Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hiking in Yongmun

A couple of weekend ago, we went hiking at a local mountain near our school. Yongmun means Dragon's Gate. It was a huge touristy thing. It was just down the road and we had no idea! I wasn't expecting to take so many pictures so I wore my frumpy sweatshirt which I now regret looking back at the pictures, but one can't always wear heels :) (like I ever wear heels)

The dragon gate.

One of the most treasured aspects of Yongmun mountain is it's Ginkgo tree. They have the largest in Asia. It didn't look so spectacularly grandiose to me, but maybe they just don't get very large in general. The way you can tell a ginkgo tree from any other tree is the shape of their leaves look like fans. Very Asian. The stereotypical image I get in my head when thinking of Asians are geishas fanning themselves. How ironic that this tree choose to imitate my stereotypical, and ignorant image of them.

The boys walking up to the temple.

On this hike was also a Buddhist temple. I had no idea! But look at these guys enthusiasm. They are ecstatic about the discovery of a Buddhist temple!

One of the most popular snacks in Korea are something they call rice cakes. Everything in Korea, (and my guess is that this is true of all of Asia), everything stems from rice. Rice is life. Seriously, I had no clue that rice was so easily melded into other treats. Not that I particularly love any of them but in case you don't have enough rice with rice being the main portion of every meal, feel free to also add the rice noodles, rice cakes etc.
Rice cake? Cake made from rice? "Chincha" (translation: really) They are often vibrant colors and adorned with nuts and other sprinkles that look delicious. When I was first introduced, I thought they looked like an Asian crumpet of sorts. My mouth watered as I inspected this Korean delicacy. However my taste buds were in for an unpleasant surprise. The rice cake tasted like rice and air. Really, the taste of nothingness, which seems to be a common complaint of mine in Korea. On occasion, you can find a sweet rice cake, but they are rare.
The picture above is an example of how it is made. It was incredibly sticky, and very fun to bang.

It took me about 15 tries to get a picture of this tree. Sometimes using a SLR camera is incredibly frustrating. The camera absolutely refuses to read my mind. No matter how many telepathy classes we attend, that camera is just dense.

There seem to always be statues to pose with in Korea.

Don't be deceived by these rock piles. They are built my aliens, just like the mammoth rocks at Easter Island, and the Pyramids in Egypt. These rock mounds take just as much patience to construct as the Eiffel tower. Or maybe I just have depleted my patience so thoroughly that I don't even have the patience to finish this sente...

But these rock piles were everywhere. I think they have something to do with meditation and/or prayer in Buddhism, but I don't know for sure because there were no markers near them. Even if for some reason, Korea decided to pay money to place markers near them, it wouldn't be in my language. So I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine. If you do know, my ears are wide open.

Did you know that there are Fall flowers? Because I come from a city lacking in seasons other than Severely Hot/ and moderately hot, I have never really experienced true seasons. The fall colors are a sight, but for me, the red leaves signify a warning. "Beware, cold weather awaits. Begin hibernation procedures." So I have a little more difficulty enjoying fall being a paranoid mongoose always on the look out for its archenemy.
Look, a bee. I'm so easily amused!

We found a bridge to play on. It didn't really go anywhere though.
We love taking pictures of the dragonflies. They are our friends. They eat mosquitoes!

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