Saturday: December 4: The first weekend he’s here, I expose Alex to public transportation in Korea. We take a bus to Jinan, which takes about 3 hours. I don’t think he’s fully gotten over the trip to get here and he gets a little irritable about having to be on the bus for so long. We end up in the Jinan bus station waiting for a bus to Maisan Provincial Park, but we can’t get any information about when this bus arrives. People tell us such a variety of things, our heads are spinning. The Jinan bus terminal is one of Korea’s more grungy terminals. Old people inundate this corner of the world.
the crazy jinan bus terminal ~ one of Korea’s finest …. LOL
When we arrive, a girl in a school uniform immediately accosts us and starts speaking a little English with us. Once we fall under her “care,” we can’t shake her and as our wait stretches from minutes into hours, she attaches herself to us with a vengeance. She keeps repeating some kind of English-Korean mixture of words, none of which we can understand, and then she starts jumping at us and poking us in our heads to startle us. It becomes quickly apparent that she’s a little uh— crazed.
crazy girl & alex at the jinan bus terminal
Finally a bus driver speaks some English and informs us that the bus we are waiting for to take us to Maisan doesn’t arrive until 7:00 at night!! We would have been waiting a long time….Someone tells us we should take a taxi; I have no idea how far it is, but at this point we have no choice. We take a taxi. It turns out to be a 2o-minute ride and costs only about 7,000 won. No big deal. When we arrive at Mt. Maisan, I see there are no taxis just sitting around waiting to take people back to Jinan, so I ask the driver for his card so I can call him when it’s time for us to leave. He is a jovial fellow and agrees that all we need to say is “Maisan” and he will come for us. Later, I am glad to have thought of his ahead of time, or Alex and I would have spent the night in the wilderness!
At Maisan, we stop for bibimbap at one of the many restaurants lining the path to Tap-sa, the temple we have come to see. Alex has his first taste of true Korean food! He likes the bibimbap; admittedly this is some of the best bibimbap I’ve even had in Korea.
alex eats his first bibimbap
a typical Korean meal, including bibimbap
After, we walk the long path to Tap-sa and have a fun time exploring this unique and quirky temple. In 1885, lone Buddhist hermit, 25-year-old Yi Gap Yong, came to Maisan to meditate and “cultivate” himself. Over the next 30 years, he single-handedly constructed over 120 conical-shaped natural stone pagodas, without using mortar. Today, 80 of his pagodas still remain standing. This is a very unusual temple in Korea, an almost lunar-like landscape, thus it draws many tourists. I came to Maisan before for an EPIK field trip, but didn’t see this temple because of a miscommunication about the time we had to see the sights. Determined to see this bizarre place, I drag poor Alex along for his first Korean “temple” experience.
alex and his friend
alex one with Buddha
little buddha-like beings
inside tap-sa temple
inside tap-sa temple
alex under the eaves of the temple
We meander back and probe around in the Golden Hall Temple, which I saw last time I was here. With darkness falling quickly, we call the taxi driver and head back to Jinan.
on the way to the Golden Hall Temple
Alex and Buddha pal around outside the Golden Hall Temple
I have thought of many options because I want to see a particular temple in Jiri-san park, but after talking at great length to Tourist Information, I find any which way we travel to this temple, we will spend 7 hours on multiple buses on Sunday. As Alex is of no mind to spend so much time on a bus, we decide to go to Jeonju to spend the night. Though I’ve been to Jeonju twice already, Alex is interested in seeing Hanok Village (which I’ve also been to twice), so we plan to do that on Sunday.
Sunday, December 5: Sunday morning we head to Hanok Village.
At Hanok Village, we walk all around the quaint little town and do a bit of Christmas shopping. We buy gifts for Alex’s grandmother and aunt, his sister, his brother, and himself.
alex at hanok village in jeonju
a pavilion where Korean music is performed during nice weather, overlooking Hanok Village
We see the Catholic Church, a historic building of some sort, and wander about enjoying the village.
Catholic church in Hanok Village
We stop to warm up and eat waffles with ice cream at a cute little shop, where we find some interesting signs on the toilets.
Alex in the waffle cafe
waffles with ice cream 🙂
the boys’ room
the girls’ room
around Hanok Village
Alex loves mimicking statues 🙂
We stop at Gyeonggijeon, built to preserve the portrait of King Taejo Yi Seong-gye, founder of the Joseon dynasty. Gyeonggijeon used to be a gigantic building with numerous other buildings attached, but it lost half its land during the Japanese occupation. On the grounds of Gyeonggijeon today, there is an art show with some very strange art.
Alex at Gyeonggijeon
a bizarre art show at Gyeonggijeon
From inside Gyeonggijeon looking out
pavilion at Gyeonggijeon
Alex at Gyeonggijeon
Finally, we continue our walk around Hanok Village, enjoying the colorful foliage.
at a little cafe
Later in the afternoon, we catch the bus back to Daegu and take a walk around Keimyung University, where we can see a great view of west Daegu and my neighborhood near the university.
Alex near my neighborhood in Daegu
alex on the campus of keimyung university
me & the angels of Keimyung University
looking at the west end of Daegu, and my neighborhood, from Keimyung University
We have dinner at Olive del Cucina, watch The Hangover at the DVD bang. I prepare for a week of work.
Alex at Olive del Cucina
pasta with shrimp cream sauce