Korea



(2006) Since being Extreme Art Tourists was something we became unintentionally, some of our trips were not primarily about Art. While we did partake of Art in both traditional and unusual settings, this was a trip about Festivals, along with as much Art as we could find.

On our first morning in Korea, we caught the eight o’clock bus for a three and one-half hour trip south to JINJU and the Floating Lantern (Yudeung) Festival. This is the largest of its kind in Korea and has its origins from the Japanese occupation of Joseon in the late 16th century. According to records, General Kim Si-Min of Jinju Castle, leading only 3,800 rebels, destroyed an army of 20,000 Japanese troops who attacked the castle in October of 1592. During the Japanese attack, the general raised a lantern in the sky and floated lanterns and torches on the river to send signals to loyal troops and other supporting forces outside the castle.


Both sides of the river were awash in tents and decorations, such as a very long and tall wall of lanterns; each with a yellow ribbon hanging below with people's names and a prayer for peace. For 10,000 won we added our names to the display, where they would hang for twelve days.


The river itself was filled with giant silk-covered characters floating on rafts. Dragons, genies, animals, regular people, and many heros from Jinju’s past, all covered in brightly colored silk. Giant mechanical peacocks lifted their tails and a dragon belched fire and smoke. There was a row of bigger than life symbols of the Oriental Zodiac, and there were places where schoolchildren or anyone else could hang a lantern for competition.


We paid 1,000 won to cross the river on a floating bridge to the other side where there were more tents and the Castle.


While not a castle guy, I did enjoy the open-sided, elevated meditation shelter. Everyone removed their shoes before climbing the stairs to enjoy the shade, the river breezes and the view from above the river. Continuing along the river, we found a shrine to the maiden who, according to legend, grabbed hold of the Japanese general and dragged him into the river where his heavy armor drowned them both. Eventually we reached the museum, which contained artifacts pertaining to the Korean victory in 1592.


Paid another 1,000 to re-cross the floating bridge, and had supper. There were dozens of food tents – sit-down places with a roll of paper towels for napkins. And there were lots of dressed up, made-up women directing the activities: Some were cooking while pointing out an empty table to a passerby, others filled bottles with water, or brought out the many side dishes. Other women brought out the rest. Appetizer of seaweed and bibimbap (a bowl of rice topped with raw & cooked vegetables served with chili paste). Followed by boiling hot, instantly served soup, and on and on. Click here for video of night scenes.

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After dark the floating characters, as well as those on land were all lit up. It was very colorful. Flares shot into the air, symbolizing the signal torches used by the Korean general. Torches lined the opposite bank and the castle walls. Then rockets fired from the Castle were answered by others from our side of the river. The fireworks then began in earnest. It was an awesome (meant in the traditional way) display. The sky was filled with light as coordinated rockets were fired from the other shore, while others went off from barges in the river. Gorgeous effects and spectacular colors and sounds. Amazingly, none of the silk-covered displays were damaged by the falling ashes. When it was over, we walked back to the bus terminal for our midnight bus back to SEOUL.  Click here for video of fireworks or click here to see more photos.

The next morning we were at Namdaemun (West Gate) Market to explore the art of shopping. This is supposed to be the cheapest market, the distribution center for many other markets and retailers. It is a warren of shops or stalls; multi-floor; seeming endless hallways. We didn’t stay long, although M managed to buy slippers and mix it up with the ajumma while buying a blouse off a cart. Lunch was a seafood pancake (called an omelet) & soju (Korean vodka made usually with rice or sweet potato, drunk neat).


We aimed for Cheonggyecheon.  Also known as The Stream, this is a new project where the almost dead creekbed was revitalized with bridges, stepping stones, lights, music, sculptures, and places to sit. The idea was to attract visitors to the retail districts above. It was filled with people of every age, sitting about, playing, laughing, taking pictures of each other, crossing and recrossing the stream. There were plenty of accesses to street level, but we walked to the end, at Gwanghwamun, where there is a waterfall and a giant shell above it.


Another early start for our adventure to ANDONG and the International Maskdance Festival.


In olden times, direct criticism of the yangban (rulers) was strictly forbidden, so the lower classes satirized them while wearing masks. Different regions developed their own masked dances. Among the mask dances still performed are Hahoe Mask Dance, Eunyul Mask Dance, Bukcheong Sajanoreum, Bongsan Mask Dance, Dongnae Yaryu, Suyeong Yaryu, Gasan Ogwangdae, Gangnyeong Mask Dance, Songpa Sandaenori, Yangju Byeolsandaenori, Tongyeong Ogwangdae, Goseong Ogwangdae, and the Gangneung Mask Drama.

The entrance to the festival was lined with a gauntlet of vendors. The grounds were very large with an indoor arena at one end and the amphitheatre at the other. In between was a vast paved area filled with tents, and a very large open space in the middle.  The tents were for “experience” activities where kids, mostly, made masks or wall-hangings with a mask theme.  Or had a traditional Korean wedding, participated in a tea ceremony, or a million other things. Other tents were for the myriad products produced in the region/country: ginseng, green tea, soju, dried fish, crafts, etc.


The theme of this year's festival, the tenth, was Stylishness and Excitement of Yangban. Again, Yangban refers to Korea's ruling elite, especially during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Press below for video.


http://youtu.be/stFkc9VHjPk


With an all-day ticket, we were able to come and go to the amphitheatre where various companies from countries like Poland, Mexico, Malaysia, Costa Rica, China, Slovakia, Latvia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Japan performed. Foam pads were provided for the audience as there were no chairs. We saw Sooyeong (don’t know what that means) do some traditional routines before the performance of an interesting drama about a tree. It began as women dressed as crows danced around and talked excitedly.  It may have been because they knew man wanted to cut down the tree to build a highway. Two characters with hardhats and ties came to do a survey and dance around. The crows foiled their attempts to harm the tree, regardless of the men’s devises. At one point the men hid themselves with a shroud of trash and litter and jumped around like the lion dance. Click on the picture below to see the video.


http://youtu.be/NWXfNbiJx1Y

Once, while we were in the open center area, there were suddenly processions of traditional musicians and men in traditional working costumes. Soon crowds of spectators joined the participants. The band was called Nongak (means “farmer’s dance") and is comprised of kwaengwari, jing, janggu, and buk (flat cymbal, gong, hourglass shaped drum, and barrel drum), and sometimes tepyeongso (a double reed wind instrument).

Chajeon Nori was a commemoration of Wang Geon’s victory over Gyeon Hwon at the Battle of Gochang in 935. It resembled a jousting match, of sorts, with the two opposing commanders standing atop large log frames that are maneuvered by their teams. These frames were known as dongchae, and were composed of two thirty-foot long logs tied together with straw rope. Some members of the team carry the dongchae, while the others fight (at least symbolically) with the opposing team to help their side advance. A team wins by forcing the other team’s dongchae to the ground. After their victory, the members of the winning team traditionally toss their straw sandals into the sky. Click here to see video.


We enjoyed the many booths and displays, including an exhibition of finely made masks and another show of amateur versions. There were bonsai displays and locally made 40-proof soju (for which Andong is famous; the usual is 20). There were also trained chrysanthemums, tables of dried fish, jars of ginseng, and piles of fried silkworm larvae snacks called Beondaegi. Click here for more scenes from the Maskdance Festival.


As opposed to Beondaegi, there are some things we cannot resist when we travel – such as dolmens (taepyeongso in Korean). Like Ireland, Scotland and most of Europe, Korea has perhaps thousands of these stone structures built between early 30th century bc through 108 bc. We went to GANGWHA in the northwest, where we found a few outstanding examples right up close to the border with the North. Even towns in the remote areas are nicely adorned with flowering trees and plants.


Our visit coincided with the holiday of Chuseok, which has been likened to the American Thanksgiving although much more important. The full harvest moon festival occurs on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The days before and after are also holidays, making it easy for people to visit their hometowns.

Seoul at sunrise
Back in SEOUL, we started at Deoksugung (gung means “palace”) where there was supposed to be a changing of the palace guard at 10:30, but not on Chuseok, so we had a nice walk around the grounds before going into the Museum of Modern Arts.


In what was once a private villa, there is now an interesting museum with a special show of the Art of Edvard Munch and Felician Rops on the first floor, with paintings of women done by Korean artists on the second level.

Felician Rops (above only)

Lots more people filled the palace grounds, after we went in. Some playing traditional games and little ones, especially the girls, were decked out in traditional dress. Then we walked over to the Seoul Art Museum, which had a biennial print exhibition and another show by a woman named Chun Kyung-Ja, which was particularly interesting. She had illustrations of America and the rest of the World.


Nearby we found a stage set up at the end of The Stream, in front of the giant shell at Gwanghwamun. There were fan dancers and other entertainers performing for the holiday crowd. We tried to find another art museum to no avail. Ilmin Museum of Art was closed for the holiday.


At City Hall Plaza we found the Harvest Korean Traditional Music Festival. Lots of hands-on activities for kids, including tie dying, drum lessons, painting, calligraphy, etc.


We claimed spaces on the foam sheets that were spread in front of the stage for people to sit upon. At six the traditional wedding procession circled the crowd, with husband on horseback and bride in a sedan accompanied by drums and gongs and other costumed characters. The stage show began with the fan dancers we saw earlier, but now they were in full costume and very elegant. This was followed by the National Orchestra playing traditional instruments but jazzed up. There were celebrities, singers, dancers, tightrope walkers, and a traditional flute player, all with stage effects such as flames, mist, and bubbles for the flute player. Click below to see video of fan dancers doing a last run-through before the show.


http://youtu.be/7f--gy3f7uc

The highlight for me was a quartet playing the traditional instruments (gong, little gong, two-sided drum hour-glass shaped drum, lower pitched two-sided drum) with surreal intensity. They were tight, smooth, fast, amazing. Click below to see video.


http://youtu.be/6lChpu_2UoM

The next day we visited Tapgol Park, home to the #2 national treasure – a tall, glass-encased stone pagoda. In 1917 the Declaration of Independence from Japan was read in Tapgol Park and an insurrection began which spread countrywide.

We then headed to lunch in Insadong.  Insadong is a district of shops and carts with wares for both tourists and locals. Many of the businesses were just getting set up at noon that day, but we found lots of art supply stores, art galleries, antique stores, and gift shops selling masks or carved Korean tiki heads.

While the Seoul Drum Festival had been going on in various parts of the city, we went to the big Saturday night show at Gyeonghuigung.

The opening began with an elaborate traditional drumming exhibition, which I shot while lying on the ground in the row of seats with my head and camera in the main aisle. Click here for video.

Afterwards, a military band lined the same aisle. And while they played a Karl King march, the evening’s entertainment filed in and proceeded to the stage. I could try to describe each act, which included Italian flag throwers, but the following video captures much of it. Click here for video of performances.

Seoul Land is Korea’s first theme park and home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art. We took the Elephant Train up to the zoo and from there it was still a good walk up the hill to the museum.

While billed as a “sculpture garden” there was little evidence of a garden, but there was an exhibit of outdoor Art. The museum itself is very large and airy.  The art was contemporary; some interesting, some gimmicky. Most by Korean artists, except for an Andy Warhol and a Chuck Close. There was also a retrospective on the 20th anniversary of the death of prominent artist, Oh Yoon, who died at 40.

Great Desires for the Unification by Oh Yoon

After our visit to MOCA, we hoped to see the horses run at the nearby racetrack. While it turned out there was no live racing, we found a little equine art.


Back in town, we were successful in our search for the giant bamboo dragon built in celebratory anticipation of the US Army vacating the nearby base.


It was still Chuseok, so we decided to head for the mountains. And the seashore. To GANGWON-DO province in the northeast corner, home of Seoraksan National Park. We got a room in Sokcho that overlooked the rocky coast. As we looked out we could not help but notice the severity of the waves. Turns out that North Korea allegedly detonated an atomic bomb near their coast that morning, just north of us. Some of the waves crashed over the cement seawalls that had been erected in various places along the coast. Occasionally barbed wire was in evidence, another reminder of the proximity to the North


The next thing we noticed about Sokcho was the many signs in Russian. But then we saw the big ferry that made regular trips to Russia.

It was getting late by the time the bus got us to Seoraksan National Park. We walked past the bear sculpture/park mascot, past the souvenir shops, past the giant Buddha, up the stony pathway, over stone bridges, traced the stone riverbed, through an isolated restaurant that is stocked by vendors who must carry supplies on their backs, to a temple where people can stay, or buy a roof tile with their name on it, or a lotus lantern hung with a prayer, or just a candle. No incense available.


There are small stacks of rocks piled up everywhere along the path or around the temple, or practically anywhere. The path went through lovely pine woods as we made our way back down to the entrance before the park closed.


As our room faced East, sunlight came to us early, though diffused by the morning fog. Fishing boats trawled back and forth along the coast at different distances. Then the red ball of sun blazed through.


We caught the 10:45 bus for WONJU, which turned out to be a really long ride through the mountains. Though lovely and sometimes exciting, we didn‘t arrive until late in the afternoon. But not too late to catch the street parade for the Wonju Tattoo - International Military Band Festival.

Many of the bands were playing when they hit the street and the whole procession passed by in less than half an hour. The bands were from around the world and each had its own style. We would see them again later, so we didn’t mind the briefness. Click here for video.


As soon as a hotel room was found, we had to go right back out for the opening performances at the festival stadium. Sure enough Festive Overture (Shostakovich) was being played as we approached, so we hurried to the main gate and found the stadium was sold out. Fortunately, a man in military uniform escorted us in and helped to find some space along a rail with the photographers.

After a Korean drum exhibition, it was karaoke time with a girl singing The Theme from Fame, followed by an ABBA tune and a couple of others. Weird, but the audience liked it. A laser show preceded all the bands filing onto stadium floor while herald trumpets blared from the upper concourse and the ROK (Republic of Korea) band played from the stands. As before, rather than try to describe the scene, click below for video.


http://youtu.be/qZxdOMCmmkk

The next day we heard the 8th US Army band play in the concert hall, and then watched the Russian band (Orchestra of the Pacific Fleet HQ) transform into a small orchestra. The women who played on drums in the marching unit, now played on violins. The long-legged blonde who stood at the head of the band, when marching, wearing a pretty blue and white outfit, with a veil, was now a violin soloist wearing a long skirt with a slit.

The highlight of the whole festival was the performance by the Spanish band, The Symphonic Band of the Artistic Association of Denia. Previously a motley-looking group of marchers, they now became a finely tuned ensemble, still with ties askew. Each song better than the last, with the best being the Preludio y Danza del Alba for brass quintet and band. A beautiful song whose composer was recognized in the audience. A great performance.

The evening’s marching program began, again, with lots of Korean traditional bands. Click below for videos:


Russian band

Mongolian band

Back to SEOUL the next day.

Went to Gwanghwamun to find the Ilman Museum of Art in the Samsung Life Insurance building. A bit of a strange place. The exhibition seemed to be done by one artist, with lots of plastic baskets of various colors stacked into walls or other formations or just piled up. All exhibitions are contemporary, and the location in the business district makes the Art very accessible.


Looked again for the Chosun Ilbo Museum with no success, but found a big rally in City Hall Plaza.


We did the Korean National Museum, which had lots of pots, calligraphy, archeology, a few traditional paintings on rolls, and masses of school kids and families. All in an enormous new building. My favorite piece was a large 7th century “pensive Bodhisattva,” National Treasure #83.

At Gyeongbokgung (remember, gung means palace) we found what appeared to be some kind of re-enactment. There were lines of traditionally dressed men marching and dancing in front of a throne and great crowds to watch.


Afterwards, we just wandered from building to building; admiring the decoration - painted and carved – that covered almost every inch. Lots of dragons. Not unlike other cultures, the embellishment of places of religion and power represents much of the Art of a people.


Flew to JEJU ISLAND, just off the southern coast. This was the “nature as Art” portion of our journey. We were greeted by carved stone totems called The Grandfathers.

This isn't a Grandfather.  She's a ground traffic controller at the airport.
These are The Grandfathers.
The first natural wonder we saw was Jusangjeollidae at Jungmun Daepo Coast. These are hexagonally shaped rocks which are similar to formations found at Giants’ Causeway in Northern Ireland. Although you can’t walk or sit on them, they are quite spectacular crystal-like shapes of volcanic black basalt rock with wave after wave crashing upon them.


After getting ourselves settled in SEOGWIPO, on the southern coast of the island, our next stop was Cheonjiyeon Falls. It was a nice walk to get to them, but I wasn’t surprised that the cascades were not as impressive as they looked in the pictures. This may be because it was now late fall and a long way from the rainy season. Once again, it was mostly fun watching the people take pictures of each other.


Next were the Jeongbang Falls – the only waterfall in Asia that falls into the sea. It was a long, long climb down the stone stairs to the bottom of the falls. Very nice. Although not as huge as it sometimes gets, the sound was powerful and the proximity of the ocean and the rocks was great.


The walk back up, was not. But we survived, only to be shocked by the prices for the fish. It’s not unusual to see a fish tank in front of a restaurant, so when we pointed to something that looked like a red snapper, the man nodded and said “Porgie.” The menu said 100,000. Each? They were fairly small and I thought a bait fish. Not for us.


Hallasan is the volcano which made Jeju an island and although we aren’t the greatest mountain climbers, we thought we'd give it a try. There were lots of people on the trail, going at all speeds, coming down as well as going up. Marie took a picture for a couple standing by the creekside and the woman produced an orange and offered it in return. Lots of women on the trail, including nuns. The leaves were definitely changing there and it looked like autumn. A man came down singing “Annyeon haseyo” to everyone he met. After a while, we turned and made our descent. In the process, however, we met a couple from Ireland who had a car.


We ended up touring the northeastern part of the island together. The scenery was lovely, as we passed through fields of Eulalia undulating in the breeze and herds of ponies. We didn’t quite make it to Sunrise Peak, because we were running short of time and wanted to go to Manjanggul Cave, one of the finest lava flow tubes in the world. It was fantastic with an almost flat floor (not smooth) and basalt walls at times smooth; saw the stone turtle that looks like Jeju Island, and it seemed like we walked the 1 km open for visitors. Sorry no pictures.

Got dropped at JEJU CITY, on the northern shore of the island and port for the boat we would be taking in the morning. The Tamma Festival was being held nearby. Rows of tents with the usual foods, items for sale, and exhibit of bonsais. In the performance area there were rows of girls in traditional garb dancing to the usual instruments.  Click here for video.


There would be more entertainment at night, so after we walked through the local market which was covered with awnings, we checked out Samyang Beach, with its volcanic black sand beach. There was even a dolmen in town, though it took extraordinary measures to find it. We had to ask (and were driven to the spot).

Got back to the festival in time to hear an excellent youth orchestra play. There were also performances by women in traditional dress singing a very long song, and more traditional dancing.


We took the ferry to MOKPO, on the mainland. The route threaded through countless islands, but we could see few with the thick fog that morning. Once there, we took the long bus ride east to PUSAN/BUSAN, Korea’s second largest city.


We stayed at Haeundae Beach, a popular spot, as there was a lot going on. In addition to the Biennial Art show, it was time for the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) as well as the Jagalchi Seafood Festival.


The art was spread all around. One element of the Biennial was the Outdoor Furniture Show that was actually outdoor sculpture and installations along the beach. They varied from Extended Staircase which started with an existing wooden stairway from sand to boardwalk with added pieces of 2x4 that stuck out, to a stage with painted curtain, opening out to sea. Life is on Air, benches called Ocean Dragon, and an enclosed circular wall built in the sand, that you could walk through or climb to the top of the wall called Sea of Busan. There were about fifteen sculptures on the beachfront, a few across the street, one in the Marriott which had already been removed, and a few others on a nearby bridge. Several were in disrepair; the large baby in the sand (Bok-nam-ii) had its pacifier glued back into its mouth. Others weren’t where they were supposed to be, according to the map. I did noticed that there were numerous volunteers for the Biennial exhibit pointing out the way to lost souls.



We continued on to the Busan Museum of Art in Mt. Yongdu Park.


The exhibitions began with a huge installation involving Hite beer. Bottles were placed upside down and you walked upon the pathway created. Wooden beer cases were stacked from the lower level up two floors, I think. Sprinkled among the beer bottles were electronic displays with video or other features. Also used was conduit for electrical wiring, as a connecting prop. Display was too big to describe and photographs were not allowed. The remainder of the show which filled the upper two floors of the museum, was extensive with lots of monitors and viewing rooms. One particularly good piece was in a wooden box which simulated the back of a truck with a projection on the back wall; the video was entitled: Tropical Mist, moisturized tissues. It featured two women, one in the back of the truck sitting at a work table, picked up tissues from a pile on the floor with her toes, then proceeded to place a piece of gum from her mouth onto the tissue adhering it to a clothesline pulley system, then advanced the tissue to the front of the truck where the large, muscular black woman took the tissue and wiped the sweat from her face and body while driving the truck before putting it back on the clothes line and returned it to the first woman who pressed the tissue and added it to a stack of others. It took me a little while to realize that this was the Tropical Mist moisturizing process. The driver took a swig of lime drink so the next tissue she used was put in a box with the label “lime scented.” It was funny. There were other parts of the film involving who/what the driver saw while she drove around smiling and waving to the people. At one point a naked male jogger is introduced. Another piece of art featured live budgies.

Afterwards we took a subway up to the university district in search of a stream project called Oncheonjang that was likened to the Cheonggye in Seoul. This ran through a more residential neighborhood while Cheonggye went through business districts. That was more for sitting or walking, the Busan stream had room for runners, bikers and more. There was a clock that may have been Art, and we found a small section where the sidewalk was lined with smooth stones set in the concrete.

I thought I might mention that subway cars in Busan play bird calls before announcing stops; seagulls when approaching a beach stop. And many of the subway stations in both Seoul and Busan are filled with interesting, creative and attractive art, fountains, mosaics, tile work, and ceilings.

At the beach that night we discovered a concert in conjunction with PIFF. Plywood was laid out in front of the stage for the audience to sit upon. While the first couple of groups were okay, it was the featured band that drew the crowd. Sorry I can’t tell you their name, but they were lots of fun.


Three young men were in white suits and black ties – singer, bass, guitar, plus a drummer and keyboard that didn’t dress in the suits. The three were the stars. The girls screamed appropriately. The guitar wailed, the bass was good. All were good looking/cute/good hair/nice smiles. After the first song the singer invited the audience to stand up and so there was a rush on the stage. M said she felt young again. The band was terrific, pop-rock, I suppose. The lead was cool, not wild. The girls loved him. They did whatever he asked. When he said “jump” they did. Literally as one song’s lyrics included the command. Each fellow would smile at the crowd, all moved very well, throwing their hands dramatically into the air. Sparklers were passed out, lit, and waved. Then the singer jumped down into the crowd, much to the delight of the young ladies. And when they finished another song, they were done. Lights off. The crowd left.


Next day, we got tickets for Friday’s PIFF closing ceremony and screening of Crazy Stones first thing at the beach box office. Then we took the subway to the Busan Museum. Crowds of kids outside the door greeted us. There were battalions of mini-kids with backpacks as big as themselves. We used our McD’s 10% off coupon for tickets to the French & American Impressionists from the Brooklyn Museum exhibit. It was a decent show with a Latour that I liked. Monet did one of a custom house on a cliff above the ocean that attracted M, and there was a black & white Degas of Mary Cassatt at the Moulin Rouge.


There was a United Nations Sculpture garden adjacent to the museum which was entertaining, and then we went to the Jagalchi area near the docks.

The whole area is for shopping, which is what everyone did until a unit of traditional drummers and other costumed characters came by reminding us that it was time for the Jagalchi Festival Parade. So we went over to the parade route and grabbed a couple of good spots. The parade was short but fun. Click here for the video. or click here for pics.


The festival’s opening ceremonies took place at a stage set up in the middle of the fish market and the area was packed an hour and a half before they were scheduled to start.


At six o’clock a line of VIPs came on stage and were given white gloves to wear. They and many others were introduced. Speeches were made. Then a line of women with tubs came dancing up on stage and held the tubs out to the fellows so they could pick up a fish. Each held his fish high in the air, smiling. This was followed by confetti and fireworks shot from the top of a neighboring building. The rest of the evening was a variety of entertainments complete with mist, flames, fireworks & smoke.  Click here for video.

Our destination the following day was Beomeosa Temple, north of the city. After a subway ride, we actually took a cab the rest of the way up Mt. Geumjeong. The Temple dates to 678, and consists of many buildings on a few levels. Lots of carvings of dragons. Buddhas. A large drum had its own pavilion. Here are some views:


We walked up a stone pathway to another temple farther up the mountain. The path also went to the gates of the Fortress of Geumjeongsan, but I was too beat. We flagged another cab on the way back. There was already a monk sitting up with the driver, who flew down the mountain, all the while talking animatedly to the monk, hands only occasionally on the wheel. Moments later we arrived safely at the subway station.

We had to get back to Haeundae for the closing ceremonies of PIFF and the movie. Seats were unreserved and a pre-screening concert was promised, so we got there early. After the excessive introductions, awards and speeches, there was a brief performance by a troupe of lady drummers in contemporary traditional dress. Twirling from drum to drum performing very dramatically. Then it was showtime, but not much of a concert. Crazy Stone was supposed to be a dark comedy likened to Ocean's Eleven, but where OE focused on mind games between protagonists, CS was supposed to highlight social issues. Yeah, right.


To round out our use of various means of transportation in Korea, we took the high speed train back to Seoul for our last couple of days.

We stopped one more time in Insadong to pick up a few gifts. Had dumplings (man-doo) once more, answered questions for two surveys complete with photos. There was no line for the Donut Lady, so I got one (delicious with a cornmeal flavor and bits of corn, pea, nut, cinnamon), and then a traditional wedding procession came down the street with lovely lady drummers. There were also people wearing signs that offered "Free Hugs."

We stopped for an extraordinary show at the Gallery Seng by an artist named Young-Geun Park. Soon after we entered and looked at perhaps one painting, he came over and explained a few of the paintings and presented us with the catalogue/book for the show, which he had assembled. The book added much to the viewing experience.

Six Carnations
And so closes our Korea adventures. Click here for a few more photos.


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