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Published: November 6th 2007
A bright and colourful moment ... I admit I never went in, but enjoyed the spectical outside the gate
My last day in Korea was spent in the company of the lovely Miss Cindy who had spent 3 months with me in Brisbane.
First stop was to watch the guard changing ceremony at Deoksugung - a bright and colourful event involving multitudes of traditionally dressed guards and a really big drum. It's a visual feast with parading guards, the colours of the costumes, the awesome traditional Korean drum, musicians, commands being shouted and the odd combined shout from everyone ... there is even a nice commentary in both Korean and English.
After the ceremony was the chance to be one with the guards ... sorry but I had to pass up the opportunity to dress in traditional costume ... you'll just have to settle for me with the cool sergeant major type! Check out the connection we forged!
After I went for a wander along the outside of the palace walls to admire the Autumn colour against the grey stone of the walls ... very pretty. Cindy informed me that in Korea it is believed that if you walk down this road with your boyfriend/girlfriend you are destined to be with them forever. I walked it alone
Traditional Korean Drum
I love the use of colour in Korea
... I hope that's not a portent!
Despite my resolve to stick to 'pretty' stuff, I then dragged Cindy off to Seodaemun prison ... or the 'we hate the Japanese' prison. There is definately a very anti-japanese flavour to the place, but that is to be expected considering the Japanese have a habit of running amok on the Korean peninsula. Apparently, while the Korean's built the prison, it wasn't actually used ... more a deterrant than anything else. Anyway along come the Japanese to invade Korea (for about the thousanth time) and they thought the prison was a great way to lock up the local opposition for gentle questioning.
The basement of the admin building is full of heartwarming scenes ... torture, the rack, hangings ... and they don't skimp on the 'blood' - quite graphic. However, what was truely disturbing about the experience was the hoards of schoolchildren running around. My conservative estimate was of about oh ... a million ... it was horrible!! The graphic depictions of torture seem mild in comparison to the pushing, shoving and yelling we the living had to endure.
Needless to say it was a quick whip through then back
Oh ... and the guy next to me is kind of interesting too ... look t-shirt ... weather was good!
to Insadong for my favourite thing ... food! Oh my god ... the spicy pork was heaven, not to mention the quiet child free environment.
A touch more culture after lunch with a quick visit to the Seoul Buddhist temple, coffee then goodbye to Cindy as I wandered off to find a massage ... all that tourist sightseeing really takes it out of you.
The next morning was goodbye to South Korea and hello to London (yep made it to Europe finally!).
To sum London up ...
hostel very average ...
met recruitment agents ...
looked at couple of houses ...
went to Brick Lane for curry with new friend Pam (also from Brissie ... and no we had not met before) ...
went to British Museum with Pam ...
went to pubs (a girl has to eat!)
All over ... now onto the good stuff ... Berlin!
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