Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lotus Festival

My mom didn't have much time to recover from jet lag because the first day I already had her venturing this crowded city. It just so happened that there was a 'light festival' that was occuring in one of the unique sections of Seoul. We started our day with a Western breakfast that my co-worker gladfully prepared. Then it was time to hit the subway (the real Korean experience) to experience a full day of hustle and bustle.

First we walked around for a bit and took in a few of the street performances. The festival theme was centered around Buddha -- since they were celebreating his birthday. Some volunteers had some shirts on that said I LOVE BUDDAH, so I asked where I could buy the shirts. The guy told me to hold on and then came back with 2 free shirts for my friend and myself...........score!!!!

The day was filled with excitement and entertainment. There was tons going on and it was great that my mom got to partake in the cultural festivities of Korea. I don't think it regestered that she was in Korea, since she was still in shock. There was tons to see and even more to do and the best part of it was that it was all free. Liz, my friend, and I made our very own mini lanterns. I got my family precept enscribed on a sheet of rice paper written in Hangul (Korean characters). We even dressed up in traditional wedding attire and got our pictures taken.

Speaking of getting our pictures taken...............we felt like the local celebraties because there had to be about a dozen occations when people stopped us to take our picture (simply because we are white). Liz is extra special in Korea because she has blonde hair.

After our full day outting we decided to get some good seats for the lantern festival. We managed to find a great spot that provided us with a perfect view of the much anticipated parade. About 30 minutes before it started this huge cube van pulled up in front of us and parked in our line of site. The old ladies we were sitting with were so pissed off that they started yelling at the driver and hitting him. As hard as they tried it didn't work and we ended up having to change seats.

The lantern parade was huge and even more than I had anticipated. During the day we stopped and took some pictures of the numerous lanterns (which I assumed would be the ones shown in the parade). Instead we were blown away with greater-than-life size lanterns of all shapes. It was hard to get good pictures since my camera was running out of batteries so I have gathered some lantern pictures from other people who also attended the parade.

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