KOREA 2015 #3: NATIONAL COSTUMES, HANGUL DAY EVE CONCERT, GWANGHWAMUN SQUARE & Gyeongbok Palace

Sunday, 27 December 2015




Read Day 1 and Day 2 if you haven't yet!


 
Day 3 started off with the same routine of waking up and getting ready for the day. We were asked to bring our national costume with us so we packed that and headed off to breakfast. After the usual morning banter, we all met at the lobby with our teammates and headed to our various locations for lessons, in my case Samulnori lessons.

We arrived at the Gugak centre and our teacher picked up where we last stopped. We also had a videographer and a photographer for the entire lesson doing their thing. We learnt a complete set called Insageot and Huimori. It was exhilarating to be able to play an instrument but more so to play a complete piece by myself.

After our morning session, we had Kimbap for lunch and changed into our costume. I bet the people at the Gugak Centre had a free fashion show from all the costumes we were all wearing. Everyone looked pretty and colourful under the afternoon sun.

L-R: Uzbekistan. .Japan & Vietnam. Japan Again
L-R: India, Sierre Leone & India. Top Right: Not sure. Bottom Left: Uzbekistan girl and Tajikistan Boy.
 
 L-R: Poland. Brazil. Nigeria

We all headed to see the Great King Sejong—His statue at Gwanghwamun square where preparations for the Hangeul day eve event was underway. We also met up with the other teams who were all dressed in their costumes as well. I managed to take a few photos of the national costumes and some paparazzi shots as well. check out some candid moments below I'll upload more photos on my facebook page, don't forget to like it for updates.

 
L-R: Remember how I mentioned my anticipation to see the Han River in the previous post, well I finally got a full view and you can imagine my excitement!!! This bus looked like it belonged in a small European town. This neighborhood reminded of the ones in KDramas. Lookey here we have a toll gate! I can't recall the last time I saw one.


L-R: Japan & India. Not sure of Bottom left. Nigeria. Brazil, wearing Jersey and Costume.

A mix of South American Countries, Malay, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Japan, Kazakhstan and Nigeria

When we were all dressed and ready, we took a photo in front of the Sejong Statue which ended up in the newspapers. I got to experience my first paparazzi moment. A bunch of photographers and PR people were stood in front of us and flashing away and shouting out orders and we had passersby stop and stare. A sight to behold I tell ya.

After the spectacle at the square, we were ushered back to our buses to change. 

 
L-R: Our Doomi :) holding the front and back sign of our team. A guard in position for the change of guard ceremony at the palace

The change of guard parade.

A short walking distance from all this was the Gyeongbok palace. The famous one you see in all the tourist shots. It was smack in the centre of Seoul and was a true representation of a fusion of Old and New Korea. It was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty and it was built in 1395!

I got me a photo collection displaying Modern and Traditional Korea through Clothing.


We had a wander round the palace, took so many pictures and oohed and aahed away. It is really exceptional to see how the history has been preserved. The palace is at its original state and the grounds was massive and beautiful. It is surrounded by mountains and greenery plus there is a river that will make you stare in awe with tiny fishes swimming away.

 
A few snippets of the palace. The girls holding their project. Our Doomi and Joanna. A few of my teammates goofing around.

We also met these students who were doing a project to find out the most popular Korean Dish, I bet they were glad to run into us, because were increased their numbers a lot. They were happy to pose for us. The winner was Samgyeopsal to no surprise.

All this walking around got us hungry, so we headed to have dinner. It was at a cafeteria called Hyundai Greenfood which was an experience on its own. The cafeteria was the first of many of its kind we were to encounter in Korea. It is efficiently set up and the food was very nutritious and yummy. This is what is called a balanced meal. Plus everywhere is so clean.

I really wanted to visit this department store, especially the one in Busan. BTW, we were in Korea during their biggest shopping event. I noticed that about 90% of the cars I saw were tinted, anyone know why? Another shot of the Han River, I wouldn't mind living in one of those apartments.

 
I kept taking Photos of random streets because I was just in awe of everything. There are a lot of themed cafes in Korea and they all looked cool. The road and Buildings are all massive. More shots of the Palace. A paparazzi Shot of our Team Leader and Photographer. And of Course my Dinner Tray.

After all that, Me and Nur went to go pray I learnt the Korean vocabulary related to prayer, I tell you I learnt so much more in the week I spent here than I've done studying Korean in months, 기도하다 is to pray. Then the entire crew headed off back to the square to watch the festivities. We got front row seating and the night air was very cool, the stage was in front o King Sejong's Statue and it was like he was looking over everything.


Performances during the Eve Festival. The man in the middle is a famous KBS Announcer (Newscaster).

I didn't know what to expect here and neither did the other people sat with me. When we arrived a group of cute elementary school kids were singing. They were all dressed in Hanbok and doing a routine of bobbing their heads. After that there was a performance by a group of Taekwondo players, they did a lot of acrobatic tricks that was amazing, their flying kicks was incredible. I have never seen anything like it. 

After that, a drummer played a piece on this two giant drums and then a dancer did a routine that was a fusion of what looked like ballet and a traditional dance. Then this troupe of female dancers and a male dancer performed a piece that was just beautiful, the lead singer seemed to be in love with the king, she performed with him and even though I didn't fully understand it, the whole performance and their outfits was enchanting.

After that we were introduced to a new MC and lo and behold he is from the popular variety show, Dad, where are you going!! He was the first of many recognizable faces for the night. After a few introductions and all the dignitaries had left. The concert began. We had a few unrecognizable facesalthough the Koreans around knew them, and then this duo came on and they had a lot of energy. They performed a hit song titled Superpower (or something) and everyone was singing along. Thats them in the top right photo.

 
Some of the Singers durin the Concert. The man in the top left is the Kim Sung Joo from Dad! Where Are We Going? 아빠! 어디가?

And then a male ballad singer who was dressed like he came out of a 1940s American movie, but he had a voice that will make you listen! Then Kisum from Unpretty Rapster performed, I loved her personality, she's pretty dope!! And then Gummy came on, which shocked me, She was the first Artist I knew and she was stood in front of me!! She got a lukewarm reception from the audience though. 

At this point, a lot of the Koreans kept coming to squat near our seats and they had this massive and expensive looking cameras, at first I thought they were journalist but they kept getting shoed away by the security. I later found out that they are fan cafe members and bloggers and they were waiting for the main acts, Monsta X and Red Velvet. They meant business I tell ya. When Red Velvet and Monsta X came on, The energy in the air and the crowd was definitely hyped up. It was the first time I saw Kpop idols perform and up close at that. I now see what the appeal is, it is a different feeling from seeing them on TV!! 

 

The energy of the crowd was different and after their performance, the night came to an end!! I had such an amazing time, but after the long and full day that we had, I was looking forward to going back to the hotel.

If you have read up to here, Kudos. Which Artist would you have loved to see and what was your fave part of day 3? Please leave your answer in the comments. See you next time on Day 4. 


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안녕,


meera
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