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Published: June 11th 2007
Soo many colours
A tree stapled with butterflies from all over the world
Learning to make silk Another long weekend, and this time, on a tip from two of our co-teachers, we headed off to the mountain town of Muju for the 11th annual Firefly festival.
Muju's claim to fame is it's clean air. As we travelled on the 3.5 hour bus ride from the world's 10th largest city into the winding mountain roads, it was certainly clear that the air became clearer and more refreshing. When we arrived in muju, we found that the town had been decorated with huge helium balloons and there were little stally everywhere. We too some time to wonder along some of the stalls, where Cath found some beautiful dresses, and decided she would come back for one later.
We managed to find the festival's info office, and on their advice caught a bus out to a museum called Bandiland (firefly land). The museum turned out to be one of the biggest insect museums in the world. Apparently the people of Muju are very proud of the large number of insects around because it is an indication of how clean the air is. The museum had walls and walls of bug displays, including pictures made of
Admiring the huge collection of creepies
bugs, and a tree pinned with butterflies from all over the world. We als faound a 3D theater (where you wear funky glasses and things fly out of the screen at you) and a big 360 degree theater where the film is projected onto a dome ceiling. Of course both the films were in Korean, but they were still pretty impressive.
Back in the village we found the main tent where a whole bunch of cultural displays had been set up. Just outside was a stand with a whole bunch of traditional Korean drums. Not being able to resist, I got one of the girls at the stand to teach me a bit. Soon we were both sititng on the floor with the drums in front of us having a bit of a jam. It was good fun! Cath was enjoying it so much that she forgot to take any photos, but there were a bunch of other camera men and film crews around snapping away. The festival had been adevertised as an international festival, but for the whole three days we were there, we didn't see any other foreigners. The camera men would follow us around wherever we
Some artwork just looks soooo tasty!
were, probably taking all the photos for next years pamphlets, to show how international it is.
Inside the most interesting thing was a group of Ajummas demonstrating how they make cloth out of cotton, hemp and silk. Starting with coccoons and harvested cotton, making the thread and weaving it on old wooden looms. They were even keen to let Cath have a go, which really excited the camera men.
At other stalls they had traditional handmade pottery, and some very interesting wood carvings. In one corner there was a grass mat and a Japanese woman making tea. We went to go have a cup of tea, and found out just what a big deal making tea is in Japan. The woman had studied how to make and serve tea under some famous Japanese teacher, and everything she did was so purposeful and careful. We really felt pretty wierd not knowing how to even take and drink the tea properly. The whole deal, along with sweet rice cake was really a fascinating experience.
We also found a little dark tent, where they were keeping a few fireflies. They were the only 3 fireflies we saw the whole weekend!
Enjoying the great outdoors... indoors.
By the time we were out, it was starting to get dark, so we caught a bus out to the National Park, the only nearby place where we could camp. The bus trip ended up taking quite a while, and after we were dropped off we ended up walking for about half an hour in the moonligh into the park to the campsite. The big campsite was alongside a beautiful stream, and although we had to pitch our tent on hard ground rather than grass, it was the first time we had ablutions close by and even a wooden table! Supper was the usual delicious hot noodles, but we realised too late that we had brought no chopsticks to eat them with. With nothing else around and hot noodles in the pot, all we could do was pull out a few tent pegs, wipe them off, and get stuck in. Yummo! The sound of the stream just alonside out tent soon had us fast asleep.
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