Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Every Parade NEEDS a Foreign Camera Man

We went to the Annual Lantern Parade in Seoul Sunday evening, and the next few posts are some of the highlights of the evening.

Lyle M.C's the Lantern Parade

Ok, perhaps Lyle shouldn't quit his day job quiet yet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Budha's Birthday Parade

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle
And the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Budah's birthday is coming on May 9th. The celebrating has already begun.
This was an AMAZING parade. The pictures just don't do it justice. Everything was done using Korean Lanterns.
The Mormons don't hold a candle to the Budhists when it comes to parades celebrating their religion. This parade involved thousands of people carrying Korean Lanterns, incredible floats along with dancing, and playing drums. It lasted over two hours, so this is a long blog, but hang in there...
This may be as close as some of you get to ever seeing it and since its mostly pictures you'll be done before you fall asleep!

You just can't have to much of this guy when it's all about him.

The elephant is a symbol of the strength of the mind.
{Could be where they get the saying an elephant never forgets.}

Light signifies the stability and clarity of patience, the beauty which dispels all ignorance.

Musical instruments nature is wisdom, which makes an offering to the ears.

What's a parade without some pretty ladies?

Dragons have a ton of meaning, depending on what they are wearing, if they have a human face, if they can mate with humans, and even the number of claws on their feet has symbolism.
The short version is they protect Buddhism.
Although fearsome and powerful, Asian dragons are equally considered just, benevolent and the bringers of wealth and good fortune.
So you just can't have too many of these guys in your parade.

The Phoenix (or Bird of Paradise) represents peace and tranquilty.
"The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp."

I thought this Monk just looked so darn happy.

Of course you have to include the tree huggers.

This one is for my sister. She's not the only one that flies in a helicopter for a living.
Baby budha does too. Notice the round eyes :)

And evidently baby Budha's like Thomas the Train as much as my grandson's do.

That's your Budhist education for this week. Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country...

Paul Scott Mowrer said "There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast."

That makes us feel better about not owning a car or a bike! We are definately moving at the right tempo. Now if our feet just wouldn't hurt after the 3plus mile walk we wouldn't miss our wheels quite so much.

We decided to check out the hill two blocks down the road from our apartment and we found all kinds of things to take pictures of hiding behind the trees along the street. The pictures on this post and the post below are of recap our walk.

Koreans make the parks their neighborhoods and back yards. I guess the advantages are no mowing, weeding, watering or maintaining your outdoor space. You just have to be willing to share it...and clean up after your dog along the way.

There is nothing like walking....continued

There were several family cemetaries along our walk. Judging by the height of the mounds, it doesn't look like they used to bury the deceased very deep in the ground. The burial grounds were all fenced, and had these granite statues watching over things

I think this is the first time we have walked anywhere in Seould that would be considered forest. It was a small one, but still nice to walk on a dirt path surrounded by trees, instead of being surrounded by highrise apartments.

It is very common to find exercise equipment in almost all of the parks where people walk. This was at the top of the hill next to the pagoda.

I think this is suppose to improve circulation and good for the brain, right??

A favorite game played by Korean men using a board similar to a checker board and flat white and black marbles. {I really need to find out the name of the game one of these days. It's so popular they even have a t.v. channel that is dedicated to it.}

This was at the top of the hill, who knew...not the ones that can't read Korean signs, that's for sure!

Heading back home, the cherry blossoms are pretty much history now, but these bushes are all over the landscape, and started blooming about the time the cherry blossoms disappeared.

And last, but not least, we took the missionaries to dinner a few days ago. We just had to take a picture of the electrical wiring nightmare they had hanging from each of the telphone poles along this street. Crazy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Cherry Blossom Festivals

Alfred Housman said it best:
"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough."

Two friends Hye Gyeon, and Yung Sueng invited me to go with them and see some of the Spring Festivals in Seoul today. The first one was here in Walkerville...that's Korea, not Montana for all you Butte people that may have thought your local Walkerville was transformed.

Those are blossoms that have already fallen on the ground (we had a little wind on Sunday).

Next, we went to "Lotte World" at Jamsil. It's a shopping/amusement park/hotel/lake area in Seoul.
We walked around the lake, which is about three miles.

Then we found it...the mother of all cherry blossom trees!

Lyle put his stamp of spring happiness on our walk last night, so I thought I would finish with this pose. (Yes, he does think he is pretty funny when he is behaving just the opposite of the spring cheerfulness in the world around him)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

To my high altitude friends who never see spring

I have been MIA the past couple of weeks not because of a lack of things to blog about, but because we have been so busy. I didn't realize when I first started this blog that it was so appropriately named. I will post pictures of our travels from the past several weeks at a later date. For now I just had to put up some pictures I took from my walk yesterday. The Haun river is about one block from our apt. and they have built wonderful parks, and walking/biking paths for miles, so this has been my daily stroll. I love it! After 5 years of barely a blink of spring in MT, this has been good for all my spring fever senses.
So hopefully all my high altitude friends can take a minute and go on an internet spring walk in Seoul. I just wish you could smell the cherry blosssoms! (Which by the way, were planted mostly by the Japenese when they occupied Korea)

A few fine feathered friends along the river...

They let hospital patients that are well enough go for a walk with a nurse. That's probably better for you than most medicine.

This is an outdoor game they play. It looks like they use a soccer ball and a lowered volleyball net. They can only hit the ball with their heads or their feet.

This is under an overpass on the highway. {Lyle said if he were homeless, that's where he would want to live.}