activities had been cancelled. There were many visitors, nonetheless.

 photo DSC_0060_zps97c174f2.jpg
 photo DSC_0064_zps3624314f.jpg

The lanterns adorned the stream for Buddha's birthday celebrations. The red-crested crane is Korea's national bird, seen also on the 500 W coin.

 photo DSC_0061_zps84a6b6a8.jpg
 photo DSC_0066_zps5fe65c19.jpg

The weather was a tad chilly but the sky was, as you can see, glorious. We walked quite a long way down the stream, and I noticed these painted tiles for the first time (I'm sure they've always been there):

 photo DSC_0067_zpsc77ab874.jpg
 photo DSC_0069_zpscc7c69a8.jpg

For those not in the know, the Cheonggi stream was once a blight on Seoul's downtown, an open sewer; Hyundai Industries was contracted to cover it over and make it a street, back when Lee Myung-bak was its chairman. Twenty years later, when Lee was Seoul mayor, he led a move to restore in into a recreation and relaxation spot. Most Seoullites today will probably choose not to remember how unpopular that decision was at the time, since it is taken for granted today, eight years later.

 photo DSC_0076_zps940c2ce8.jpg
 photo DSC_0073_zpsb9c370a7.jpg

We meandered through Insadong, then made our way to Itaewon dor dinner. We ate at Zelen, the Hungarian place, and it was delicious, as usual. We shared a shopska salad, she had chicken in white sauce, I had stuffed pork. And white sangria, as if that's even possible.

 photo DSC_0077_zps1a99f4d0.jpg
 photo DSC_0079_zps41ee7b09.jpg
 photo DSC_0081_zpscf77e1e4.jpg
 photo DSC_0078_zps1a99f4d0.jpg

A nice ending to a lovely day out. Thanks, Heron!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

So glad Heron is part of your Rat Pack. (She can be Shirley McClaine!)