Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seoul Day Three -- and the Beginning of the Meeting

It seemed as though I had just fallen asleep when it was time to wake up -- perhaps because I slept long and soundly!

We met the group for breakfast at 7:00 am (no early morning Eucharist for me today). Other friends are beginning to show up as well. I invited Scott Hayashi to join us on our adventure today. The only one from our group who couldn't make it was Anna Olson -- she was meeting our friend Francis today. 

We set out at 8:30 and we walked along the main boulevard towards the Big Palace (Gyeongbokgung Palace). Along the way we stopped at my favorite "water feature" which is the lower level river right off the main boulevard. I always know where it is by the shell-like structure at the boulevard entrance to
the water.  We walked along the water's edge, admiring the umbrellas and other beautiful things to see -- such as the umbrellas hanging with some kind of message on them. 

We then crossed to the middle of the boulevard to admire the statues of Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong the Great, two very important men in Korean history (you can look up their stories if you'd like -- I'm not writing it all out here). The statues are ginormous, as I am fond of saying. The air was cool this
morning and the large crowds we encountered the last few days were much fewer in number.

We finally made it to the Palace! I'm not quite sure why, but today it was free admission for not only the Palace but for the Folk Art Museum as well. We walked around the palace grounds and admired the workmanship of the buildings. It wasn't very crowded so it was easy to take pictures and spend a bit
of time looking around. We did make it over to the folk museum -- I hadn't been there in 4 years! Right outside there was the Chinese zodiac statues -- I found the monkey (my sign for my year). Too cute!

Anna reminded me that at the entrance to Insadong (at least one of the entrances) is a giant paint brush. It's more the a mouhbat -- a brush pen for calligraphy. We turned in there and waked up into Insadong. We were along the same road we were on yesterday. Another stop at the scarf store for one
for my twin to match the one I got for myself (it is a good color for us). We also went to an art store that featured silks and hand embroidery. I found some beautiful mirrors for gifts that were hand embroidered on one side! We then went on to look for a specific kind of pillow in the shape of a cube for Kate (she saw one in the Folk Museum I believe). Steve finally was able to get his fried donut (there was a LONG line there yesterday and he couldn't get one - bummer! It has some kind of beans in it -- I would describe it as sweet and savory!

While the group was helping Kate search for the pillow she was looking for, I went over to the information booth. I asked the woman there if she could help me find the restaurant and the tea house I was looking for yesterday with Fr. Columba. I described the sign outside the Shabu Shabu restaurant: "there is a sign with a short man on it -- cartoon like -- and he has crazy hair." She immediately knew what I was talking about, called it up on her computer, turned the monitor around and let me see it -- yes, that was it! Shabu Shabu was in my future! I felt confident in her abilities so I asked her to look up the tea house -- it was only one street over from the Shabu Shabu restaurant. So off our group went. 

We got to the restaurant and our "little" group of 8 ordered shabu shabu -- Scott Hayashi took care of the cooking on one side of the table, and Ken Chow took control of the other pot on the other side of
the table. Within a few minutes, the food was cooking in a delicious broth and we were enjoying each other's company and the wonderful shabu shabu! This is on road 8 in Insadong.

After our lunch we found the tea house -- yes, it was the one I was looking for! It is on road 10 of Insadong -- like road 8 it is really a narrow alleyway. At the end of a museum is the part open/part enclosed tea house. Four of us had jujube tea -- delicious! Two had green tea (one with milk). One had Chrysanthemum tea, and one had ginger tea. Delicious! It was packed outside so we sat inside. It was a delightful, refreshing experience, and I was so happy to find those two places. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the tea.

We then got into cabs and headed over to the hotel. The rest of the group moved over to the hotels they were staying at (with the rest of the EAM group). There are a few of us staying at the hotel we checked into just a few days ago. At 3:30 we met up (some but not all of us) and walked over to Namdemun. It was pretty packed, and chock full of vendors and "more stuff than anyone needs" per Steve. It was a fruitful experience (Barbara found an outfit for her granddaughter, I found a table runner, as did Kate. Barbara found a knitting bag.) A detour suggested by one of the shop keepers sent us to a "mall" with hundreds of stalls -- looking for Kate's pillow. No luck.

We said our goodbyes at the hotel and went to our rooms to shower and change for dinner. Steve and I waslked over to the Cathedral where we were greeted by old friends from all across the US and Taiwan. We registered and sat to have some water. 

The program began at 7 pm with introductions by Fred Vergara, Bayani Rico, Peter Ng, Archbishop Kim and the blessing of the food by the Senior Warden of the Cathedral. We then headed to the sub basement for dinner -- a big spread with all different kinds of food. 

We sat and ate with the Shin's and the Lai's -- good friends. Donald Rominek from ECF joined us.

We were done by about 8:30 and headed back to the hotel, which is a good thing -- I'm pooped!

I wonder what our first FULL day (and it is scheduled as a very full day) will be like tomorrow! 


  1. Your blog and photos are really quite wonderful. Starting to catch up. XO

  2. Your blog and photos are really quite wonderful. Starting to catch up. XO