Monday, 21 May 2012

Chuncheon Mime Festival

I opened my door on Friday evening to find Bob was back in town. He had a good trip down in the South of Korea and he had come back to spend his last weekend here in the mountains with me. It was good to catch up with him and on Friday evening we went down to the local fish restaurant for dinner. Bob didn’t fancy trying the live octopus that I had recommended so we opted for octopus soup. However, when the octopus arrived it was still wriggling with life but luckily once the waiter put the octopus into the soup the heat killed it (much like lobster). The initial panic of eating live octopus subsided and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner. There was debate as to whether we should be eating the heads of the octopus and after sampling it we concluded that we probably shouldn’t. We headed back home after dinner, Nathanael came over and we spent the evening talking and drinking rice wine.

Saturday rolled around quicker than I would have liked, as it always seems too, and we headed out to Hwacheon to cycle on the trail that I had previously been on with my school. The sun was beaming down on the lake and the cycle was pleasant. We even saw a snake crossing the bike trail, I suppose it was basking in the sun before we came along and forced it off the trail. The wind was no problem (as there wasn't any) and despite not having mountain bikes (as the army had rented them all out) we had a great time cycling in Hwacheon. After this we went for some lunch at a local restaurant and walked around the Hwacheon market which wasn’t as bustling as it could have been.

On Saturday evening everyone in town went drinking at the local bar, as usual some Koreans cordially invited themselves to drink with us and after a time we decided that we should head to the karaoke bar. Songs were sang. Obviously.

So skipping quickly along (it seems I’m not making much effort with this particular blog) we awoke on Sunday morning and Bob cooked a great breakfast. We went down to the bus station at 10:20 and caught the bus to Chuncheon. On arrival we noticed there were posters plastered all over the walls of the bus terminal advertising the Chuncheon Mime Festival. I knew this festival was just around the corner but I had no idea that it was this weekend. I had a few errands to run which I did as quickly as I could and we caught the subway to Chuncheon station. We walked from here in the scorching sun along Uido lake (something like that), past the Korean war memorial (seriously how many of these statues do you need, we get it), and along to the statue of the lady of the lake, a beautiful bronze sculpture that overlooks the entire body of water. We soaked up the sun which was actually rather tiring and decided it was time to catch a taxi to the mime festival.

I assumed that the festival would be held around Meyong-dong and low and behold I was right. There was a big blow up lotus flower in the middle of the road and behind that a completely blocked off street. After grabbing a coffee we proceeded down the road. The road was covered in water sprinklers and Koreans in ponchos were spraying each other with water from pistols. I looked up at a banner hanging from the bank which said ‘Chuncheon Mime Festival Water Party’. Fun times. It was exactly what you would imagine from the advertisement, the whole road was full of people getting each other as wet as physically possible, which was refreshing in the midday sun.

After a time a group of acrobats began performing in the middle of the road. The music was blaring out of some high rise speakers and the acrobats had water flying off of them into the cheering crowds. Some other street performers eventually ascended on the festival, these guys were Korean mask performers who were playing with both water and fire, one of the mimes was blasting fire out of his mouth and prancing around in a dragon mask. It was quite the spectacle and the Koreans were lapping it up. Suddenly, I looked up and I saw a giant ball of flames floating above us in the sky. The black ball was held up by a crane and was consumed by fire. It was like something out of a Marvel comics film. The Koreans were throwing buckets of water over each other, the music was loud and the fire was roaring and we decided it was time to get out of there.

We had some ice cream, grabbed a drink, I finally brought myself a new camera and we headed home after a hot, wet and sweaty day in Chuncheon. It was great fun and Bob had a fantastic time. We had a quiet evening, cooked some food and watched a movie and this morning Bob finally headed back to America after spending 8 months on the road.

Now I have a new camera I might start putting photos on this blog. It's been something I've been debating for a while and I'm really not sure how I feel about it, it might happen... it might not... 

I’m hoping I have an easy week at work as if my calculations are correct there is a three day field trip in the middle of the week for grades 4 to 6. That means at least half of my classes will be cancelled. I could be wrong. We’ll have to see how it goes. As usual, I’m in the dark, but you know, you get used to it. At the end of the week I’ll be booking the final bits and pieces for the big trip and then we enter June and the home straight... the countdown begins...

1 comment:

  1. Well that was a great last weekend in Korea for me and you explained it so well!!

    I like pics in blogs....