Today was really spectacular. We're still in Taegu, and i like it better than Seoul - it's al ittle smaller and a lot cleaner. There are a million apartment buildings here and they're SO TALL! But apparantly it's most common to live in apartments, so that's cool!
We woke up and drove up a mountain to another Buddhist temple. This one was REALLY neat. The cool story is...i got lost. Me and 3 other girls took a bathroom detour (complete with the in-floor squat-style toilets (of which i am terrified) and GIANT spiders on the wall (of which i am also terrified)) and the group left without us so we meandered our way up the path, assuming we were right. When we stopped to ask a lady if a big group passed by already, dressed in the same clothes, all she could say was "pizza! Potato pizza!" Not much help, lady...thanks a lot.
We ended up stumbling upon a pay-phone on the tranquil lil' trail and called Brother Watabe and he said they were all up at the Heainsa temple already. He came down a little ways to meet us. We were relieved, but got some great pictures along the way!
The temple was gorgeous. It was a little rainy and drizzly but mostly just misty and it made for VERY dramatic scenery. I was so in love with it up there. I learned so much about the buddhist lifestyle and frankly, it's very appealing. We heard the monks chanting and such, we took off our shoes and went inside the temple, and then we ate wtih the monks. The food was sort of bird-food-ey but i didn't mind because it was free, and they shared it with us because we were visitors in their holy place. Quite franky, it was delcious - very wholesome tasting. And the monks were very gracious. We weren't allowed to take pictures of much, but i understand - in that it's their sacred place of worship. Also - I made two wishes and added my rocks to the stacks :) It's so hard to describe what it felt like! It was truly an amazing place.
Apparently during the Korean war, the North Korean armies made headquarters at amany of the buddhist temples. One large group was stationed at Heainsa temple, and the South Korean army ordered a man to lead his troup to bomb it to get the North Koreans out. The story goes that he had such fond memories of going there with his Grandmother that he called off the mission and was imprisioned for years afterward, but is now considered a hero in Korea. At this site there are the most extensive Buddhist scriptures in the world. It took them 16 years to make them - they take different kinds of wood and soak them in the ocean for 4 years, then hang them out to dry by wind for 4 years and then carve the scriptures onto wooden blocks. I didn't see them, sadly, but because the officer didn't bomb the temple, these blocks (which are about 700 years old) were preserved! Rock on!
We played another concert tonight. It was amazing as well! The beginning was just a little rough but as we went on it got better and better. There was a GINORMOUS crowd response. They were eating it all up - especially when we played the traditional Korean folk song and the drummers did their ditty (it's pretty cool.) They "ooooh"d and "aaahh"d just about everything we did and were immediately screaming and applauding after every number. The venue was sold out - upwards of 1500 tickets. Unfortunately there was a traffic jam and some people couldnt make it but they said there was still about 1400 people there.
A man who was just made one of the Area 70 for the LDS church said that there were many people touched and weeping. They said "This wasn't the sound of music, it was the sound of heaven!" It amazes me that the people here love our concerts so much - we've had sold out venues in 5 different locations in the past week and we can barely get a couple hundred for one concert a semester in Provo. Rock on :)
Afterward there were loads of little kids - scads, and HOARDS who wanted autographs and pictures. I made lots of new friends. Also, the family who i ate dinner wtih last night was there, and the man who drove us to dinner brought his sweet wife. I was so glad to see them again!!!
Anyway - we got back to the hotel and went out for a little longer. Rachel and i went to a grocery store and i loaded up on snacks to bring home :) It feels very safe walking around here. Interestingly enough, it was about 10:30 or 11:00 and there were kids coming home from school!! CRAZY!!
Hope you're all well! Love to everyone!!
Some of our new friends! They said we were pretty!!
This is the family we ate with last night (with Andrew and Gavin, who also ate with them! Also it looks like my head is glowing, but it's just some guy climbing up the stairs behind me...)
The man who picked us up at the hotel and drove us to dinner with his wife (in the gray) and sister (in the orange.) SUCH nice people.
My wishing rocks :)
The misty mountains. It was pretty much a metaphysical experince or something like that... (Sidenote: in historic villages like this one where they have neat-o temples and stuff, the government pays for the buildings in town to have the traditional rooftops for historical value and crap - sort of like Park City utah, how the architecture/design is very coordinated. RAD!)
It was SO BEAUTIFUL!