Ok all, tomorrow we hop on a flight to Seoul with an itinerary so chalk-full of craziness that we decided to post it for the world to see! When we get back we will bombard you with endless pictures of our escapades! Here it is, in detail, our New Years plans:
December 28th (evening): arrive in Seoul, make our way to our little Guesthouse we are staying at. It is run by a Korean family and came to us highly recommended. Here's the site if you want to check it out - http://www.kimsguesthouse.com/kimseng/default_kim.htm
December 29th (morning): By recommendation of one of Ian's students, we are going to be participating in a Korean Home Culture Activity course, lead by a family by the name of Yoo. Here we will spend the morning wearing traditional Korean "han-bok", learning greeting etiquette, learning kim chi cooking, playing Korean folk games, eating Korean Pancakes, and participating in Tea Ceremony. Here's the link to their site: http://www.korea-family.co.kr/eng/engframe.html
December 29th (afternoon/evening): The rest of this first day we will try to see the main Palace, and a few of the fortresses and temples. That evening we will wander some of the 24 hour markets and do some cheap shopping!
December 30th: Korean Spa day!!! For those of you who don't know, Korean Spa's are apparently where it's at. Everyone here recommends them. You pay a fairly cheap flat fee to enter, and then you spend the day relaxing in their numerous themed baths, and steam rooms. If you get tired of those you can take a break and get a massage. And after all that hard work, why not take in a quick nap in the sleeping room, or watch a movie in the DVD room. If that doesn't suit your fancy, why not take out a few comic books and have a read. After all that, its back to the steam room! Whew....what a tough day! If you want a description of the one we are looking into, check this article out: http://english.tour2korea.com/03Sightseeing/TravelSpot/travelspot_read.asp?oid=2028&konum=subm1_1&kosm=m3_9
December 31st: While most people may be bringing in the New Year at a big bash, we will be travelling 2 hours south of Seoul to stay in a Buddhist Temple overnight. We were quite pleased by this last minute addition. Originally our first plan, we never heard anything back, but last week I recieved an email inviting us to stay. It sounds like about the most amazing experience, we participate in everything just as the Monks do. Here is our itinerary for our 2 day stay:
14:00 Arrival and Orientation
15:00 Temple tour
15:30 Tea Ceremony
17:00 Evening Buddhist Ceremonial Service
19:00 Time on your own
20:00 Meditation and Dharma Talk
22:00 Light off
05:00 Pre-dawn Buddhist Ceremonial Service
07:30 Time on your own
08:30 Walking meditation
10:30 Noon Buddhist Ceremonial Service
So, not only will our bodies be renewed but so will our minds. We will enter the new year refreshed and enlightened!! (Hopefully!)
January 2nd: After the most peaceful 2 days ever, we will head in the opposite direction - North - to the border of one of the least peaceful places around. At 8am we will meet our tour group and head for the DMZ - the demilitarized zone encompassing 2 miles south of the border and 2 miles north of the border. We will spend the day touring the UN buildings where the peace talks took place nearly half a century ago, take a walk down the 3rd infiltration tunnel, where North Korea attempted to dig through to South Korea, and we will see the only bridge connecting the 2 sides which are divided by a large river. Some of the buildings we will enter actually broach both borders, so we will officially be able to say we stood in North Korea. For lots more info, and to see everything we will do that day you can check out this site: http://english.tour2korea.com/03Sightseeing/ThemeTours/dmz.asp?kosm=m3_3&konum=7
January 3rd (evening): Hop a flight back to good old Nagoya, where it is only a matter of weeks before we move!! Wooooo! I will post more info on the new job and apartment once we get back, but suffice it to say, I am looking forward to it!!
Talk to you all next year!! Have a great one!
Lots of Love