Meeting up with a College Friend
Alicia is a friend of mine from my Rutgers days. She happened to be going to a Museum Conference in Seoul because she is working in a museum in Laos. I know … that is pretty cool. The girl can speak Mandarin and is learning to speak Lao. PLUS just because she likes, by which I mean adores, Korean dramas, she has picked up a lot of Korean. Oh and studied Japanese for two years. Why can’t this inspire me to learn more?!?
We headed to Jongmyo Shrine (종묘) with her group to explore the Confucian shrine dedicated to the memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. A ceremony is held every May and the descendants of the royal family, who live like common people now, still come and represent the royal family in this traditional ceremony that has been happening since the 14th century. According to UNESCO, the shrine is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved.
From Wiki: When it was built in 1394 by order of King Taejo, it was thought to be one of the longest buildings in Asia, if not the longest. The main hall, known as Jeongjeon, had seven rooms. Each room was reserved for a king and his queen. The complex was expanded by King Sejong who ordered the construction of Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Eternal Comfort). This practice of expansion continued, with the growth of the complex moving from west to east, because of the need to house more memorial tablets during the reigns of later kings until there were a total of nineteen rooms. However, during the Seven-Year War, Japanese invaders burned down the original shrine and a new complex was constructed in 1601 CE which has survived to this day. The original tablets were saved in the invasion by hiding them in the house of a commoner and also survive to this day.
We headed to the most romantic spot in Korea. Alicia I’m sure didn’t believe me when I told her how “couple-y” it was. But once there, seeing the sunset with the platform scattered with sooo many couples putting heart lockets on the wall… well she realized it was true. But it is such a beautiful place!
The N Seoul Tower, officially the CJ Seoul Tower and commonly known as the Namsan Tower and Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea.
Dinner and Movie
Alicia and I gorged on Korean BBQ at Myeong-dong, a popular shopping area in Seoul. Like I said, she really loves Korean dramas and movies. So she was dying to see “Dodookdeul” aka “The Thieves”. It was so good! Of course I didn’t understand everything, but I translated some Korean, and she translated some Chinese, so between the two of us, it worked out great! If you have a chance, go see this movie! It has been internationally released too. Think Ocean’s 11:
Splashy action in overseas locations is mixed with double-dealings and multiple betrayals as a gang of South Korean thieves team up with a Hong Kong crew to steal a diamond necklace from a heavily-guarded casino safe in Macau. [wiki]
Sunday Dave and I went to see Wicked! Alicia had to fly out early so unfortunately couldn’t join us. It was Dave’s first time and my like third ::blush::, and it was still amazing. “Defying Gravity” is still one of my favorite songs to watch. Check it:
Steve McCurry Exhibit
We then headed to the Seoul Arts Center to see a Steve Curry Exhibit. He is the photographer behind my favorite National Geographic’s photo:
Here are some of my favorite pics from the gallery: