Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blog 55 - 10th November

Autumn continues with unseasonal warmth. Yes, I know I have been going on and on about autumn, however, after a very short autumn last year and such a long hot and humid summer, this season, here called the man's season, is a welcome respite before winter. My favourite tree and fruit at the moment is persimmons. This photo was taken outside the Persimmon Cafe at Seoul Arts Centre. I wonder how our perssimon tree in our Adelaide garden is going? Damien gave it to me for my birthday last year after the sad demise of persimmon tree number one.

We are regulars at the Seoul Arts Centre. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is coming next week so of course we have tickets.

These images are from the foyer of the Cultural Instute of Italy in Seoul where we were invited to a concert to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Nino Rota. We had never heard of him, however, we enjoyed the modern clasical music and seeing inside this wonderful building. The seat above is designed by the world famous Iraqui born architect Zaha Hadid. Not sure how comfortable it would be!

The staircase from a foyer view.

Can you see the glass lift ascending to the 5 storey height?

Seoul Forest was formerly a racecourse and is now converted into a huge park and located in the centre of the city. We walked around for hours and felt that we were really away from it. Here is Spiderman climbing the skypscraper!

The park fronts the Han River with its myriad of bridges and curving roads elegantly alongside.

How delightful to see kids playing and actually getting dirty. Most people in Seoul live in apartments and have never had to luxury of a backyard to play in.

The sculpture park is an honouring of past races.

Lots of walking paths zigzag all over the place.

My friend Hilary invited me to her traditional Korean concert in which she was performing. She is pictured below playing the haegeum, a two stringed bowed instrumnt. This ameteur group was extremely professional and the personal small centre was packed.

Below is a very funny video taken at the Divali Blast celebration that our friend, Jyoti, invited us to. Bollywood eat your heart out!

Jyoti and her daughter Vayshalli made a beautiful shrine as well as a chalk drawing on the floor, to commemorate this special Indian time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blog 56- 12th November

The third annual Seoul Lantern Festival lights up Cheonggyecheon Stream, a renovated waterway that used to flow under a busy highway until it underwent a major overhaul 5 years ago. This year's festival highlights Seoul's long history and many traditions and includes an 18-meter lantern tunnel made up of over 3,000 cheongsachorong (traditional Korean lanterns with a red-and-blue silk shade); lanterns that offer glimpses into traditional Korean life; and lanterns of popular animated characters including Batman, Spiderman, and Superman.

These lights formed an arch over the Jangtonggyo Bridge crossing the lanterns. Thousands flock here every night for 2 weeks. It was more fun watching everyone taking photos of each other than the lanterns, although they are pretty impressive.

One of our friends says that Seoul is like a lady of the night - she looks her best after dark! After plotting and planning for a while we took a trip on the ferry down the Han River that divides the south where we live, from the north, where downtown is located.

We did not get to see the fountain emanating from the Bampo Bridge as advertised, however, we did get to see a 1970'a style singer with gelled hair and shaded glasses and his electric accompaniment. Many locals I think were along for the ride just to sing along with him!

West Seoul Lake Park, pictured below, is located in the south west area of Seoul. After opening in 2009, it won an honour award by the American Society of Landscape Architects Professional Awards in 2011. An obsolete water treatment plant that once served 50,000 people.

A fountain in the middle of a one-and-a-half-acre lake responds to roaring aircraft with 41 spouts that send jets of water 30 metres into the air. A recycled garden uses old pipes and equipment such as a table for 100 people.