Korea:::: Land of the Festivals!
There has been a festival every weekend since I arrived back from Beijing one month ago. Technically, I have been to six in the past three weeks!!
The weekend of October 9, 2010 was epic!
I went to Seoul with Dana and Jesse and arrived at 1AM Saturday morning.. we took a taxi to Itaewon and the three of us slept in a Full sized bed.. quite comfortably, haha! Dana and I woke up at 6AM to head to Camp KimUSO's office to catch our bus for the DMZ/JSA tour. It was an absolutely amazing tour, plenty of historical information as well as plenty of laughs! I love American soldiers, they definitely have a sense of humor! Our first stop was a 20 minute information session about how the DMZ/JSA works and what it is for. Then, we headed to the literal DMZ line and visited the conference room where North Korea and South Korea meet face to face for meetings. I was able to cross the line into North Korea, it was awesome! It was really funny, because we got to take funny pictures with the soldiers that are on duty in the room, they do not move, wear sunglasses so you have no idea if they're even looking at you, and are in a martial arts ready to fight pose!
After hanging out there we went to the 3rd infiltration tunnel. This tunnel, amongst many other tunnels found, were made by North Korea to surprise attack Seoul, South Korea. It was super interesting/tiring! It is 1.1 miles long, 6.6 foot by 6.6 foot, and 240 Ft below the ground. It could have easily accomodated 30,000 North Korean soldiers per hour with light amo!!!
Next, we went to the top of Mt. Dora to look through telescopes to view North Korea! It was interesting.
The tour lasted from 7:30AM-4PM... quite exhausting, and the next part of our day was even crazier!
When Dana and I got home, we met back up with Jesse at the hotel and took a nap for an hour, the met up with some friends for MEXICAN FOOD! Along with Margaritas made with REAL LIME! I was pretty stoked.. Koreans don't seem to understand the concept of a lime!!
Then, we headed to Global Gathering. It is a huge World-Wide DJ festival (very popular in the UK), and this GGK2010 was the first one for Korea. It was awesome! The main DJs were Aarmin Van Buren, Fat Boy Slim and Justice. It was an insane night, and of course I had to dress up like a panda as an ode to the Great Wall!! We met a lot of cool people from across Korea, and also ran into them the next week at a Rock Festival. I experienced my first mosh pit, it was insane.. we wanted to be up to the barrier and closest to the DJ to get the full effect.. and definitely got the full effect! Christina and I decided we wanted to 'be rescued' like the other shwasted people that literally got pulled over the fence while they were half alive from intoxication. And so we waved the security gaurds over and they pulled us up and we got to run around in real close to the DJ, it was epic and super fun!!! Practically all of the awesome people from Jinju were there, so it was just an awesome time to be had by all.
October 1-12, 2010
Jinju (my city) held its annual Lantern Festival! It was AMAZING, MAGICAL, BEAUTIFUL and INSPIRING! I looooved it, if you can't tell.
The floating of the lanterns dates back to the Japanes invasion of Korea in 1592. The Korean soldiers used to float lanterns down the Namgang river towards home to let their families know they were alive. The festival has been happening in Jinju since 1949!!!
It was so gorgeous I felt like I was at Disneyland! I wanted to go to the festival every day (it was 2 weeks long).. but I didn't! I walked around it about 4 times, but I was able to see the un-lit lanterns from my kindergarten every day.. so ti made up for it. One night I met up with some friends and we had Magkoli at the river's edge and had a dandy night!!
Gyeongsang University Festival
I had a fabulous time at the GNU Festival! They had fireworks, bands, about 50 tents ran by student organizations. All of which were to raise money for the different organizations around the school. Everyone just goes and hangs out, eats food grilled by the students and drinks Soju/Mikju/Mogkali and talks. It was super chill and I loved it. I went two nights and wished it happened every weekend!
1st Daejeon Rock Festival/Balloon Festa/Food Expo
This was an interestingly disorganized group of festivals, all occuring in the same location. The balloon festival was awesome, however of course being Kora, none of the hot air balloons actually literaly went into the air.. they were out for looks. But I got to jump in a basket and pull the chain that makes the fire ignite.. like all of the other little kids, and it really thrilled me! Claire, Dana and I also set off a wishing lantern which floats into the sky like you're in a dream!
Then, we went to the Rock Festival (about 15 bands from all over Korea came and it was supposed to last from 8PM-5AM.. that story will come in a bit). We stayed for about an hour, brought our own drinks because they hardcore lied to us about international beers being there... lied! There was only one cooler (the same in every bar in Korea), over-priced, 'International' selection of beer. We decided to head to the busier part of town and see if we could find a good place to hang out and stopped by TGIFridays, goofed off, practically got kicked out, but had a fun time just talking and enjoying life!
Here's where it turns 'SO KOREA'.. when we arrived back at the Festival, there was someone talking on the mic saying that the show was cancelled. We looked at each other and seriously thought it was a joke.. but soon realized it wasn't when people started making fires out of pizza boxes and throwing chairs. SO AMERICAN! I'm sure they were American actually, haha rednecks! And we were told that the bands were going to split up and head to different venues around the city because of noise complaints. Mind you, this event was sponsored by the city of Daejeon and was FREE because they were trying to stimulate tourism to Central Korea.
So, it took us about an hour to hail a cab (none of them would stop for us white people.. they knew the area was absolutely crazy) it was hundreds and hundreds of people trying to head to different areas of the city. But we finally got a cab and headed to .. what else .. but Yellow Taxi. Which was actually in a really cool area of Daejeon, one which I think I would visit again. Very good nightlife, lights all around! It was cool and a good ending to the night!