Saturday, August 4, 2012

A long fun day in Seoul with lots of pictures

With the first three days of new teacher orientation done Irish and I went out last night with our new coworkers. My principal's daughter came over to babysit (and did an exceptional job) so we could relax without the children. We went to a rooftop bar on the 9th floor of a building, I ate, I drank expensive Mountain Dews, smoked an even more expensive Cuban cigar, and had fun being more sociable than I typically am.  It was a really nice night. And I got to drive the principal's minivan home through Korean traffic, which is exhilarating- red lights are barely even treated as suggestions to stop.

Then, at 8:00 this morning we were picked up by Irish's principal for a tour of the city with teachers from her campus. I was impressed with all the people who had been drinking more than Mountain Dew being up and ready so early.  We took a lot of pictures today, I've included a fair number of them here.

August is still not great at riding busses quietly and peacefully.  Below is Miller, the Chinese teacher at Irish's school trying to make sense of the high energy that we are used to every day.  (Miller is the teacher of Chinese language, and he is from Nanjing- so he is "the Chinese teacher" in both senses)

We started by driving north of the city, past the "Blue House" the president's residence here, we didn't actually see the house, just fences around the property.  We drove up into the hills and stopped at a spot where we could look down on most of Seoul.  Ruby had some trouble with the binoculars, but even without them the views were impressive.

Next stop was a Buddhist temple. There was a service going on, chanting and bells and all, so Irish reminded me to stay quiet.

Irish asked me to pose for my senior photo. So I did. 

A hot hot day, they were already starting to wilt. Irish said this might be our Christmas card photo.

Gyeongbok Palace was next.  Largely destroyed by the Japanese the palace is in the process of being restored.  We learned a couple of things while we were there.

Jumping up to be photographed in mid air is very popular:

And people enjoy photographing our children, a lot!  After a while it got a little weird and I started wondering if people genuinely thought they were famous in some way. If this continues it might be an adjustment for them when they are back in the United States and they just blend into the crowd only photographed by their parents.

Eventually we found some room, tried to cool off in the shade, watched a changing of the guard which was a sort of historical reenactment since there are no King or Queen in the palace to guard these days.

After the palace we went over to Insadong, a neighborhood nearby with lots of little shops.  We had lunch there, a big Korean meal, lots of kimchi, fish, chicken, bulgogi.  and enough air conditioning that I started to feel cold which was nice.

After lunch Irish went shopping while her principal Patrick and I took the kids for a walk.  We watched people make candy, got some ice cream, went to a Starbucks where we sat in the front window and the kids played a game with Patrick- waving to people as they walked by to see who would wave back and who wouldn't.  Almost everyone smiled and waved back.

Finally Irish got  back and we stopped at a cosmetics store that had a prison theme.  The salespeople kept giving the kids candy which they liked, and Irish got handcuffed to the clerk who was helping her, which was strange.

And then, we had a long bus ride,  followed by a car ride home.

Back in Suji I got pizzas which I found out could be delivered.   After eating half a slice August was at his limit at 5:45.

He woke up when we tried to move him to bed, he insisted he wasn't tired and wanted to keep eating. And then nodded off again.  Eventually they were all in bed by 7:00 and I expect them to sleep late.  At least I want them to sleep late.  More likely August will be in our room by six to let us know he would like his diaper changed.

It was a long day, a fun day. And now I am ready to go to sleep early too.

1 comment:

  1. During any international travel my husband and I have done, we have always noticed that Asian tourists LOVE to do goofy poses at famous landmarks. When we toured the Taj Mahal and the nearby Red Fort (the palace of the guy that had the Taj built), we saw many of them running toward the camera, then freezing mid-gait for a photo. Alternately, they would sit on something quite important (a throne?) and give what we would call a "peace sign" but with palm toward the camera and fingers very near their face. It cracked us up. I'm sure they think the Americans are sooooo boring because we just stand there and smile uncomfortably.