April 13, 2008

화성 (Brilliant Fortress)

(Weeping Cherry Tree - Janganmun 'north gate')

This past week we were fortunate enough to experience what the Koreans call a sandwich day, or a day off in the middle of the week. So, wanting to take full advantage of our holiday, few and far between as they are, we rounded up a group of friends and we all headed down to the brilliant Hwaseong fortress in Suwon, a city 48 km south of Seoul.

(Cross-bow Tower - Rachel, Bridgette, Alison, Jeff, Nate, Jess, and Alicia)

('Romantic' Korean poses under the cherry trees - Alicia, Jess, Bridgette, Alison, Rachel and Vanessa)

Interesting Facts -
  • Hwaseong was built from 1794 to 1796 by King Jeongjo, who is featured on the header of our blog.
  • King Jeongjo constructed the fortress to honor and house the remains of his father, Prince Sado, who was forced to commit suicide by being shut in a rice chest by the previous King.
  • The wall is 6 kilometers in length and four to six meters high.
  • The wall took 700,000 man-hours to build.
  • It cost the national treasury 870,000 nyang, the currency at the time, and 1,500 sacks of rice to pay the workers.
  • King Jeongjo put so much time and effort into the construction of Hwaseong because it was his intent to make Suwon the capital city of Korea. This obviously failed.
  • The fortress was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1997.
(Only in Korea!!)

(Shhh... don't tell Jen!)

Please note that we do not always pose in such ridiculous manners. We are sporting these stances in the name of education. We are attempting to illustrate and help you to further understand the culture and society that we live within everyday. 'Innocent' and 'romantic' poses are a way of life in Korea. Image is everything over here. These poses say it all.

(They have such small doorways over here.)

(Changnyongmun 'east gate' - Rachel, Jess, Alison, Bridgette, Erik and Alicia)

To find out more check out wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwaseong_Fortress

April 7, 2008


As Spring has now arrived in Seoul it seems that everything is getting cleaned out, prepped up or cut off. Kimchi's mane is no exception. A few weeks ago, we took him to the vet to get his tri-annual haircut. When we dropped him off he looked like an old man. Well, actually he looked more like a professor. With his shaggy unkempt hair covering his dark little eyes and his beard so long it trapped almost anything that dared venture near, professor, as a few of our friends like to call him, was a very fitting name.

When we ventured down to the vets to pick Kimchi up, we were shocked to find that the groomer had changed our little professor into the adorable dog that we now call Jenny. Long flowing ears and a curly soft tail, all he needs to complete the look are two pink bows and a stuck up attitude.

Yet, no matter his 'do' we sure love him.