Photo Blog: Korea Summer Excursion 2012

Lee Seung-gi and a faceless female model on an cosmetic ad billboard. It’s quite a rising trend to see more and more Korean males on cosmetic ads. And Korean males are NOT ashamed of pampering themselves with skin care products associated with their female counterparts. My tour leader, who has two sons in their mid twetnties, said the metrosexual sons may spend more time to wear make up and outfits than she does. Later on she explained how Koreans highly value physical appearance, which is why they don’t hesitate to splurge more on fancy and costly clothes and anti-aging skin care products. Really, anything that makes you live longer and look better will sell here.

Not being able to swallow any types of meat (except fish), I then decided to eat as much veggies as I could. The #korean lettuce is crunchy I almost eat it all.

This is the pine trees lane, one of the selling points of Nami Island. Thanks to the legendary K-drama “Winter Sonata” dan the rise of Korean entertainment industries, Nami Island is very much dubbed as one of the most frequently visited tourist attractions in South Korea.

빠르다 (fast) : Koreans never waste time. They do any single thing fast. Eating is no exception. I have to switch my slow-but-sure eating style to a faster one because everyone around me seems to chew and swallow things so damn quickly. Even the ajuma waiters are so quick and nimble to serve us the food in just minutes.

Blame it on Lee Seung-gi: I spotted a cosmetic shop around Myeongdong and I just stopped to look around when a young man gave me a sachet of facial mask for free. I said I can’t speak Korean well and he seemed to misunderstand my remark. I assumed he said to me I didn’t have to speak it well just to buy things at the shop. And dang! I came out of the shop with a bundle of facial masks for my mom. Koreans have that extraordinary selling and marketing knack, apparently.

촣은하루되세요, 친구들! Have a nice day, buddies! (Cho-eun ha-ru dwe-se-yo chin-gu-deul)

Me and the 1708-meter-high mountain #korea

Cyun and Rose Lee: These two are my tour leaders.

Geum san #korea at dusk : The best part of visiting a new,totally foreign place is to realize that our home is still the best in its fresher,different perspective.

Living as a moslem in Korea is tough. I found it hard to find a praying room nearby in other areas I visited but in Nami Island, I found a praying room (gidosil: 기도실) for moslems. So if you’re a moslem and would like to find a space or room to pray, just ask “Gidosil eodi isseoyo?” (기도실어디있어요?)

Cable car riding in Seorak san #korea : luckily, the wind was friendly enough. I am not a huge fan of being in high places (they say the cable car is approx. 800 m from the slope) so this was quite an agonizing experience to me.

A pine tree made of ..errr bottles of soju?

I-Park Condo was portrayed in the morning. The air is so fresh and cool. And the sight is marvelous.

Samkyetang: it’s a bowlful of ginseng chicken soup that makes you even hungrier after eating. The hungry sensation is said to come from the body cells rejuvenation and renewal process. Thanks to ginseng or insam (인삼) and its myriad health benefits. But I didn’t (cannot) eat it as it is not known for sure whether the chicken is processed based on Islamic principle or not. Besides, the soup is coupled with soju, Korean liquor.

Typical flowers you can find in Korean streets in summer. Beautiful. Hope I could bring this to Jakarta or Bogor.

장미(rose): Mesmerizing bright red roses I found around i-Park Condo where we spent the night in Seorak Mountain.

Lotuses in a small pond in Nami Island (나미섬)

Another type of flower typically found in Korea. Bright yellow!

A typical traditional korean kitchen

Kimchi Republic: Korean isn’t Korean without kimchi making skills. The tour leader said one’s mastery of kimchi making may determine whether or not s/he can get married. Every region (do) in Korea has its own type of kimchi, even a family has their own typical kimchi. Once you master kimchi making skills from a future parent in-law, the chance of marrying his/her child is even higher.

Compared to Chinese and Japanese,Korean chopsticks are the thinnest. Great for subtle motoric skills development, which contributes heavily on the quality and naturalness of Korean plastic surgery results. So to speak.

Some Koreans prefer presenting their westernized or simplified version of names. This young man in red introduced himself as Cyun, which I guess was chosen so as to be pronounced by foreigners with more ease. And the other older man is Mr. Kim.

Pigeons are pure, peaceful, agile and honest. That explains why ancient people used them to send messages to faraway place. So I’m a pigeon from Indonesia, flying to Korean Peninsula to convey the reunification message of the two Koreas. And that, I think ,is the core message of #yoga : ultimate peace.

I like how the government of Seoul is improving the health quality of its inhabitants by providing lots of sports space along the lush bushy riverbank of Han Gang (River Han).

A pigeon flying low on the yard of Kyeongbok Palace. Haha

Buddha Statue in Seorak San.

Seoraksan is the highest mountain in the Taebaek mountain range(태백산맥) in the Gangwon province in eastern South Korea. It is located in a national park near the city of Sokcho. After the Hallasanvolcano on Jeju Island and Jirisan in the south, Seoraksan is the third highest mountain in South Korea. The Daechongbong Peak(대청봉) of Seoraksan reaches 1,708 metres (5,603 feet). The Taebaek mountain chain is often considered the backbone of the Korean peninsula.

Foto: Natarajasana on the rocky uneven surface of Mount Seorak ridge. My tour leader said the mountain offers chi in abundance and yes, I could feel it. So much oxygen and peace. Too bad it's located near the forbidden borderline of South and North Korea.

Natarajasana on the rocky uneven surface of Mount Seorak ridge. My tour leader said the mountain offers chi in abundance and yes, I could feel it. So much oxygen and peace. Too bad it’s located near the forbidden borderline of South and North Korea.

Bibimbap (비빔밥, Korean pronunciation: [pibimp͈ap̚][1]) is a signatureKorean dish. The word literally means “mixed meal” or “mixed rice”.Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions (But this one is without meat, only raw fresh yolk). The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.[2] It can be served either cold or hot.

From the balcony of LG Plus Hotel

Kyeongbok palace. One more place with great deal of chi to do yoga in.

Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace orGyeongbok Palace, is a royal palace located in northern SeoulSouth Korea. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty.[1]The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.”

Nearly destroyed by the Japanese government in the early 20th century, the walled palace complex is slowly being restored to its original form prior to destruction. As of 2009, roughly 40 percent of the original number of palace buildings still stand or are reconstructed.

A Korean kid in Nami Island. This tap is creatively designed to despise the onlookers. Technologically speaking, Korea might be one of the most advanced nations. But in terms of gender, it still holds on traditional, conservative principles and values. Baby boys are valued as gems, baby girls are only treated as pebbles. If you’re a mother in Korea with traditional-minded parents and in-law parents, you only have two simple choices: bring more boys to the family or leave the house for good.

Foto: Kyeongbok Palace is widely known for being the medieval-themed korean dramas setting such as "Jewel in the Palace" starred by Lee Yeong-ae. The philosophy of the ancient buildings is profound. All of the details are well thought. It is said that Koreans hardly ever built high walls around their residences. Walls that block natural views are avoided as they prevent humans from being connected to the nature.

Kyeongbok Palace is widely known for being the medieval-themed korean dramas setting such as “Jewel in the Palace” starred by Lee Yeong-ae. The philosophy of the ancient buildings is profound. All of the details are well thought. It is said that Koreans hardly ever built high walls around their residences. Walls that block natural views are avoided as they prevent humans from being connected to the nature.

Foto: Korean education starts from dining tables. One isn't allowed to eat before their parents or elder family members start eating. Children and younger family members ought to stay at dining table before parents/seniors/adults leave. Leaving parents at dining table is considered impolite and inappropriate as it is likened to children passing away before their parents do. And to witness their offspring death and burial/cremation is heart wrenching to any parents on earth.

Korean education starts from dining tables. One isn’t allowed to eat before their parents or elder family members start eating. Children and younger family members ought to stay at dining table before parents/seniors/adults leave. Leaving parents at dining table is considered impolite and inappropriate as it is likened to children passing away before their parents do. And to witness their offspring death and burial/cremation is heart wrenching to any parents on earth.

Foto: 이계숙 story: This woman was my tour leader. She simply has an endless supply of story on Korea. Rose Lee, that's how she introduced herself to us, said Indonesia is the heaven of married women like her. In Korea, it takes a fortune to pay full-time household assistants, drivers, or gardeners. She found it really easy to find affordable household assistants,drivers and gardeners long time ago when she and her family stayed in Indonesia. But that doesn't mean she can wash her hands off of the most vital household chore: preparing foods for the family. Korean mothers, she said, can't just let others cook for their family. Food eaten is a decisive factor to maintain family's health and well being and putting health at stake is too risky. That's why Korean moms keep cooking for their family.

이계숙 story: This woman was my tour leader. She simply has an endless supply of story on Korea. Rose Lee, that’s how she introduced herself to us, said Indonesia is the heaven of married women like her. In Korea, it takes a fortune to pay full-time household assistants, drivers, or gardeners. She found it really easy to find affordable household assistants,drivers and gardeners long time ago when she and her family stayed in Indonesia. But that doesn’t mean she can wash her hands off of the most vital household chore: preparing foods for the family. Korean mothers, she said, can’t just let others cook for their family. Food eaten is a decisive factor to maintain family’s health and well being and putting health at stake is too risky. That’s why Korean moms keep cooking for their family.

Seoul Tower (Nam San)

 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Chakarapena says:

    Akhlis, I’ve been enjoying your reports from Korea…especially love this photo blog, and super impressed with your pigeon poses too! Thank you!

    1. akhlisblog says:

      Hi Susanna! Flattered to have your comment here on my blog. 🙂 How is Japan? Look forward to your reports from Japan. It must be fascinating!

  2. Chakarapena says:

    Akhlis, I’ve been enjoying your posts from South Korea, especially this one with the photos and commentary. Thank you so much! And super impressed with the pigeon poses for peace! Salaams, Susanna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.