Wednesday, April 21, 2010

EVERLAND!

After hearing my students talk and talk about Everland (Korea's #1 Amusement Park), I couldn't reject an invitation to see what the hype was all about.  It is compared to Disney World/Land, and I must say it doesn't come close...my childhood is deeply rooted into Disney, for better or for worse.  Although Everland isn't Disneyland...I was still impressed.  great company...great rides...great time!
Sarah, Kailey, Me, and Sonya.  Everyone buys these silly headbands...why not?
WATER RIDE!  So...this is similar to Thunder Canyon at Valleyfair...except you DON'T GET WET!  I know Koreans are crazy about not getting wet in the rain...but I thought the purpose of a water ride was to GET WET!  Even though there is hardly any water that gets in your boat, you still get a plastic cover...
AND THEN...there are fan when you leave to "dry off"
Here is a photo of the ONLY wet spot on my whole body!  Good thing they had fans to dry off...otherwise I don't know what I'd do...
I ALMOST forgot the BEST PART!!  This is the typical "Attention" Sign that is always before you get on a ride....wait....take a look at #2...

Everland has the LARGEST wooden rollercoaster in the WORLD!  I am quite the thrill seeker...and I was VERY impressed by this ride...the drops were intense!  I thought it was an American custom to put up your hands while riding on a rollercoaster because I was the only one doing it every time we rode.  I asked about it later...and Koreans do it too...I was just the only one brave enough on this ride...

ANIMALS.  The animals were great at Everland.  It was a zoo and an amusement park put into one for roughly $30.

You can even go on a SAFARI.  You ride a bus around into different areas to see the animals.  The animals get so close to the bus that they even touch the bus and we had to stop several times.  Since it was the evening and we had to take photos through the windows...hardly any photos came out.  Here are a few.  I took a video of a bear walking on its hind legs...I'll see if I can figure out how to put that in my blog.
Here are just a few pics around Everland...
It was the tulip festival so there were tulips EVERYWHERE.  And of course, this is Korea...so Everland is situated up and down many hills...

 This part represents the USA
They had AMAZING fireworks at the end of the night.  So fabulous...that I totally forgot to take pics.  It was quite possibly, the best fireworks displays I have ever seen.  After the fireworks began the parade!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hwaseong Fortress

There is a Facebook group for English Teachers in Suwon.  I met up with them this weekend to finally see the Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon. 

Building the temporary fortress began in 1789 as well as a wall around the entire city to protect themselves from Japanese invasion.  Here are some pics:
Saturday Performances at the Fortress
I was trying to bend down so that I wouldn't hide the guards...but I guess I could have just stood up...they almost look like those scary manequins but I promise they were real people...
This beautiful man painted my name in Hangul
Getting dressed in hanbok...similar to what the Queen would have worn...
Here I am...trying to look serious...
closeup...it took great balance to keep this on my head
When the King thought his son wasn't suited to be a king, he locked him in a rice chest (like the one below) until he died of starvation :(
A shot of the temporary fortress from above
A little Konglish...
This statue of Buddah can be seen from far away.  It is lit up in during the night...
Beautiful Buddah close up
Big Buddah...Little Me
One of the gates...the city has obviously sprawled far beyond the original gates
And dinner of course...take rice, mix in lots of different veggies and some sauce, stir, and it is DELICIOUS! 
Add some tofu soup and you've got a great meal after a long day of walking...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Deoksu-Gung Palace

On Saturday, I head to Seoul alone to see the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art.  The line was, honestly, a mile long.  It took about 45 minutes to wait in line and get a ticket.  However, it was amazing! 

There were some cool statues to look at while I waited...
Nearby the Museum was the DEOKSU-GUNG Palace.  This Palace was originally constructed in the mid-1400s for the private residence of the grandson of King Sejo.  It was converted into a temporary palace in 1593 for the next 15 years.  Then...there is a whole story of changing names, King/Queens living here, escaping, etc etc...  It was used until 1919.  In 1933 it was restored and opened to the public.

The entrance gate


The developer of Hangul, Korea's written language

The King's Throne

While exploring the Palace...I met some foreigners that live in Seoul.  They were really cool and invited me out to dinner and shopping with them.

Squid from a street vendor...yummm!

       

What?  DIPPIN DOTS!