Last week a teacher from my school got married. Korean weddings are a little odd yet noticeably similar. This particular one was set in a wedding hall at the only hotel in Geochang. Some of the odd things included a lack of vows as the husband and wife didn't actually say anything during the whole 20 minute ceremony. Some students from our kindergarten helped out the cuteness with a few songs and littering petals everywhere. The chaos of getting a photo in Korea is incredible. The husband rushes to the altar in the same way as an angry wrestler in the WWE enters but rather than attack anyone he energetically frops to his knees and bows to each set of parents sitting at the side. This picture was taken just after the traditional first kiss which the spouses and koreans in the room were clearly embarrased by. Next the husband gets on his hands and knees and does push ups while his new wife sits on his back.
The room is covered with everything from a smoke machine, bubble machine, petals and all the confetti and streamers you could never get away with England. What was remarkable was how quickly it was cleaned up (before the bride and groom even left the room). I couldn't get any good pictures so I stole these from another website. In the same building after the service is a huge room for practically anyone you know to attend and a lot of food. I couldn't help but wonder how many people came for the free food as the happy couple didn't even attend this. As always everyone was keen to see the foreigner so after posing for many a photo and saying my congratulations (wow he spoke english and she understood) I crept away.
Cheryl took the camera a walk in a hope to show you some more pics of our little town. I think you must have seen everything by the end of this!!! This is the crossroads at the bottom of my apartment we're gonna turn left.
This is the main street downtown.
On our left is the market which has many smells and sights but mainly just smells.
Nearly at the epicentre of Geochang... It's roundabout.
The government building on this roundabout has a few fancy statues. We're going right at this roundabout.
This is where I took some korean classes... er two to be precise cos I'm usually busy and know enough to get by. Random sellers in the street amuse me as it's like a carboot sale in a city centre. This one sells anything wicker but most popularly hats.
A favourite little end of town as it holds many bars capable of holding large crowds (most korean bars have tables for 4 people. An American phenomenon but the american batting cages are a little fun and only cost 500won for a machine to launch balls at you at either 130 (me being a baby) or 140 km per hour (me being drunk) There are also many machines outside to have competition with. A lot are the remnants of 2002 world cup which gave the koreans a love of football and picking things up with a 3 pronged claw. Apparently my technique sucks but I have gone from hitting one ball per turn to hitting most of them.
If you cross the street you get to Geochang library with many a tribute, basketball court, pagoda's and er... books. The view around the library is nice to sit and read in the summer. And there are some cool horses for kids to play on if you're looking for a break. This is actually the new library as you can see by it's artsy exterior.
This basketball court is something else the koreans have borrowed from America. It's floodlit so you break your ankle in the dark. The memorial is a tribute to those lost at times of war... and a handy place for kids to play. These next few statues are all next to each other. This sign makes me laugh as most Korean signs are informative and text book like without any bias, agenda or provactive words. This one considers facts a little differently though and is in front of the aforementioned statues.
These next few shots are of an ancient though redeveloped centre for the scholars of Geochang. They're heavily influenced by buddhists. Sometimes i just like the view from these places.
For more on the education facilities read here. As you can see they have redeveloped it nicely.
Walking uphill and out of town we find a lot of rice and plant farmers that hide a few secrets. follow this path to the right.
And you come across a small hamlet with a few houses and updated cobbled streets. This plaque will tell you about the statue well hidden in the hamlet off the small path. I wish people new more about what used to be here. One stone temple of sang rim ri.
You can take me anywhere and I'll do anything to look silly on camera. Anyway we next head up the path towards a small mountain. If you lie on your back half way up then you get this view. I love this lamp post and the various other similar ones that remind of the Lion, Witch, Wadrobe thing that C.S. Lewis wrote.
I've shown you picks from this three tier hut before, the view is amazing. The path is fairly straight up the mountain so unless you want to detour you will come across a small exercise park.
Thats right... walk up a mountain then start exercising. I'll demonstrate for you. None of these pictures were posed. Promise This picture is clearly in the wrong place so just remember it for later.....
Next you find a second park, this time more for playing. the stones are aids for massaging your feet. They actually hurt while you walk over them but despite my scepticism I have to admit after you've finished your feet do feel a lot better (not just because they stopped hurting) and you are a little more relaxed.
This will explain that wall (well actually an old fortress) that Cheryl was sitting on earlier.
Here we are, nice for a picnic but it's a long walk back if you both forgot to pack something. During Japanese invasion s this wall was a lot higher and not used by idiots pretending to jump. it was actually a successful defence except the japanese drove the koreans out of the mountains and forests by killing all the animals and food that was there. There is very little wildlife there today. Cheryl pauses to reflect on that for a while. While I take advantage of feeling on top of the world, or fairly high.
Hope you enjoyed our little walk (about 2 and half hours) and saw a little more of where I have lived for the last 11 months.