Joking aside, my parents are going to be visiting to one of the most exotic places Buftravels has been to thus far, South Korea!
So what happens when you've spent 50+ years of your life in the good old USA and then get dropped half way across the planet? I guess we are going to find out. I have quite a few special surprises planned to make sure we have an "eventful" time. But if you knew my parents you would know it isn't that hard to get something eventful out of them. I think "unpredictable" is the word. Roll up your sleeves and grab some chopsticks, a bottle opener, and hiking boots. Its gunna be an interesting two weeks.
Boots on Ground
The First Meal, Kimchi Anyone?
Of course, the first thing I had to do was take the parentals for some good old traditional Korean bbq or as westerns like to call it beef and leaf. No big surprises here, standard beef, pickled vegetables, cheese corn, and of course kimchi. Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables, usually cabbage with a variety of seasonings.
I must say there is a particular beauty to the way traditional Korean meals are eaten and served. Meals are communal in which the main dish is split amongst the table and have extensive side dishes. I've found that it fosters more conversation and elevates a meal into more of an event. Coming from an Italian background were social activity was also deeply centered around the dinner table this in many ways reminds me of home, with very different food of course. No brushetta and chicken parm here = (.
Weagwan Welcomes You
The first thing to see when you hit ground in Korea is not the cities, the food, or the people. In my humble opinion everything starts with the land and the cultural relationship with it. Today's Koreans have a connection with the land in a way that I think many westerns do not. Less than a quarter of the land is able to farmed as over 75% is comprised of steep mountainside. Due to this circumstance, it seems that there are endless rice paddies and other crops weaving between these mountains.
This limited space does not allow for large scale industrial farming. Instead everything is done either by hand or with limited mechanical assistance. Going for a morning run and watching Korean farmers hand picking their fields every morning is a unique and extraordinary site. There are no tank sized industrial blows, or extensive spraying systems so commonly seen throughout north america.
Hitting the Town, Daegu
After an extensive walk through the rural countryside and visit into the local markets of Waegwan it was time to move into South Korea's 3rd largest city, Daegu. This is a far cry from rural Korea and shows the incredible pace and veracity in which the country is developing. For better or worse capitalism is alive and well in South Korea. As a result the country which was once a recipient of international aid has become a world donor of it in less than 30 years.
Other oddities include pets cafes, swan boats, scooters everywhere they shouldn't be, photo booth stores, and karaoke which the Koreans are incredibly obsessed with, whether it is in a bar, restaurant, club, or an entire establishment dedicated to the craft, karaoke is a thing. Put it this way they have karaoke booths on their commuter trains in case you just can't contain yourself. And then there are the dozens of other things that just make you shake your head and realize were not in Kansas anymore Todo.
Airplane Restaurants, Pocket Cars, and Suseong Lake!
Finally we made a stop to a place called Suseong Lake which is a city lake with a few paculiar sites surrounding it. These include a dessert cafe in the form of an old commercial airliner and a permanent carnival which has that wonderful dated creepy kind of feel to it, lol. Finally on the east side are a bunch of coffee shops, bars, and other restaurants. Oh yeah and if you want to paddle around a swan boat while you enjoy a fountain show in the center of the lake you can do that as well.
Be sure to check out my Korea tab for all geographical information and pictures of the trip. There's a lot more where this came from. As always great travels! Check back in for part II of this trip with Korea like you have never seen it! It's exciting stuff, stuff that makes you want to celebrate....