Sunday, October 23, 2005

Insadong, Temple & Shinchon

Hwa Gye Sah Temple

I am so exhausted after this weekend; I was running all over the place yesterday and today. Friday night I actually stayed at home and went to bed early-- what a surprise! But Saturday I woke up, gathered my backpack full of all the necessary supplies for a weekend away from home and headed to Insadong with Amanda. We got off the subway at Dongdaemun and decided to walk to Insadong in the nice weather. While we were walking around Dondaemun Market we randomly stumbled right into materials to make Halloween costumes and then went on our way.
It was my first time to Insadong and I really liked the unique change of atmosphere there. On the weekends the streets are closed off and there are many street stands selling everything from food, tea and incense to traditional Korean items and art. Insadong is also especially famous for having many traditional tea shops and after walking around for awhile we stopped in a particularly cute one for a cup. I love ginger so I ordered the ginger tea and it was the GREATEST drink I've ever had! I make ginger tea everyday with fresh ginger but mine doesn't even compare to what I had... I'm on a mission to learn how to make "real" ginger tea now. I'll post a recipe when I perfect it. There were also a lot of Korean students in Insadong that kept coming up to us and asking us questions in English for homework, they were cute!
Friday night we went to Hongdae and Shinchon and I went to my second home relatively early so I wouldn't sleep in for breakfast in Itaewon Sunday morning.

I woke up and started making my way to Itaewon from Shinchon around 9:30am. I was meeting some friends for a good western breakfast at Suji's. It should have taken around 30 minutes on the bus...if I would have actually got reliable directions. Instead, an hour an a half later I was near Korea University which is completely the wrong direction and I was already 15 minutes late. I finally ended up taking a taxi so I could at least show up in time to eat before we went to Hwa Gye Sah. The breakfast was really good though: breakfast burrito with homemade salsa and homefries. Five of us went to the temple after breakfast and walked around outside before meditation started. The weather is perfect here during the day right now, I love it! The meditation was relaxing (except for the part when I thought my foot was going to fall off from sitting in the lotus position too long...) and the Dharma talk was good, as usual.
Afterwards we squeezed six people (we picked up one more at the temple) into a cab and went to Shinchon for the Politics Documentary group.
The leader of the group ordered soup and brought wine for everyone since last week the movie didn't end up working but unfortunately this week there was some other technical problem and it didn't happen again... oh well, at least I was in Shinchon. I walked around for awhile and then came home around 10:30pm. I have lesson plans due tomorrow and have to get up early for that...