Where to begin? Today was amazing. I woke up at about 9:30 a.m. despite the jet lag (which is hitting me now while I write this) and started planning my day. Nathan woke up soon after and made some coffee, which we both downed quickly in our attempt to clear the fog. He got a call and was asked to speak for 15 min. on the differences between Korean and American education practices at a lecture tomorrow for $100. Pretty nice. I left their place and made my way to the subway where I picked up some dough balls for breakfast. Koreans don’t really eat breakfast, they just have more kimchi, which is a spicy mix of vegetables that I really didn’t want for breakfast.I took the subway to the north part of the city and visited Changdeokgung Palace, which was built in 1405. I spent over three hours walking around exploring this huge expanse of “Secret Garden” that is in the middle of a giant city. Most of the pictures you see of pagodas and the like are from this palace. I got a little audio guide that walked me through it all. After I got tired of pagodas, I left and wandered down a street that is known for its trinkets and street vendors. This was very interesting because there was so much for sale, and I have no money to spend! This place was packed though, and I ended up getting lunch here (a hot dog… just like in America… not real dog) before heading to Jongul Tower for a while.
I had read about monks playing at a Buddhist temple closer to the center of city, so I got back on the subway and headed in farther. The temple was beautiful, and I felt like I was invading a sanctuary by pulling my camera out, but I did it anyway. There was a 45 foot tall Buddha, several worship pavilions, and a room with 1000 statues. I ended up catching the monks’ performance and have put a minute of it below. Check out more in the Videos Section. There are about 60 more photos in the Albums Page as well.
On the way home I picked up some food from a street vendor and brought it back to eat. Mmm… Delicious.