Tuesday, July 17, 2012

June in review / Gangneung with Sunny... Pt. 2

Sunny’s wife cooked a delicious breakfast of doenjang jjigae* for us on Sunday and we lingered around the TV for a while before it came time to begin the day’s activities. We spent the afternoon at Ojukheon House, a place where Sin Saimdang and Yulgok lived. They are two famous historical figures. Sin Saimdang is known as the “Mother” of Korea and you can see her portrait on the 50,000 bill. Koreans remember her for her art, calligraphy and filial piety.

Yulgok himself was a prominent scholar and statesman during the Joseon Dynasty. You can see his picture
on the 5,000 won bill. Below you can see a picture of his biography that hangs on one of the house walls. As you can see, the House sits inside beautiful park land. There are trees, shrubs, and flowers everywhere. We  had a great time wandering around and looking inside the various buildings. Like most other historical sites in Korea, admission costs only 3,000 won (less than $3), which is quite reasonable given how much there is to see here.

That 3,000 won also grants you admission to the Gangneung Municipal Museum. It has muted lighting and has large airy exhibits that are filled with artifacts from the past. It’s a marvel at how far Korea has come in the past hundred years. I know that I could say the same thing about the USA, but Korea’s made quantum leaps in housing and infrastructure since then. On one wall, you can see a picture of Gangneung in the early 1900s—a big collection of huts and houses along the ocean shore. The city is the 3rd largest in Gangwon-do now.

Some pictures of the grounds.

This picture’s for Dick in Wisconsin. I saw these pipes and tobacco accessories and thought about when we used to smoke cigars and pipes together.

This picture’s for Kara because I thought you might like the clothes that Koreans used to wear. Check out the shoes, too.

For Drew (Kara’s husband) and all of my fellow hardware nuts: check out the old saws and squares. Carpentry’s an enduring interest of mine, so seeing this stuff brought back memories of miter boxes and high school woodworking classes.

For Mom: here’s a traditional kitchen. Note the big cooking pots.

Here’s me inside an archway.

This is the fabled “Mother of Korea”

Here's Yulgok.

Here’s the 5,000 won bill.

Here’s the 50,000 won bill.

Korea: where the new collides with the old in strange ways.

More information here…

*Doenjang jjigae (된장 찌개)

Expect more information about various Korean dishes in the future because it’s occurred to me that I haven’t written much about the delicious food here. Perhaps you’re wondering what I’ve been eating all of this time and if I’m surviving. Perhaps you’re wondering how it compares to Chinese and Japanese food. What do you want to know? I can tell you that I eat Korean food every day and I love it.

I love it so much that I hardly miss Western food. Sure, there’s the lack of Silk soy milk and granola, but as for the old mainstays of soups and sandwiches, they’re not missed. Sure, they taste good, but kimbap, jjajang, and other foods have taken over now. 

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