7.29.vaca.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i tried to get to a gallery of rodin sculptures at seoul plaza. . . but the gallery was closed for some special cleaning.

i headed to a palace but just missed a tour, so i walked up the street to this, the korean museum of buddhist art. i was the only one there. the caretaker turned on the lights for me.

i was expecting something closer to some tibetan sand mandalas. . . but this was mostly statuary. not my favorite, but honestly i couldn't have been happier at the moment. it was cool, and quiet.


7.29.vaca.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

temple bell.


7.29.vaca.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i caught an afternoon tour of the changdeokgung palace.

there were maybe 50 people in the tour. . . everyone of us soaked from sweating and fanning ourselves with whatever we could get our hands on.

the changdeokgung palace is a unesco heritage site. sounds like there are quite a few in south korea. i might have to try to visit a handful. :)

the main palace and courtyard of changdeokgung.
(ps, this place was huge. . . i wish my shots showed a little more of the scope. . . )


7.29.vaca.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

throne inside the main palace.


7.29.vaca.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

each time we walked by another building, i felt a cool rush of air from inside.

guess they might have done ok without ac back in the day.


7.29.vaca.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a nice break. walking through the shaded cooler area on our way to the secret garden.

i don't know what the context was. . . but i did hear a woman with a proper southern drawl explain to the person next to her,

"I have seen the Last Emperor."


7.29.vaca.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

inside the secret garden is where you would find me if i lived in this palace.

really quiet, much cooler than the rest of the palace. . . and really beautiful surroundings.

apparently this area was mostly used as a retreat (from the palace which is a five minute walk away?- and on the same grounds) and an area of study.


7.29.vaca.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

just before walking through the gates of longevity.


7.29.vaca.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

inside the gates of longevity is a pond and pavilion area dedicated to the love of the lotus flower.


7.29.vaca.10, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a shot from the male side of the servants quarters. much more modest than the palace area. . . not nearly as colorful. pretty much the end of the tour.

after the refreshing train ride home i met up with camille, kirsty, our boss, shon, and the new teacher jessica, for dinner.

jessica was pretty tired and turned in early, understandably. we stayed outside drinking and chatting. shon called a buddy of his to share in the festivities, a guy that owns a nearby restaurant. . . and what do you think would happen as the night got later?

yep, we all ended up at noraebong. singing the night away.


7.28.vaca.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the US plaque inside the two brothers statue at the war memorial.

we spent much of the after noon here. there was one exhibit that i really hoped to see. it was a gray day and the exhibit's brilliance relies heavily on sunlight. . . so it wasn't working. it's a pool of water with a stream of sunlight striking it and hitting a crystal that lights up the pool.

i might have to go back on a sunny (but not so hot) day to check it out.

there was some really interesting statues and monuments around the outside. . . and a military vehicle graveyard of sorts. the inside was mostly video, dioramas, and more small monuments.


7.28.vaca.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

looking into the tomb of the two brothers statue.


7.28.vaca.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the two brothers statue and 'tomb' at the war memorial. the two brothers representing north and south korean soldiers.


7.28.vaca.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

from inside the tomb of the two brothers. . . stained glass filling the fissure.


7.28.vaca.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the korean war memorial entrance.


7.28.vaca.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

korean war monument, with some detail.


7.28.vaca.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

torches for each country that helped south korea.


7.28.vaca.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i didn't see a liberator. . . but there were a lot of planes out.


7.28.vaca.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the war memorial is located across the street from the air force base. . . seeing all the military personnel made this vehicle graveyard a little creepier.


7.28.vaca.10, originally uploaded by ekissam.

for all your rocket needs.


7.28.vaca.11, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a memorial to the UN troops that aided. it's called the teardrop and is made from the dog tags of the fallen soldiers.

i was impressed at how much space was given to thanking and remembering all the foreign troops that helped south korea.


7.28.vaca.12, originally uploaded by ekissam.

more flight vehicles inside.


7.28.vaca.13, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so after all that intriguing artwork outside, and some interesting stuff inside. . . there were a couple of things that bugged us about the war memorial.

A- a laser guided pretend shooting range right next to the 'pistols through history' exhibit.

B- the inflatable playground for kids on the right side of the first floor. . . because when i think war memorial. . . i think bright colors and playtime?!

i might be mistaken, but it seems like they have a different relationship with war than i am used to.


7.27.vaca.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my vacation plans of hanging out with swon kinda fell through, no thanks to the president who decided to unveil a new helicopter a week earlier than anticipated. . . necessitating hours and hours of meetings to plan the event. . . hope she's having fun in the south with all that.

with no swon, i'm hanging out with a co-worker and her friend that flew in for a vacation from new zealand.

looking forward to a week of some touristy type outtings. . . but it's really hot. . . errr.

saturday night we were in itaewon for dinner. . .and while we were there, why not hang in for a midnight showing of the rugby match between new zealand and south africa?

sunday was all about insa-dong.

here's where we had delicious hand made noodles for lunch.


7.27.vaca.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i'm so glad it's too difficult for me to carry these home. i would have a hard time not buying up the store. though the woman who makes them says she'll ship worldwide. . . and made the right electrical connectors for whatever country. . .

mom, dad. . . want a really cute paper lantern?


7.27.vaca.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

camille with margarita glasses.


7.27.vaca.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

kirsty in beer glasses.


7.27.vaca.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

always nice to stop by the jogyesa temple while in the area.


7.27.vaca.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

how to end a long day of walking and shopping through insa-dong?

how about harry potter at the CGV in yongsan? oh, yeah, and some crepes for the movies. she's making my chocolate and almond one here in this pic.


character.conv.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my first official full day of vacation. i met up with my partner teacher and she took me to a character convention at COEX. (massive shopping mall/ convention center- i think there was an aquarium as well. . . and i saw a bon marche!)


hazel used to work for this animation company in seoul that created pucca. visiting the pucca booth at the character convention was a little reunion for her. we walked around to look at all the other booths a bit, and then came back for the pucca fashion show.

i scored some sweet swag as well- a 2G pucca flash drive. . . whoo hoo.

after the convention i met with camille and her friend, kirsty, in itaewon for dinner and drinks.


character.conv.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

pucca and garu.


character.conv.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the fashion show starts in the pucca booth.


character.conv.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

striking a pose.


character.conv.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

no lack of cameras here.


character.conv.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's the pucca exhibit, sans models.


character.conv.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

lots of fuzzy dolls, inflatable playgrounds, bright colors, and twinkling music around.


character.conv.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i only took a picture of this because it completely reminds me of one of my students.


character.conv.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's hazel trying to grab hold of the tale of one of her favorite characters.


7.23.work.dinner.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

thursday evening, with the arrival of a former teacher, the brighton staff headed out for some gobi dinner.


7.23.work.dinner.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

natalie, camille, kelly, and lucia waiting for our meat to grill.


7.23.work.dinner.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so a peruvian band started playing down the mall a bit. i guess we will be protected from the giant gerbils. . . . however, i was wondering why a peruvian band was wearing a typically north american native head-dress?


7.23.work.dinner.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

natalie, hazel, sophie, and will.


7.23.work.dinner.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

as usual, our evening ended up at the noraebong.

we had a cute little stuffed animal that somehow made it's way into our room and kept us company.


t.station, really?

t.station, really?, originally uploaded by ekissam.

not really sure what this is all about, but it caught my attention.


alp.07.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

someone finally saw fit to turn on the lighting accents throughout ansan lake park. i've been waiting!

here are the light up 'cattails'. . .


alp.07.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

. . . teehee. . . they change color. . . ahhh, the small joys. . .


alp.07.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here are the stumpy little rocks with their lights on.


scrooge's, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so, here's a lousy shot of the bar where i watched my first rugby match. new zealand vs. australia in the start of the tri-nations playoffs.
our bar was flooded with kiwis. . . and one aussie. he was trying really hard to hold his own. the bar across the street, which was also following the game, was filled with aussies from the sounds of their cheering. we tried to tell the guy he just had the wrong bar.
anyway, the game ended well, the new zealand all blacks took it, 22-16. whoo hoo! ps. the haka (the maori posture dance) that the all blacks do before the game is so freaking rad. . . and intimidating.


hongdae.noraebong, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i don't think you'll catch me in this noraebong anytime soon. but it's entertaining from the street.


street.corner.crabs, originally uploaded by ekissam.

so, mom. . .how much would you like to have a truckload of cooked crabs for sale on the corner on your walk home?