Sunday, May 10, 2009

Episode 60: In Which DFM Finds An Outhouse With Its Own Temple And Eats So Much Seafood He Starts To Waddle

I woke up in a panic today.  The temperature inside my room was very hot (28 degrees was the reading on the thermostat) and I thought for sure I had slept in 'til the afternoon.

In actuality it was not the afternoon it was 6 in the morning.  After eating some breakfast I decided to pass the time until everyone else got up by going for a walk around the luxury golf resort at which we were staying.  It had rained the night before, so there was a cool mist in the air and everything looked especially green.

While on my walk I saw four ten year old boys playing basketball and a rather humorous situation broke out.  One of the boys began double-dribbling quite badly.  A second boy started yelling at him (in Korean), and I guessed that he was telling him to stop double-dribbling.  Shortly after this a boy on the other team started doubling dribbling and the boy who originally double-dribbled yelled at him to stop double-dribbling (again, in Korean).  The second boy came over and shoved him and started yelling at him, which I took to mean that he was telling him to stop being such a hypocrite.  The whole situation reminded me of when I was that age and I threw a basketball at a girl's head because she wasn't paying attention on the court.

After lunch at Jee-seon's home in Ulsan, we headed to the beach.  Ulsan is located very close to the East Sea - between Korea and Japan - and while it is not technically the Pacific Ocean, it was close enough for me (same water).

After visiting the beach we drove back towards Gyeongju, to the mountain Unjesan.

I know it looks nice, but that's not a temple in the foreground it's a really smelly outhouse.

After a shady hike up Mt. Unjesan we came to an unnamed temple.  Of all the temples I've seen this one had the nicest looking buildings.

Back near the outhouse we found another temple, Oeosa (pronounced "Oo-oh-sa").  Everything was still decorated for the Buddha's Birthday season, which meant hundreds of lanterns.  Each one had a candle inside and at night some poor soul probably has to walk along and light them all.

This is probably the best looking pagoda I've seen anywhere in Korea.  I love the blue roof.

The pagoda was not just notable for its blue roof though.  Inside it housed Korea's oldest bronze bell, Oeosadongjong.  Built in 1281, Oeosadongjong had been lost for many decades, perhaps centuries, before the severe draught of 1995 though dried up a nearby river where the bell was found lying at the bottom.

Baby Buddha's Belly! 귀엽다

After a long day of sightseeing, April, Sun Hee, Jee-seon and I went out to a seaside restaurant for some sashimi.  Sashimi is very fresh raw seafood.  The meal I had featured a crab platter, a shrimp platter, a sliced raw fish platter that was humongous, and a large serving of maeuntang ("may-oon-tang").  

Maeuntang features fish that is boiled with various vegetables and then doused in both chili pepper and Korean red chili pepper paste (because one hot condiment wasn't enough).

After eating the maeuntang, Sun Hee filled the pot with the remaining raw fish to turn them into half-cooked spicy fish.  I was over filled by this point, but the half-cooked spicy fish was delicious so I kept stuffing it down.

After dinner my leg had cramped/locked up quite badly from sitting cross-legged for four courses.  I must have looked quite silly as I waddled back to the car, but I didn't care.

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