Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Spring Weekend Around Daegu (2): Lantern Festival

After a few hours of bullfighting, we continued on to a local lantern festival, the Cheongdo Yudeung Festival.

All the women in the chorus wore Hanbok, traditional Korean clothing.

The festival was organized by the local temple, which stood at the top of the hill across the river. Accompanied by the chanting of another monk offstage, these monks peformed some kind of ritual dance.

Hungry for a snack? We weren't tempted by most of the food options and were happy to find a group of women serving fresh noodle soup. The soup was delicious and free; the women insisted that we not pay them.

The free noodle soup was not the only gesture of kindness and generosity we experienced at the festival. A little girl brought a homemade lantern up to Heidi and then ran away giggling before Heidi could thank her. During the monk's ceremony, a woman asked a man to move out of my way so I could get a better view. We chatted with a couple while waiting for the lanterns to be lit and they offered to let us stay overnight at their home. At the end of the evening, a policeman stopped directing traffic to call a taxi to pick us up. It was nice to feel so welcomed.

I enjoyed the couple the most. After the man's initial greeting, he asked Melissa how old she thought he was; her answer of "30" delighted him (and his wife). He then asked where we were all from.
"Canada- Canada- America- America," we answered.
"OH! CA-NA-DA! We love Canada!" was his hearty response.
There was no corresponding love expressed for America. (Interestingly, the exact same thing happened the next day). Any awkwardness that we might have felt went unnoticed and he began to joke with his wife and ask us a few more questions about our experiences in Korea. They were very pleasant and we were all touched that they offered to let us stay at their home after only talking with us for ten minutes.

We took the train back to Daegu and found a cheap love motel to stay in for the night (35$ per room). Our Sunday plans were decided on Sunday morning.


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