Sunday, February 14, 2010

Seollal Weekend

We got a three day weekend for the lunar new year celebration, Seollal, and Nora and I came out of our cave for dinner and/or drinks Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and on our own on Sunday. 

Thursday we ate at our local barbecue joint - there are some pictures a few posts below of chicken on a grill in the middle of table from last time we ate there.

Friday we went out to Kundae with some of our friends after work for dinner.  This was a new variation on 'chicken ribs' - cooked in a pan with vegetables and oil, rather than grilled on a barbecue.  But it was equally good, and afterward you order a plate of rice and seaweed and make a quick, spicy chicken-fried rice.

Here's a picture of it all going into the pan

And here is what it looked like after it was finished cooking:

Very tasty

Afterward we went to a bar in the area called Woodstock, where they have pretty much every song imaginable.  It's where we found a condom dispenser with this advertisement:

I'm not sure exactly what the message is supposed to be.
The bar was cool for other reasons as well.  Nora licked a turtle, I lost at darts, and we all got Rick Rolled
I had a video of the rick roll, but apparently YouTube has "voluntarily disabled this functionality on because of the Korean real-name verification law," so I was unable to upload it.

On Saturday night we went out for our friend's birthday in Hongdae, which is basically a hipster hangout for people with money who like mixed drinks.  OK, it's a little more than that, but I'm not a big fan of Hongdae.  Still, we had fun, and I got to have a kebab made in the back of a pickup truck.  It was advertised to me as the "best kebab in Korea" by our friend Nathan.  While I can't say that for sure, it was a really good kebab.

Finally, on Sunday we went to the national palace, Gyeongbokgung and the National Folk Museum to take a look around at some of the festivities for Lunar New Year.  We were led to believe they would be really cool, and while they were interesting, they weren't all that exciting.  I would choose to spend the Seollal celebrations in some other Asian city if I had the choice.

But we did get to see a drum troupe, which basically involves the players wearing colorful outfits with long streamers on their heads.  As they play, they dance around and twirl the streamers.  It's really cool, but then it gets kind of old after the first several songs.

Here's a shot of some of them in motion:

Afterward we travelled to Gwangwhamun, the largest plaza downtown.  For the occasion, they shut it off to traffic (which they didn't even do for the international snowboard competition held a month ago), and had traditional Korean games, including: throwing sticks at a jar; whipping spinning tops with leather straps to keep them going; slamming folded paper on the ground to get it to turn over (similar to Pogs, if you remember those); rolling metal hoops on the ground; and flying kites.

Needless to say, Koreans used to be really hard up for fun. No wonder they're all so obsessed with computer games.  But the kites were kinda cool, especially seeing dozens and dozens of them flying over downtown.

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