Saturday, November 11, 2006

annyeong haseyo

gyeongbokgung palace, seoul.

photo by mefford williams

the title of this blog post "annyeong haseyo" is my korean pick-up line. it's a good one. it means "hello". one of the four things i know how to say in korean.
i don't really know how to judge my line's affectiveness yet: so far if the korean women folk are able to return the greeting over their own laughter, i am pretty darn pleased.
ashley strickland was right: I stand out here. i have noticed the locals doing a bit of a double take when they see me walk by, and that's what i have been doing with most of my time in korea. walking. relaxing in the big city of seoul waiting for my bags to show.
well, they are finally here. i have my korean electrical plug adapter, and now a blog post as i prepare to bolt out of the big city and onto adventures elsewhere in this very new place.

in my cruising around i had a chance to stop by medieval korea to watch a parade. these festivities were taking place within the gyeongbokgung palace: this huge palace takes up about three city blocks right in some of downtown's most valuable realestate. the grounds have quite a storied history, and at virtually every major period in korean history since their middle ages (1400's), this palace has been torn or burned down and subsequently rebuilt.

photo by mefford williams

while touring the grounds of the castle i had a chance to practice my line with the woman in the background. after "annyeoung haseyo", she started to talk rapidly to me in korean, with a smile; encouraged, i spoke back in english. i was gesticulating with my camera in my hand, and a korean man grabbed my camera and gestured. i guess he assumed that i was propositioning the women to take my picture for me.

photo by korean dude bra
gamsa hamnida (thanks) for the photo and good block buddy.

koreans have different rules about personal space than westerners. if i get into a conversation, in english or korean, that goes beyond three interchanges, i get touched on the forearm or shoulder. alot.
the first couple of times this took place i thought i was going to be pick pocketed, but that hasn't happened yet; so i gues i'm touchable.

the other korean adventure of note so far was a trip to the demilitarized zone between north and south korea. a nice touristy field trip in a very up-tight military environment. to make a long story short, that far building and small but serious looking communist dude are as close to north korea as you can get:

photo by mefford williams
notice the south korean soldier on the right, hiding halfway behind the wall; so he is harder to shoot.

that's the love for now. i'm off to the spa and to enjoy some local brews. stay tuned for some pictures of food and life outside the big city.
bring your big won.

photo by mefford williams

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, my sweet love! I am so amazed by your pictures. What an adventure! I am glad that you have your clothes and other supplies. I look forward to more pictures. I have no doubt that you stand out in a crowd!

Much, much love, Mom

Philly said...

Yeah big balla, flaunt those g's b/c you got'em! good to hear that, despite your out-standingness, you're damn touchable (can you say pimp?)
well, go get after some adventures!
love ya,
bearski

p.s. i saw christian today at the tallulah... he says that he misses you... i told him that was a side-effect from being so tall that he's unable to consume a proper amount of oxygen... poor c-money, someone should make him less huge...

Anonymous said...

Hey! That's so awesome that you are getting to see some of Korea. Have you run into any other crazy red-headed Americans?
hugs
JA

Anonymous said...

My Frowski! I miss you tons. It is fun to read about your adventures. I can vividly imagine your red-headed self walking through the crowded streets of Seoul.

Mags said you are in Aukland now -- back on English speaking terms... Bet that's nice.

Can't wait for the next post. Peace in the SP.

Mash