I officially love fall festivals in Korea. They're such a great cultural experience. Wherever you are, at home or abroad, I encourage you to get to a festival. I went to two in one weekend.
On Saturday I went with six other friends to Andong (about two hours away). I'd been to Andong last fall to visit the traditional village there. I think there was a post about it... Anyways, this time at the festival there were traditional masks displayed and performances from all around the world. It was nice to enjoy the nice weather, good company and people watch!
Not exactly traditional masks...
Tae kwan do performance
Some of the masks displayed from a contest.
We had a photo shoot in traditional Korean garb!
They did too. Only they don't look as thrilled...
I made some mask shaped soap :)
Sunday a few of us met at the bus terminal. **Side story really quick...**
I'm running late (as usual) and decide to grab a taxi so I'm semi-on time but there are no taxis anywhere. So I'm just waiting for one to drive by on the main road and a car pulls over and the woman asks if I'm going downtown. I tell her no, I'm going to the bus terminal and she said "Ok, come on." So I get in the car and the couple drove me to the bus termina!! Don't try this at home, folks. Only in Korea can you accept a ride from strangers and it be totally safe.
Today when we met we went to Gyeongju (30 minutes away). There was a rice cake and liquor festival. Let me just not that I don't like rice cakes of any form. Korean rice cakes aren't like those from America. They're soft, chewy and most often tasteless. There were so many varieties and I actually tried one kind that weren't too bad.
There was a demonstration for Japanese rice cakes and we wanted to try but this Korean guy with a "PRESS" badge talked to our Korean friend with us and told us that it was Japanese and Japan is bad so we can't try it. There's a Korean rice cake demonstration there and we need to do that one... Haha. So we went there and there were a bunch of Korean children in line to try. I took a picture and was ready to move on to the liquor part of the festival... Nooooooo... The Korean man basically fanned all the Koreans away to make way for the foreigners! So the group of us made rice cakes which took a good hour, including all of the pictures and pose changes (I'm surprised there weren't costume changes too!) I thought we were done when the same man approached us and asked Christie to do an interview for the news! Thennnn they insisted we pose for more pictures eating the rice cakes we had made. The ajumma gave the waygookins gloves to wear and there was a Korean woman who wanted to try (they again pushed the Korean children and adults out of the way to make room for the waygookins) and the ajumma gave her one glove thinking she was with us. When she realized she was just a lone Korean, the ajumma took the glove back from her! So we're rolling our rice cakes and cutting them. Then we had to eat them. That consisted of an ajumma literately feeding rice cakes to Emily and me as we were being photographed. About four times. (Once again, I don't like rice cakes). So by the end I have a mouth full of four chewed rice cakes, refusing to swallow. And the ajumma hands me a whole plate of them to take home. Yum.
Posing for pictures...
Making rice cakes.
At last it was time to move on to the liquor! We all bought some awesome shot glasses to wear around our necks for $1. Then the tasting began. Most of the liquor was absolutely terrible but I felt it was my cultural duty to try all of them no matter how bad they tasted. I didn't puke!
This was rice liquor freshly decanted. Just a drop on your tongue was enough.
Super potent! Probably 110 proof...
Fall Festivals: Korea vs. America
Beer: $2 vs. $10
Corndog: $2.50 vs. $5
Admission: Free vs. $5-15
Treated like a celebrity vs. not treated like a celebrity
Drunk men running a muck while spectators observe vs. drunk men running a muck and getting arrested