Saturday, July 28, 2012

Buk, Buk, Bukchon

I failed again today. It's nice to be back on form after the uncharacteristic success of the used panties vending machine quest and Geisha hunt. That thing I said about Korea not being the easiest country for tourists is holding up - they're even going to the length of closing down tourist spots without letting anyone know. That's commitment!

So I didn't get to visit the egg-di-frying ('edifying') Museum of Chicken Art in Bukchon today, but as I'd already worked out that egg-cellent ('excellent') pun title in advance, ei (that's German for egg) had to find something to make the trip worthwhile (like a worthwhile egg. Watch Histor's Eye for more desperate egg puns).

Despite signs like this one, I couldn't find the museum anywhere in the neighbourhood and the pretty waitress in the cafe nearby told me it had recently shut down. Who'd have thought that basing a museum entirely on poultry-related art wasn't a recipe for success? This waitress was also one of two people who told me I was a 'very handsome guy' this afternoon, which is probably more times than this has happened in my entire life before, so I recommend that any single men visiting Korea don't bother shaving for a month, don't comb their hair and walk around in a slightly sweaty T-shirt, it seems to do the trick.

Though she did specifically single out my big nose and big ears as particularly attractive features, so maybe she was taking the piss. Or maybe these women are bored of preened Korean men and want a bit of rough? Whatever the reason, I was too chicken to do more than just laugh about my bad Korean and bid them 안녕히가세요.

Speaking of chickens, here's what you can do in Bukchon when the museum's clucking closed.

Bukchon Hanok Village

There was really no need for me to travel all the way to Jeonju last time I was in Korea to see an old-style Hanok Village, as these traditional, hilly neighbourhoods can be found in quite a lot of places, even in the middle of Seoul where Bukchon offers a stubborn sanctuary from the rampant commercialism of the modern city.

At least, that would be the case if all these old buildings hadn't been converted into gift shops, overpriced cafes and doomed art galleries devoted to a specific type of bird. That's right, there's more than one of those.

The Owl Art & Craft Museum is still up and running, but it's closed Monday to Wednesday so I'll have to catch it next time. I bet you can hardly wait! Why do I put myself through this?

Apparently, ancient Koreans covered themselves in watches that all told different times and so weren't even useful

Changdeokgung, which I'll assume is pretty much the same as Gyeongbokgung,
so just look at that. Then try to remember either of their names after two minutes

What is it with this place and chickens?

Samcheong Park

I'm glad I came back to Seoul in the summer, because you can't walk too far before hitting a mountain (buk, buk, Bukaksan)

Very handsome guy (official) at Prospect Point

Totally seamless panorama that definitely worked, shut up
(I think the middle photo was taken from a different height, just to be more professional)

I was in Seoul for about six weeks last time, and I didn't even notice the whole downtown area is surrounded by an intact fortress wall, which you can apparently walk the entire length of.
So now I really don't need to go to China. That's a relief

But don't worry, the failures keep coming - I didn't make it past the first checkpoint because I didn't have my passport on me. This outdoor security seemed a little weird...

But understandable when you see things like this, and realise these pleasant vantage points would be pretty convenient locations for North Korean sympathisers and other assorted maniacs to tear South Korea's capital a new ass-Seoul ('assho--' oh, you got it)

I'll be back in Seoul in a couple of weeks, so I'll come back here with my passport and become master of this domain. Or I could just sneak past the guards by developing a potion to turn myself invisible like that guy in that book

Today's relevant soundtrack: H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man (Alien Voices dramatisation)

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