|Today we had an afternoon tour scheduled to a Folk Village, and the morning was on our own. We chose to do a laundry morning. Exciting isn't it? On the way to breakfast we stopped on the second floor at the guest laundry. They have two washers & two dryers. Neither was being used, so one for whites and one for darks for 40 minutes. We then went to breakfast. After breakfast we switched the loads over to the dryers for 40 minutes. We then read, Jean went down to the lobby to use the computer to check her email.
After the clothes were done and we had repacked them, we went for a walk in the local area to see what was available for this evening. After the tour we were to meet up with Se-Eun. She was the organist that subbed for Jean from time to time when we were at the United Methodist Church at New Brunswick. And, when Jean had her elbow surgery, Se-Eun played for three months, while I conducted the choir.
We were to be in the lobby for a 12:50 pick-up for the afternoon tour to visit the Korean Folk Village. When housekeeping knocked on our door around 12:00, we went down to the lobby and read. We were met at 12:40 by our guide, Sue (Sue-Tin) who, with our driver, escorted us over to where we met the others for our tour. There were only five of us this afternoon, so we used the van in which picked us up. There was a young fellow Patrick from Germany who had been here on business and stayed two extra days to explore Seoul, and two ladies, one of which worked as a teacher for the Department of Defense and had lived in Seoul for two years.
Sue talked a little bit on the hour ride out to the Folk Village. Because we had over 7 people in the van, we were able to use the HOV Express Lane, bypassing the heavy traffic.
The Korean Folk Village is actually more of an amusement style park. The Folk Village section consisted of buildings from the North and South demonstrating the need for various styles of housing because of the various climate conditions. Some of the buildings have been brought from various locations around Korea. Others have been built in the style on site. We saw farmers' houses from the North and South parts of Korea, a merchants' house (wealthy class) from both parts, local Government Office (every village had one), and the Nobleman's House. There were also workshops that usually show demonstrations of making pottery, blacksmithing, mask making, musical instruments, straw bags, straw shoes, etc. (This is sort of the Williamsburg of Korea.) But since this is the low season, they are only demonstrating during the weekends. High tourist seasons are Spring and Autumn.
When we arrived, it was in time to see the afternoon greeting parade with people in their costumes dancing, waving and marching (think Disney) through the main gate of the Folk Village and marching around the Market Village (get you souvenir here). We then wandered around the village as Sue talked about the culture and the function of the architecture and various everyday items. We ended up at the Nobleman's House in time to experience the wedding ceremony.
Besides the Folk Village section and Market Village, there was the Marketplace (restaurants) and Amusement Village where you could experience about 20 various rides - roller coaster, bumper car, crazy swing, etc. We only visited the Market Village (inside the main gate) and the Folk Village. We both agreed it was an ok experience.
Our guide Sue-Tin was very young, about 27. She was fun during the tour with her comments. Before we boarded the bus for our 4:00 departure and waiting for the others to return from the rest room, Sue-Tin told Jean and I that she had just got news that her father had signed a contract for her new car. She is getting a Hyundai navy blue miniSUV. She was very happy. I made her show us a picture on the return ride. l
This is where we also learned that she had been in New Zealand for two tears during middle school to learn English. She said that English in Korea is a mandatory course, and she was very good. But when she got to New Zealand, she realized she had a lot to learn. It took a week before it clicked with her. Then she came back and did not use her skills for 10 years, and started working as a tour guide.
We arrived back at the hotel around 5:00. Jean emailed Se-Eun that we were back. Neither one of us felt very hungry, so we went to one of the largest franchises in the world, Subway for dinner. We then returned to the room to relax and wait for Se-Eun.
About 8:30 she called the room and we went down to meet her and her niece from Indiana who was visiting with her mother for the summer. We went over to a Starbucks to have a drink and catchup. She still has a church job, and teaches organ at a university. I think she said that she had 18 students who were minoring in Organ. She also participates in organ recitals. She gave a solo organ recital in December. She showed us pictures of her six year-old son. Cute. I talked with the niece. She will be in Sixth grade next year. She speaks Korean very well - speaks at home and has gone to Korean School after church back in Indiana.
We returned to the room around 10:00 and immediately hit the sack after our long day.