Museums, Insadong and Chinese Food. What a day!
On Sunday, June 27th, Jon and I headed out for a full day of museums and a stop in Insadong. It was raining so I decided not to take my big Nikon along. Jon had his pocket-sized digital camera. Of course, that meant that the rain subsided very early in the day. Just because I didn’t bring my camera, the weather turned out fine.
WAR MUSEUM of KOREA
Anyway, we went to the War Memorial of Korea museum first. It was awesome! We spent about half an hour outside just checking out all the planes, military vehicles and rockets from the various wars.
Jon had to pose in front of the giant loud speaker that was used early on in the North-South Korea conflict. It has been said that the loud speakers are still used from time to time to force propaganda into the opposition.
The museum has 3 floors of simply amazing exhibits on Korean war history. I learned that during the Korean War, a large amount of captured North Koreans did not want to return to the North and wanted to stay in the South. The North Koreans demanded their soldiers returned. War broke out again from the North, breaking down peace talks. Representatives for South Korea were not present when the Korea Armistice Agreement took place on July 27th, 1953.
Don’t go up! That’s what most of the vehicles say inside and outside the museum. On some vehicles it’s allowed.
Okay, now there is this on-going joke about South Korea. The people seem to love the English language. They just don’t know how to spell it. This is a photo taken from in front of one of the vehicles standing outside. Notice the spellings of ‘separated’ and ‘caliber.’ This is a major museum. Typo or not. It’s not some menu at a dive restaurant.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM of KOREA
The National Museum of Korea was next. Jon and I had walked quite a long hall, about 30 minutes in between museums after thinking the subway would probably take just as long even though it was a few stops over. Tell that to my feet and my breath. We were dying when we reached the museum. Water was our first site to see and drink. AHH!
Lots of great history at this museum too: art, ceramics, sculptures and much more. One of the earliest letter-typing sets was invented by Koreans. I really dug this as it was something I just read about in the book I’m reading, Korea’s Place in the Sun.
As if our legs couldn’t walk another step, we hoped back on the train and headed for Insadong, a very trendy area in Seoul where the streets are lined with shops, restaurants and tea houses. It’s a popular place for artists and people that appreciate art. In fact, I bought myself a print of women back in the traditional times bathing while a couple of men off far away look on, giggling. Maybe I’ll snap a photo of that some time later and post it here. For now, here’s a photo of some ‘slop’ on a table from a street vendor. Try it? Yo go first!
Jon and I grabbed some tea at a tea house. I had a cinnamon tea that was out of this world!
TOY MUSEUM in INSADONG
As if this wasn’t enough events in one day, I spotted something that caught my eye as I looked up from the street in Insadong. On the second floor of a building was a row of toys and one robot that looked very similar to a set of robots I had as a kid growing up in Minnesota. Yes, I lived in Minnesota for 5 years before and after living in NY. So, Jon and I go up to seek out what we thought was a toy store. It turned out to be a toy museum. What’s one more museum today? Three’s the charm, right?
We saw Gremlins, Star Wars figures and all kinds of figures from the early 70’s in TV and movies that took us back to our childhoods. Jon is a few years older than me. I found a bunch of robots that resembled the ones I remembered, but not any exact ones. I guess the fun was in the hope of discovering it. Also, I felt like a kid again.
Before leaving Insadong, Jon and I decided to grab a bite in town before heading back to Ansan, a very long trip home. We headed towards our subway station and thought we’d find something on the way. We did! A very good Chinese restaurant. We had orange chicken. Jon had bot had orange chicken before. What do you want? He’s from New Zealand.
It was a full schedule this day, but very well worth it. Oh, getting back to robots, I had to pose with this one in Insadong.