Sunday, April 19, 2009

Episode 46: In Which DFM Visits The Biggest Church In The World And Sees A Two-Headed Turtle

I was supposed to go rock climbing with a group from the Summit climbing gym this morning, but somehow when I was setting my alarm I forgot to finish the process so my alarm did not go off.  Oh well, carpe diem and all that, right?

Seoul is home to the largest church (by membership) in the World.  There are more than 830 000 members of the Yoido Full Gospel Assembly.  Since I had a Sunday off I thought I should drop by one of its five services.

The Yoido church is so big it has its own orchestra and choir.  And if that isn't enough for you, check out the size of that organ behind the choir!

I've said before that people will sell anything in Seoul.  Here the guy in the green shirt drove up on the sidewalk, pulled out a pallet, and then started selling large packages of toilet paper.  It doesn't even phase me any more.

After leaving the church and finding my directions I decided to walk back to the subway station.  Along the way I ran into a long, slim strip of paradise in the middle of the most expensive land in Seoul - Yoido Park.  The park runs the width of Yoido Island, and is easily the greenest place in Seoul.  I wish I could have spent more time exploring it, but I had to get to the COEX Mall to see the aquarium.

I finally got a good picture of that Glass Tower I talked about in my previous post on the COEX Mall back in March... and whatever that other building is.

I said last time that COEX Mall is completely underground, and here you get a good idea of what that looks like.  I'm standing on the ground level here, with the trees and the road, looking down on everyone entering/exiting the mall.  To the left you can see the Bee-bee-dee Bah-bee-dee Boo sign I snapped for the other post.  I sing the song for the kids at school and they think it's a gas.  "*Squueeeel* yung-uh sung-sayng-neem knows Bee-bee-dee Bah-bee-dee Boo" is probably what they're thinking.  ("Yung-uh" is English and "sung-sayng-neem" means teacher)

The last time I went to the mall, I tried to visit the COEX Aquarium but I was too late.  Now I'm kind of glad I didn't get in before.  I have been to the 63 Seaworld Aquarium and the Busan Aquarium, but the COEX Aquarium is bigger than both of those.  It would have been a real downer if I had seen it first.

I haven't seen a tarantula in person since I was eight, so this was pretty exciting for me.  Tarantulas generally just stand around I find, and they aren't really exciting unless you have them crawling on you (like I did when I was eight, hurray) but I still enjoyed seeing this White Kneed Tarantula from Brazil.

Here's a centipede from Haiti.  I've never seen one of these before, but I hear they can be deadly.  I had trouble telling which end was the head because the centipede took turns moving both ends independently from each other.


One section had a bunch of different fish tanks made from interesting items you might find in the street or at home.  There were post boxes, computers, chemistry sets, dryers, refrigerators and many more items all turned into fish tanks.  Here you can see a telephone booth tank and, well, I think you know what the second picture is.

This looks really sad, but I'm pretty sure that lizard burrowed himself under the truck, and not the other way around.

Now these fish are just plain silly.

A real live two-headed turtle!  And you thought these were a myth, didn't you?  I did.

Yet still more firsts!  This is the first aquarium I've been to that had Hammerhead sharks.  This was a real treat, I tell you what.

I'll finish up with what is probably the best shark picture I've ever taken.  The sting ray below the shark was especially playful, and wherever I would go to take pictures he'd come over and perform tricks for me like flapping up against the glass or showing me his belly.  I thought it was just good luck, but when I moved to the other side of the tank he followed me over and hung around until I moved back and then he followed me again.

I was initially skeptical about the $15 entry fee, but the COEX Aquarium is easily the biggest aquarium and probably the best I've ever seen.  The only aquarium that gives it a run for its money is the Busan Aquarium, and that's only because it was located right on a beautiful beach and I was allowed to swim with the sharks.

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