Date Day - Hongdae and Rainbow Bridge

Last Saturday Katrina and I went on a date.  We ended up going to Hongdae, at some delicious foods and went for a stroll around Hongdae.  After that we headed to Banpo Bridge, also known as the Rainbow Bridge.  It's special because, at least I believe, it is the longest fountain bridge in Korea.  This was one of the last things to do before I leave Korea and I was happy that Katrina and I were able to make it out there.  It is definitely something worth seeing.  Anyway, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

 (The sign says it all)

(Some graffiti in Hongdae)

 (A little more...)
(Some more graffiti)

(Katrina with the Tree of Life)

 (A little different view)

(You feeling OK?)

(Bathroom in Hongdae)

 (This was just a fun store we went into with some rainbow banners hanging from the ceiling)


(Katrina at the Rainbow Bridge)

 (View of the Banpo Bridge from a distance)

 (The show begins while it is still light outside)

 (Date Day Couple)

(Getting a little darker out and you can start to see the lights a little bit)


(One of my favorite pictures from the day)

(Another nice photo)

 (Tried to get the reflection in the water)

(Black and white shot of the bridge while the fountain is off)

(Sadly, while it was romantic, there were also several people around taking photos)

 (A bit of the rainbow colors)

(Perhaps my favorite shot of the evening.  I think here you can really see the rainbow colors.)

 (Different view)

 (Again, a little more of the rainbow colors)

 (Interesting building)

 (Skyline past the Han River)

(Another view of the skyline as we walked back to the subway station)


Go Doosan!

We probably picked the game of the year to go to; 3-2 in extra innings with an inside the park home run!  Thankfully, Lina, the girlfriend of a guy I work with bought the tickets.  We were supposed to get there a little early but it seemed like everyone was running a bit late.  Drew and Lina got there at the right time and got perfect seats - front row in the outfield.  Unfortunately, I am a Doosan Bears fan.  Drew and Lina are LG Twins fans.  So, the seats were on the LG side.  That didn't stop me, or Katrina, or another one of our co-workers, Parham, for cheering for the Bears.  Thankfully, the Bears pulled it off in the end and squeaked out an awesome win.  If you haven't been to a game - go.  They are a lot different and a lot more exciting than games in the states. 

(Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins)

(Snacks before the game - squid jerky and adult beverages.  I didn't see anywhere to buy a hot dog.  However, you can take whatever food or drink you want into the games, not like in America.  Also, a tall adult beverage is 2,500 won in the stadium or about $2.25.  Remember, this is for a professional baseball game.  What's it cost in America - $10?)

(Batting practice)

 (Katrina before the game, soaking up the sun)

(Spenser, another LG fan)

(Drew in his cool Ray Bans)

 (I think this is what baseball games are all about...)

 (I believe these are supposed to be Twins?!?!)

 (LG Twin Super Fan who was not a fan of me because I was cheering for the other team)

(This poor child probably had been to 2 or 3 academies before the game even started)

 (LG Twin's fans cheering for something)

 (A better view of the stadium with Spenser's fish eye lens)

(From right to left: Spenser, my seat, Katrina, Parham, Drew, and Lina on the end)

(I liked this shot for some reason...)

(More LG Twin's fans cheering - not sure why though, they lost...)

 (Oh year - Christmas in July so Santa was there.  He made a few things for our group...)

(Katrina got this nice bracelet and hair piece)

 (Spenser got a hat, sword, a belt, which can't be seen in this photo)

(Wearing my Doosan colors)

(This people we kind enough to stand right in front of us at the end of the game)


Temple Stay

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do since I began living in Korea has been to participate in a Temple Stay.  With only two months left until my time in Korea is up, I figured I better get it on.  Katrina and I signed up for the Temple Stay program at Yongjoosa, a temple on the outskirts of Suwon (English homepage http://eng.yongjoosa.or.kr/).  It was quite an intriguing experience, but not quite what I expected.   Nevertheless, I learned a lot of great things.  I would recommend going to a Temple Stay if you have not done so yet.  However, I would try to find one in a remote location.  Also, make sure they have translators or take a Korean friend with you to translate.  Finally, and something you have no control over, the group you are with will determine your experience.  Unfortunately, I do not think I was with the best people for a Temple Stay program.  We did lots of meditation, ate some great veggie food, got to listen to monks chant, made lotus lanterns, and had tea time with a nun.  It was very relaxing and I did feel at peace at the end of the stay.  It is a great chance to relax and get away from a busy lifestyle.  Anyway, here are a few of the photos from the weekend. 

(Katrina in her Temple stay outfit)

 (The crack in the door is not poor craftsmanship; rather, it is so the ghost of the king and his father are able to return at night to the temple)

(Our translator in the green vest in front of the 5 storied pagoda)


(Katrina in front of the pagoda)

 (Some interesting writing on the wall - the temple is known for filial piety)

(Inside the main hall - 3 buddhas:  one for the past, the present, and the future)

 (Another shot inside the main hall)

 (This was after a woman asked if there was a child or crushed child bones added to the bell)

(Typical temple roof structure)

 (Katrina volunteered me to make dinner - bibimbap)

(Dining Hall with the others participating in the Temple Stay)

(One hungry woman who had to wait for everyone until she could eat...)

(Cute couple in their matching outfits - see babes, it's not that bad...)

 (One of the guardians holding a dragon.  The king had a dream about a dragon holding a jewel.  Apparently, that's what Yongjoosa means in English - 'dragon jewel.')

(Temple Stay shot)

 (Cute girls that were part of the temple stay for the first day)

 (Katrina and her lotus lantern)

(Group shot with the nun and our lotus lanterns)

(Temple guardians - south and east I believe)

(Here are the north and west guardians)

(Part of the temple complex)

(Pagoda and surrounding area without people)

(The Room of 1000 Buddhas)

(Start counting...)

(...still more)

 (Different pagoda in honor of a famous monk who practiced at Yongjoosa)

 (Inside a little grottoesque area)

 (These neat little statues can usually be found throughout temples)

 (Breakfast time)

 (Somebody has the tired jollies from waking up at 3 am)

 (Delicious food)

(Coloring mediation)

 (Set up for the tea ceremony)

 (Different view)

(Our nun for the weekend - got to do a Q & A with her at the end)

(Interesting sculpture in the garden)

(Our name tags from the weekend.  That says Justin and Katrina in Korean, in case you ever wanted to know.)