Monday, May 20, 2024

May 20th. Moving again?

 Go this way and that way and this and that way. Well you know the song. Moving days always seem to be that way. Today was no different. Everyone was all packed and ready to go. We go out and the taxis runaway. So Mary Ann (who can resist that charm) Asks some young boys to call us a taxi and one big enough for all our luggage. For that he gets a Topsail Turtle statue. 

I get the taxi to drop us off about where I think we should be. Did I mention it is about 85 degrees and sunny. But between Jonah using the right gps and me reading the directions again, we find the new homes and drop off our bags. Then catch a taxi and off to the National Library. 

We het there only a 1/2 hour late, but still a very warm welcome from Professor Kim followed by Ms Lee. Professor Kim will show us around and Ms Lee is babysitting my rock while we travel. 

They have a video in the reception area that is just unbelievable. 

Then we went upstairs to show Patricia and Jonah the plaques in our name and the items from us on display. 

We said goodbye to Professor Kim and Ms Lee and headed to the National Museum. Had a quick snack and Mary Ann, Patricia and Jonah were headed into the museum while I caught a taxi over to a dentist to take care of a gum infection I had developed. A lance here and there and I think I am OK. Of course 5 days of antibiotics

We decide to meet back at the apartment and then go for something to eat. Problem. Many if not all restaurants close till 5:00 pm to give everyone a break. We find a decent one after several false starts.  And go back to rest till later. 

It’s Later and Mary Ann has had enough. So Patricia, Jonah and I head out to see the night market that has appeared just 4 feet down the road from us.  What had been a normal street at 5:00pm had turned into this by 7:30. 

We then walk through a lot of the little alleyways that make up this neighborhood and have so many unique shops and places to eat wishing we had not eaten so early. 

One of those shops was a pellet shooting range. Patricia and Jonah both partook. You judge who was the better shot. 

Then off to the beginning of ChungGye Stream so Patricia and Jonah can see it. 

A little walk down the stream, taxi home and to bed. At least for us. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

May 19th. Change in the Weather

 So it has turned hot in Seoul. That means Mary Ann and I do little during the day outside. Jessica, Patricia and Jonah left mid morning for breakfast and to explore Seoul. Last reported sighting was going to NamSan Tower. Big space needle tower that sits on top of NamSan Mountain which Seoul is spread around.

Mary Ann and I went to Seoul train station to get Patricia, Jonah, Mary Ann and I train tickets for Wednesday when we go to Busan. Jessica and Marco are flying. Mary Ann and I then had lunch above Seoul station. Nice and quiet place with good food. I had homemade German sausage while Mary Ann had Sea Turtle Pizza. 

Well it really wasn’t turtle pizza, but it looked like it to me. She said it was good though I did not try it. 

Shopping at 5 guys to pick up the necessities one runs out of when gone this long, then back to the apartment to avoid the heat and rest up for tonight. 

On the subway.  If you look closely at that man’s phone, you will see the picture of someone famous.

Testing my new cane/seat. 

Well there was not much else that went on this day and night. We stayed home and did nothing. Except pack for tomorrow’s move to a traditional Korean house and watch Ladies Professional Billards Championship   


Saturday, May 18, 2024

May 18th. New Beginnings

 Today I woke up and Jessica had already left. Not for good, but to meet Patricia and Jonah at the Incheon airport and bring them back to the AirB&B apartment. 

Picture of Jessica and Meghan  

Meghan has an early flight out tomorrow to Japan then on to the USA. It will seem strange not to have her here since we have had so many great adventures together. Safe travels granddaughter. 
Jessica returned with both Patricia and Jonah and after exchanging some light gifts and some games the four of them were off to eat and have an adventure together. Mary Ann and I stayed back at the apartment to rest up for the next phase of this trip. The bigger thing is that Patricia and Jonah managed to get the cane with a seat all the way here. It was the forth one I had purchased. I left one at home. Michael could fit it in their luggage. Meghan left the one she was bringing. And Patricia and Jonah succeeded. 

It should help. 
They all come back from exploring this area and having Korean BBQ. We sit and talk and map out the next couple days in Seoul and going to Busan. 
And early tomorrow Meghan leaves to go back to the USA. She will be missed. 


Friday, May 17, 2024

May 17th Wrong and Right

 So today started out a bit slow and then Jessica and I planned to visit a temple on the mountains behind Seoul in search of a Buddha carved in stone that Mary Ann and I had visited that so many years ago. 

So we set off for SamCheongSa temple which had one. Subway then bus and a short walk and we are on our way. Did see a nice rock on the way to the subway but did  not buy it. We walk up a semi paved road and then onto a trail and back on to the road and then see the temple up a steep road (not as steep as the temple with Meghan) but here we are. 

Jessica on the bus

On the way. 
On the bridge. 
Did I mention I love running water. 

And now the temple. 

And now we go to the stream for a quick snack of Strawberries. 

A quick visit to the Mountain spirit room and then down. 

So now we are hungry and head down the mountain. 

Nice place but we ate in another room that had tables and chairs and the view above. So it turned out not to be the temple Mary Ann and I had visited but was the right one for all its nice features. And oh by the way I did buy the rock on the way home. 


Thursday, May 16, 2024

May 16th. Moving Day

 Sound familiar?  Moving to bigger quarters with the anticipation of Patricia and Jonah’s arrival later this week. And oh no rain. Beautiful Spring day. Today’s plan. Move luggage to new place in Mapo. What used to be a village outside of Seoul is now part of it fully connected. 

Mary Ann has a nail appointment around 12:30 so it will be the three of us, Jessica, Meghan and I running around today. First stop is the National Library so they can see our doner plaques and some of the artifacts we donated. Subway there and we do get close, but with my back close can be far when you add in hills. 

But we get there but I have not told anyone from the Library that we are coming. The front receptionists explain that it is by membership only. But once I show him one of our donation photos and give him Miss Lee’s name all is fine. Miss Lee comes to meet us and we go striaght to the Donner’s area and rare collection room. I must say it still gives me chills. 

One of the items is a wood block for printing Buddhist sutras. It was from the 1700’s which I never knew. When Jessica sees it she says “I took that to show and tell one day”. How funny is that. Down to Miss Lee’s office where she gives both Jessica and Meghan a small gift each and we are on our way. This time to a big open market. The one Mary Ann and I went to earlier. This time by taxi. 

The KwangChung market never disappoints. Made Semi famous by Netflex, it has more than what that show showed. 

We even found a nice place to eat. 

We are off next to Joegaysa, the temple Meghan and I went to yesterday for Buddha’s birthday in the rain. Meghan decides to just head home, so it is me and my daughter. Joegaysa is very different today. 

Nice and peaceful as I remember it. A refuge from the city noise outside. From her we walk to the house Mary Ann and I lived in mentioned in a blog earlier. Always nice to show family part of our life in Korea. 

I side we met a couple from Pennsylvania who wanted to discuss Korea’s rise from poverty of the 70’s to an industrial society today. I of course have guesses but no real answers 
Get a taxi home and he had lived in Tennessee for many years and wants to discuss a similar topic. He is really a nice man but we just want the peace and quiet of a taxi ride. 
Home and it is back to where we just were for Meghan’s farewell dinner. Back to a place Mary Ann and I were at earler in the trip. After much discussion on taxi versus subway, we decide taxi as it is getting late they may close. We get there at 8:45 and are told we are too late as they close at 9:00. So sad. Then the waitress from the last time remembers me and says. No No let them in. Come in Come in. And so we do to a meal that again was so good we forgot to take pictures. So from last time. 

The trip home was an adventure. Subway to Mapo but wrong Mapo station. Out for a quick taxi ride but no taxis and the ones available won’t take us. Back in the subway where not all the tickets work and of course it is always the last ticket so little help is available as you can’t go out without wasting a ticket. But we do get home to a new nice apartment and fall fast asleep so the blog will be updated tomorrow. 

Good Morning 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

May 15th. Happy Birthday

 Today we woke up to a light rain. Never fun when you are on vacation (Day 50 for us). But that never deters the trepid vacationers. So Meghan and I set out to visit the World taekwondo Headquarters. The taxi drops is off at a unusually empty complex. Well it is Teachers Day in Korea so it is closed. 

Meghan at the front gate

Meghan at World Headquarters Building 

These photos are different not only in place but because in one Meghan has an umbrella and the other she does not. As we were walking out from the complex at the gate, a car stopped and honked his horn. Jessica went over and he handed her an umbrella and drove off. That is Korea 

But we have more fish to fry because it is Buddha’s birthday. So we set off to Joegaysa temple. And we were not disappointed. 

We hope to next go to the National Library to see our plaque. But wisely call before and find they are closed also. Time for lunch. 

Sometimes you just need a cheeseburger. 
Time to just return home in a heavy steady rain. No fun to be in, but nice to watch from inside a traditional Korean home. 

No more going out. Just a quiet night listening to Mary Ann teaching Jessica Korean. 

Good night. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

May 14th. Musical Chairs

 Well not quite. But that is later. Woke up in Busan going to Seoul. But first to our favorite breakfast place. CLOSED. Not a good start. Taxi to Busan train station. Taxi takes us long way around claiming is was because of traffic when I challenge him on it. I do still know my way around Busan still. 

Get to train station and in line for tickets around 10:30 am. “Three reserved seat tickets on the KTX (high speed train) please”.  All sold out till 7:30 pm. What! On a Tuesday. So I buy 3 standing tickets. Here is how it works. 

You get on the train and sit down in an empty seat. If someone comes along with a reserved ticket for that seat, you get up and try to find another. It gets especially nervous time at station stops with people getting off and on. My seat changes. 3. Mary Ann 6.  The other alternative is just standing. It pays to buy in advance. 

But we get to Seoul where we are meeting back up with Jessica who flew in from Japan after roaming the Japan countryside while we were in Busan. 

We met at Busan station with Meghan and Mary Ann Hangry. There are really no nice places to eat at in Seoul station so they eat the pastries Jessica pocked up in the station. 

As you can there is really nothing to take pictures of so far. We taxi to the traditional Korean house we stayed in with Gary and Tripp. The owner is waiting there for us with a surprise. 

She is making Korean pancakes and has taken a class on making Korean traditional rice wine “Makoli”, which she is serving us with the pancakes. So once again Korea changes colors from rough to very tender in a second.  Korea is like that. 

We have a long wonderful talk with her and when it comes to trading names (Mary Ann, Me and Jessica have Korean names) only Meghan doesn’t have a Korean name, I ask her to give one Meghan. She gave her Mon Sihwa.  Meaning Persimmon Flower. Very beautiful. And in the center of the house’s courtyard is a grand persimmon tree. What a great moment. 

This is a very nice house.  

Still full from pancakes we all need a walk. And fortunately ChungGaeChung Stream is. 5 minute walk away. Back in the 1960’s an elevated highway was built over the stream that had flowed through Seoul for centuries. In all fairness it was more sewage than stream so it was covered up. Fast forward to the 1990’s and urban renewal created what is there now. 

Mind you this flows through the middle of a modern city. But is 20 feet below the city street surface with various entrances every 200 meters or so. 

We are all hungry by now so we go back to the street surface and walk for what seems like miles before we find a place everyone likes. For me it was OK.  But now it is dark and I want to take everyone to the source of the stream ( not Nile). But first we bump into this. 

This is the old East Gate, one of four gates each one facing North, South ,West or East where people could enter the walled city of Seoul. 

And so we taxi off to the source of the stream. 

A taxi home after a more than full day that actually ended pretty nicely. 

Good night 

May 20th. Moving again?

 Go this way and that way and this and that way. Well you know the song. Moving days always seem to be that way. Today was no different. Eve...