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Published: August 17th 2010
Wanting to experience a more traditional Korea, I went to a town named Andong near the center of the country. The town itself is like most urbanized cities in this country, although smaller, but the draw was the nearby Hahoe Village, where the villagers still live by farming and the village maintains ancestral ties with Joseon Dynasty architecture, folk traditions, ancient texts. Temples and huts with straw roofs dot the streets. There's a river and hills that surround most of the village. Apparently this village really got noticed when the Queen of England visited during a trip to the country ten years back. It's registered as a UNESCO heritage site. The vast majority of the villagers have the surname Ryu.
I walked the area for a while, and in the afternoon there was a customary show put on by some villagers incorporating Korean garb and masks. Really cook looking masks and they play a big part in time-honoured story telling here. They did dances and beat drums but then it began to drizzle which quickly turned to a downpour. The show was cut short and I had to remain under some cover since I seemed to be the only person
without an umbrella. For the rest of the day it rained on and off but by then I had seen the whole area.
At the bus stop to head back to Andong I met some Korean students, we played mime games cuz they couldn't speak much English. We parted ways but eventually I bumped into them again while walking through the market and they insisted I come eat dinner with them. We walked into this dodgy restaurant and sat in Korean style on the floor, and shared some famed Andong chicken and drank Soju, a popular Korean liqueur similar to Vodka. They even ended up paying for it all much to my request to put in my part.
The next day I took off and it was still raining. It would continue to do so for a while.
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