Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gongju 공주

I went to Gongju today and had a pleasant walk along the walls of Gongsanseong Fortress, which was the capital of the Baekje Dynasty from AD 475 until AD 538. Some of the pavilions within the fortress walls were built later on, and pretty much all of the structures have been repaired or rebuilt at some point.

Geumseoru West Gate Pavilion

View to the east side of Gongju city (population ~ 135,000)


At the end of my walk, a Korean woman introduced herself to me and encouraged her awkward Canadian companion to do the same. The Canadian lives in another city but comes to Gongju on Sundays to go to the church run by this woman's husband. Did I mention that he was awkward? Socially awkward people flock to Korea and seem to do alright here; I often wonder whether their students think they're representative of all Westerners... Within 5 minutes, the woman mentioned that her English institute was looking for more foreign teachers and oh wouldn't I like to work for the government instead of a private institution. I politely informed her that I would definitely be leaving in August and oh doesn't she have such excellent English. Satisfied by the flattery, she continued the conversation in another direction. We were invited into the tourist information office for tea by their tour guide (who made us stop twice for pictures) and I was given more pamphlets. After discussing how to improve English education in public schools and posing polite questions about Gongju to the tour guide, we left, said our goodbyes and then parted ways. I walked to the bus station and caught the hour-long bus ride back to Cheongju. It wasn't a particularly exhilarating trip, but it was still nice to be outside exploring a new place.


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