Wow, ok its been a very long but eventful two days. One thing that you notice right away here is the constant sound of the Cicadas buzzing all around. Seriously, non stop. although by now i have mostly gotten used to it and find the noise almost relaxing, but it definitely took a little getting used to. These bugs are HUGE too, and they are everywhere. So as you read this just imagine a constant sound, almost like a high pitched buzz saw ringing consistently throughout.
Well anyway, I'll fill you in on the weekend. So Saturday started early; breakfast at 8am and by 9 we were on the road. We drove about an hour and a half to some mountains that we would hike up in order to reach an observatory at the top. The scenery was beautiful, however until we reached the top the thick tress blocked any real views. Once at the observatory we got to look into this huge telescope that was pointed at the sun and look at sunspots. It was really cool! We also go to watch some 3D movies that were kind of strange and I'm not sure what they had to do with astronomy at all, but they were interesting none the less (even though i couldn't understand anything they were saying). Oh yea, I also used a Korean vending machine for the first time...I got some pineapple juice.
After the observatory we went to a little place to get lunch. However it took almost 3 hours for us to get served because we didn't have reservations and the cooks had to make food for 40 people! However, once the food actually came it was delicious. We had Bi Bim Bop, which is essentially mixed vegetables with rice. It was also served with Kimchi (of course), bean sprouts, a soup, and some seaweed (at least it looked like seaweed, I'm just guessing) dish. It was most excellent.
After our long, long lunch we headed over to the Cheonjangho Suspension Bridge. This bridge was really cool because in the middle it had giant statues of chili peppers! actually everything in that town was decorated with peppers. The bridge was neat because it was for pedestrians only, so we could all walk across. It also was on ropes so as you walked the bridge swung back and forth and you kept getting tossed from side to side. I was very surprised to see lots of elderly people jaunting about and going across the bridge. But I guess it makes sense why Koreans stay so healthy, they eat tons of vegetables and go hiking in the mountains all the time!
We headed back to Korea University, rested up a bit, and then decided to explore the town of Jochiwon where we are staying. And guess what, a Peach festival was going on! It was crazy, tons of food vendors, fire works, live music, and even a beauty pageant, all in the name of peaches. A few of us courageous ones even tried boiled silk worms (not a gross as it sounds, but probably wont be eating those again, haha). After several hours of gallivanting around the festival me and a few other people decided, well we are at a peach festival, lets get some peaches. So we bought a box of 18 peaches for only 15,000 won (about $15) and ate away. Let me tell you, they were delicious! And we even had leftovers to eat at breakfast the next day. After that we headed back to the dorms and went to bed, as we had another jam packed day ahead of us.So Sunday, started much like Saturday, we had breakfast at 8am (only this time with fresh peaches!) and were on the bus by 9. Today we were headed to the Korean Folk Village, which is basically a replica town of an old style Korean country village. We saw live music, and acrobat tightrope walker, flower gardens, live animals and all kinds of other things. Lunch today was much better as well, mainly because this time we had reservations so we were served right away. We had some type of sesame beef dish served with vegetables and rice. On a side note, I'm also starting to get pretty damn good with chopsticks, which in Korean restaurants are metal, instead of the wooden ones I am used to seeing.
Well after lunch me and my group got some ice cream and and then rested/napped in this gazebo type structure (they have lots of these all over the village) where you have to take your shoes off. We just sat there in the warm humid air, eating ice cream, full from lunch, and listened to the hum of the cicadas before nodding off for about half an hour. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the day, just pure bliss. We then headed back to the buses and came home, where I am now writing this. It's has been two completely full days and the official orientation hasn't even started yet! Well anyway, time for me to run to dinner and then perhaps pick up another crate of peaches. Anyeonghi jumuseyo! (good night)