Warning: the formatting got all screw-ball and i don't feel like taking the time to edit it right now. Sorry :)
Today was a long day. Long - but very, very good.
We didn't have a concert - which was very nice. It was good to have two days of a break, but we'll be back into the swing of things tomorrow night!!
We woke up and checked out of the hotel around 8:30. Breakfast was slow because at the hotel in Taejon, they insisted on serving us breakfast so we had to wait for that to happen. There was only one lady serving. Nice, yes. Slow? Yes. But it ended up being all right.
As usual, it felt like all we did today was eat. After we loaded our junk onto the trucks, we got on the bus where they had snacks for us (rachel and I ate sweet potato chips -which i'll try to bring home for everyone to try!!- and these yummy rice crispy peanut things and some marshmallow chocolate pies.) Once we got to Gyeongju we stopped at a buffet and i was feeling awfully adventurous. I ate squid and stuff - very good.
We visited some neat things. First, we visited the equivelant of the Egyptian temples -but it was Korean ....earth mounds. Only one is excavated but there were some really cool artifacts and crap in them. It was really hot so we were all really distractable and wanted to get back in the bus ASAP to get water and turn the air on....oh well. I think had there been more artifacts and stuff i'd have been a wee bit more interested. Also if there was more english to read and not Korean. Needles to say we saw some dead king's body/remains/where his body once was before it decayed and that was pretty rad.
After that we saw some old observatory and headed to G...aowingeaoweihgoahwetn.....i dont' know how ot spell it - but it's a really old buddhist temple built in 751 i think it is? Anyway - that was a LOVELY experience. Very tranquil - at the top of a mountain. There was a lovely dirt path lined with chinese lanterns all the way up to the top. It was obvious that they were hooked up to electricity and iw as sort of sad we couldn't be there in the evening to see them all lit up. Also unfortunately, as we walked up the mountain (deep in a food coma, of course) I realized that I finally have had enough to drink today and had to use the loo. We were not pleasantly surprised. Luckily there were two toilets in the place, so we all lined up for those. (gimme a break...i'm not THAT adventurous!!) The Buddha was really impressive - he's the famous one you always see in pictures, made of granite, and built in a cave. What a dude. Outside of the temple we met some old men who were smoking and laughing and they pretty much rocked. They asked us how old we were and then they told me i was very beautiful. They're so kind here!!
After that we went to another temple (one we COULD take pictures of though the Buddha man was not NEARLY as cool....) And got to buy more lil' gifties for people - (yes! That means YOU, innocent, unassuming, blog reader!!)
It amazes me how everywhere we go is always swarming with children. Swarm.Ing. I felt especially bad for the worshippers in the temples while children run and scream and pretty much defile it. Alas...I was able to get some good pictures!! (i liked the chinese lantern shadows!)
(Yes, buddhist temple guards, intimidate me withy our scary, scray mandolin. TRY ME!)
After we left the temple we got to our hotel - not as nice as the others but by no means dingy. I haven't taken pictures of it yet...Anyway -there were Korean families here waiting for us to arrive sot hey could take us to their homes for dinner. We drove with a man ...Mr. Kim i think to the Cha family's home. Luckily, the daughter attends BYU Hawaii and her English is fairly good. Mr. Kim could understand when we spoke, but he didn't speak very fluently himself and the Cha parents could not speak or listen well to English.
Dinner was fabulous - we ate rice, kimchi, noodley stuff, and a Korean salad with lots of - Squid. It's the new fad in my life (as of today.) But everything was delicious!! They were laughing at us and the daughter explained that Koreans eat very fast - and they thought we were taking a long time. They finished pretty much twice as fast as us, but we consider the chopsticks to be a little bit of a handycap :) They were understanding and sympathetic and offered us forks but we denied and wanted to prevail! We gave them some BYU pins as a thank you gift and afterward the mother and daughter chatted for a second and the daughter explained (as her mom got some things off the shelf) that her mother was getting some small, traditional Korean pots that she's very, very fond of but would much rather we had them. I was so touched. These people were not poor by any means but the daughter told us already that her mother had spent the entire day cooking for us and now she was giving us her favorite pots! I felt so grateful and my eyes almost got teary because of the love we could feel these people had. It was a great blessing to have met them and to have been able to eat with them.
The picture isn't the best...i just threw my camera onto the stand and set the timer, but you can see their house and where we ate! They were a lovely family.