Sunday, 14 October 2007

Having a blog finally justifies my using a cellphone-camera.

One of the little kids is pinching the buddha's nipple, and I had to get in on the action. I'm not sure of the story behind this statue, whether Buddha had a "Suffer the little children" moment, but I sure hope the nipple-pinch is part of the original story.

There were about a hundred steps (after about an hour mountain climb) to reach this temple where Korea's kings of old would go and visit for spiritual consultation and meditation. I ran up the steps, just for fun, and then at the top, there were eight people meditating, and I felt like a right dummy sitting there, with my legs folded, panting like a rabid duck.

I have to say, though, for a place so remote you have to climb a mountain for about an hour to access it, it just blows my mind how ornate and spectacular these temples (and especially the monuments) are.

The street below is shiny.

Today I bought a white wristband from a group who were raising funds to help extreme poverty. The wristband was wrapped in an unnecessary plastic bag. I called them out, and dolt them, "You help the poor, but this hurts the earth."

I really tire of overpackaging -- it's rife here in Korea, along with overconsumption. One common practice in Korea is to throw away perfectly good furniture (for example, when one moves) in order to get new furniture. Rather than bring things to new places, some Koreans just throw them away. The outward display of wealth is a really dismal human habit, and I wish people (worldwide) started finding more wholistic criteria for measuring those around them. At least something better than the measurement of one's TV screen + number of visible luxury brand lables one is wearing at any given time + price of one's car + prestige level of one's neighbourhood. This whole consumption thing is odd -- I was reading a book that pointed out how economists speak of growth and consumption as if infinite increase were possible, as if earth's resources were unlimited, and through growth, eventually all problems could be solved, when in reality, earth is already at or above its sustainable carrying capacity for humans. Yet politicians still almost exclusively talk about money, growth, and economy, because people follow their pocketbooks into the voting booth, and will vote for the guy who helps them keep their job over the one who tries to spend taxpayer money on making sure there's still something left on our dear old planet for the grandkids.

I'm turning into a crotchety old liberal.

I decided to chill out on the crosswalks (see previous post).

Remember this place:
Now it looks like this.

(sigh. my rainy days just got a little sadder)

Fun thing about living in the city: it may be hard to tell, but there was a camera crew in the midst of all these gawkers, filming a scene for a TV series or a movie.

I don't know from Korean celebrities, but it was fun watching all the people with their cameras out.

Also seen on that same street, later in the day.

These figures are usually carved out of dead trees. They're totems to protect a village from unhappy spirits. These ones were outside Jogyesa, one of the most important temples in Korea.

Persimmons are in season now. Mmm they're good.

More later.

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