Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Yellow dust weekend

Yellow dust over Cheongyechoen stream

Palace near Gwanghwamun station

On Saturday the air was thick with yellow dust and correspondingly the SARS masks were in full effect. I wandered around the Dongdaemun markets for hours searching for nothing in particular. You can buy nearly anything at at Dongdaemun market: books, clothes, accessories, medicine, tools, toys, pets, plants, herbs, food, sports equipment, makeup, stationary, fabric, leather goods, shoes, buttons, wedding supplies, ginseng products, and a whole lot of random crap. One of the most interesting finds came in the form of a Korean man selling toys. As soon as he saw me he started spewing out random Elvis facts and told me he had memorized 100 Elvis songs and then proceeded to sing a few for me. Quite a friendly fella he was.

Saturday night I went to a birthday party and didn't end up going to sleep (for a meager couple hours) until the sun was nearly up. It was definitely good fun had by all complete with food, drinks, games and laughs.

Not wanting to let a perfectly good day go to waste for the reason of insufficient sleep I pulled myself out of bed reasonably early considering what time I fell asleep. I went up Inwangsan with a friend and we enjoyed the weather from the top of the city. Storm clouds started forming in late afternoon that reminded me of home. As far as violent weather goes, for me, nothing beats the greenish-yellow tint in the sky, the smell of tornado weather, the calm before the storm and mom yelling at us all to come to the basement. I'll definitely miss Kansas tornado weather but Korea is transforming into quite a beautiful city in the spring (besides the yellow dust).

From Ingwansan, we walked towards Insadong and ended up at a palace near Gwanghwamun station. It was different from most palaces I've been to because we were nearly the only ones there. After the palace we went to play ping-pong and I got schooled by a Korean man. Maybe it's a sign I need to renew my membership to the ping-pong hall next door.

Monday was gone in a breeze (after nearly falling asleep in my afternoon classes) and I recovered from my long weekend with a well-deserved 12-hour sleep on Monday night.

Toy markets at Dongdaemun