September 24, 2010

Chuseok Adventure Part 2

Busan is the location of the United Nations War Memorial
(for the Korean War, or as its called here "The War").

The UN Guards were very interested in me, why I was there, and where I was from. Their English was impeccable and if I had the time I would have wanted to stay and hear their story, what lead them to the UN, what it was like working at such a historically significant site.

They had a huge list of causalities listed by country (and in the US section, by states).

The cemetery was set up by country, and had a section for unidentified fallen soldiers. It was rather busy because of the holiday, but was quite a solemn affair nonetheless. A few countries had statues by the graves, one in particular had "We will never forget you fallen sons of Canada" inscribed on it. There were very few graves for American soldiers, although was one of the longest lists of deaths on the Wall of Remembrance.

I had enough time to see the National Museum of Busan (remember the National Museum of Daegu from a few weeks back?). It was a pretty interesting place, actually. I liked exhibit about the folk masks best. They have me pretty excited about the Andong Mask Festival that I am going to tomorrow.

There was a tribe in Busan that intentionally flattened their heads and removed their front teeth. The skulls were shocking. I wish I read Korean, and could have read more about the history, the English explanations were lacking.

I went to the Beomeosa Temple, which is located just outside of the city, partway up a mountain. This is in the temple entrance, protectors of the temple.

This is one of the "bad guys" by the protectors' feet.

The temples color's were more based on yellows than the other temples I have been to. I loved the colors and paint was elaborate and beautiful.

I love the bells handing from the corners of the temples, I finally broke down and bought a small one for my apartment with a little fish hanging from it.

These are slabs that you can write prayers or wishes on, for a price, and the monks will pray for you. For Chuseok, I assume, they allowed people to paint on them.

I left the temple, having taken a taxi there, without really knowing how to get back to the city. I ended up walking about 20 minutes down a one way road looking for a bus or cab. Unplanned travel is exciting and open to change. It was nice to not be on a schedule.

It was a great vacation. I spent some time at the beach and in the hotel pool, I greatly appreciated having a bathtub again. A friend joined me for a day trip, we checked out the bars around the beach, and attempted to go to the world's largest department store, which was closed for the holiday. Even just wandering around the place was interesting though - they have a movie theater and an ice rink inside! As fun as it was in Busan, I am happy to be home and back with my cat, who seems needier than ever since I've come back!

1 comment:

  1. always a pleasure to view the pictures you post! glad you had a nice holiday.