Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gilsang Temple and Daehangno

So girlfriendoseyo and I went walking around Seongbuk-dong, after heading out there with another friend a few weeks ago. That time, it was late, and Gilsangsa, or Gilsang Temple, was closed. But this time, it was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and Fall came, too.


I love the Buddhist temples in Korea: they're old, so the builders got to pick all the sweetest locations with the best views. This one in particular, was built into a craggy bit of hillside, rather than a smooth open area, as is more common, and that wacky layout led to more variety in the paths and trails -- curves and corners lined with old trees, that made each nook and cranny a surprise. All that to say, dudes, the landscaping was supa dupa sweet.

as were the colors -- the same kinds of colors that inspired my happiest post ever.

We had lunch at this restaurant/wedding hall thingy up at the top of Samchungdong, where we paid about 150% more than the food was worth, in order to eat it looking out at this:
winding paths. nice.

Had my birthday, and one of the sweet gifts Girlfriendoseyo gave me was an awesome cream-colored cardigan/jacket/sport coat. It goes with pretty much everything I own, it's super comfortable, looks nice, but not so formal that I'd feel weird wearing it to work, say, and it's from a tiny, unique little shop that decreases the chance I'm going to pass a dozen other people on the street, wearing the same one.
That's a happy seyo you're looking at.
The sunlight was amazing, all over the place.
and the paths meandered wonderfully. I like landscaping and paths so much better than the sterile symmetry that comes of over-adherence to the principles of Feng-shui. That's why I liked the gardens in Japan more than the geometric patterns of Korean palaces, Gwanghwamun Plazas, and, yes, Forbidden Cities.




Here's the road the temple was on.




nice pics. nice place.

apparently they have tea, too.

Then we went to Daehangno, the theater district, which is one of my favorite hot spots in Seoul, and at some nice Persian food, and spotted this restaurant:

more on the way "sand" has become the Konglish abbreviation of "Sandwich": this shop's name is "Sanderella" -- a pun on "cinderella". A horrible pun.

Now, I don't want to sit around and rant and wail about how every pun in Korean menus and restaurant names are awful and Konglishy and horrible, so instead, I'm hereby opening the Roboseyo e-mail lines up to another Roboseyo contest: send me a photo of your menu item, sign, or restaurant name, with an actually clever pun in it. There must be some out there. Somewhere.

Good news for all you Daehangnians: those amazing giant poops that used to be right in the center of Hyehwa -- the most distinctive landmark in Daehangno, possibly next to the giant Gandalf in front of the (is it CGV?) theater. They're in a different place now (on the south end) but the giant turds ARE still there. Whew.

Speaking of turds, I didn't have my camera handy, but there were poop shaped hammers for sale in Jongno 3-ga station.

Also, they dug up most of the sidewalk along the main strip, and put in this stuff.

It looks nice, for the most part.
there's water running down the surfaces of those wall-ish things.

however, this channel, dug right into the sidewalk, with little panels in front of the street-vendors, looked to me like the very definition of a drunk trap. I'd LOVE to walk around Hyehwa on a friday night, at 2:00am, and count the number of slobbering drunks falling into the little stream-channel. High comedy, all night long. I might have to open a street-vendor stand.


and that'll do for now, dear readers.

Keep it real, or whatever they do these days.

In conclusion, Korea is a land of contrasts. Thank you for reading my essay. Teacher! Do you know Daehangno (Hyehwa)?


Caryn Ouwehand said...

Awesome pictures Rob.


The Korean said...

The Getty Center at LA had those open streams in the middle of the building, and I immediately thought: "That's a lawsuit." Sure enough, within a few months when I returned the stream was covered. It was disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Please tell Girlfriendoseyo that I think she has wonderful taste in clothes. I want to go shopping with her. ^^:

Looking good, Mr.Ouwehand!

Charles Montgomery said...


well, the Buddhists got "first choice" if you mean chased the hell out of the cities after being stripped of all social status in the 14th century.

Still, it did land them in some cool spots..

Debbie said...

Very nice pictures. Korea is quite beautiful 3 seasons out of the year...