Saturday 5 February 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!

So Lunar New Year has rolled around and I have a wonderful week of holidays. Last Monday on the first day of the holidays we relaxed and had a nice quiet day topped off with a second visit to our local sushi restaurant (yum!). Tuesday Dee, Kelly and I once again went into Seoul for a little shopping therapy and a delicious meal at an Indian restaurant. We didn't spend as much but we all still had at least 2 bags in our hands coming home! That night we had a movie night at Kyle and Vanessa's place. We watched 'The Town', pretty good film about Irish decendant gansters in Boston, a few Irish jokes were thrown my way during that!! On Wednesday we chilled and packed before catching the train to Busan on the southern coast. We checked into a cheap love motel and then headed around the corner to the first bar we found. Next morning the group of us got up and went to the beach, it is a lot warmer here than back in Yongmun(it hasn't gotten above freezing since I've arrived) but it was still only 11 C so it wasn't a day for sunbathing but I still couldn't resist taking off my shoes and socks to dip my toes in the water. Already I can imagine the fun weekends we will have here in the summer. It was absolutely stunning!

Out again Thursday night and up early on Friday morning to catch a tour bus around the city. The first stop was the UN cemetary for soldiers who died in the Korean war. Notices on the way in requested respectful silence and once you stepped inside you could understand why. Rows and rows on gravestones stretched out in front of you, walking along the pathways reading the names and ages it was hard not to be moved by it. The majority of graves belonged to soldiers of 19, 20 and 21 years old. 2,300 young men were buried there, some of them in unknown graves. Reading one stone which was marked as the youngest soldier buried in this cemetary at just 17 years old I could feel  tears in my eyes. I know its silly because I knew none of them but seeing so many headstones for so many young lives that were lost unnecessarily made it hard not to feel that way.

Wall of Rememberance - lists of all the lives lost

After that we continued on the tour and one of the later stops was a beautiful scenic park with a walk with led to a famous lighthouse. As a group we chose to get a ferry with took us along the cliffs and coastline to see the lighthouse from the sea. Last night then we went out again for a yummy Korean meat bbq where I tasted pig skin for the first time along with other meats (it's not as chewy as I expected but I don't think it'll ever be my favourite meal!). After that we drank some fruit soju (I really want to introduce this to Ireland) and then I  had another first cuisine wise as we tasted SILK WORM LARVAE... yes you read that right. I felt like I was on I'm a celebrity get me out of here! It wasn't as bad as I expected apparently they are highly nutritious!

Oh I forget to day that we went to the fish market earlier in the day as well (world famous) and I saw an eel like fish being skinned alive, chopped up and cooked while it still wriggled! Yuck.. but this is Korea and ever experience is a good one in that way. Anyway thats about it for now... so I'll finish by saying Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

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