Chosuk, for the uneducated, is basically Korean Thanksgiving and is a time where Koreans gather at their home town and pay their respects to their ancestors while visiting with family. They also eat a lot of food (just like us). Chosuk fell on October 3-6th so it meant that we had nearly a whole week off from work. Unfortunately with Matt's gimpyness and with us being recent arrivals, we weren't able to plan a cool trip to Thailand or something, like a lot of people do. I guess not everyone goes back to their hometowns since flights to pretty much everywhere and hotels were booked like crazy. My students Ben and Max travelled with their families to Thailand and Canada (Lion students), for example.
So no Thailand for us, but we did make a couple of day trips into Seoul. On the Wednesday we went to the City Hall subway stop because we found out that there is an Air Canada office in Seoul. Yes, this is another thing that the stupid bint in Edmonton was wrong about. With the help of Michelle teacher's directions we found the office without a hitch and dealt with some knowledgeable and helpful Air Canada employees (figures you'd have to travel to Asia to find them). We got our tickets refunded and for awhile we were concerned that the interest charges on Matt's credit card had gone through (18% of $4500 isn't cool) but they didn't and so everything is thankfully cleared up. It was such a relief to get all of that crap behind us and figured out. For the rest of the day we explored this part of Seoul a bit.
We decided to go to Deoksu Palace which was pretty neat. Inside of this palace there was also an art museum, which we also checked out. Right now the exhibit is featuring the art of Rops and Munch. All I can say is that Rops did not like women very much and that I was a bit surprised at some of the extremely graphic drawings that he did. Phalluses (phallusi?) and devils aplenty! After we looked around the museum we wandered around the palace some more and then caught the changing of the guards ceremony.
This little girl was also touring the palace and is wearing a traditional Korean hanbok. I asked her parents if I could take her picture. Isn't she cute?
More pictures can be found here.
Then on Friday we ventured out to Dongdaemun, which is a shopping mecca. Since Friday was a holiday alot of stuff was closed but we did manage to buy some cool stuff. In Korea they sell tons of stuff on the street for way cheaper than you can get in the store. We buy all of our fruit, for example, off the street. Five apples in the supermarket would set you back about $35, where as on the street you can get that many for about $5. I bought a really cool pair of sneakers while we were at Dongdaemun for about $15. It was cute because the shopkeeper was telling us (or so we gathered since he was speaking Korean) that the shoes I bought are good quality because they are made in Korea; apparently much better than shoes from China. I found some cute Engrish shirts (for $5 a piece) but I won't divulge what they say or what they look like since they will probably end up as gifts. I didn't take a lot of pictures this day but we did see this gem of a store:
There was also this really neat aquaduct/fountain in the middle of the streets.