Good-bye Songsan.

I’m very sad to say that today is my last day in Korea. The last seven weeks have been truly wonderful and I will have many fond memories of my stay in Songsan. I’ve eaten some excellent food and some very strange food, seen wonderful sights, and got to prepare some really great ankylosaur fossils at the lab. Robin and Scott and I have had a great time.

I’m so grateful for all of the people who have helped me out for the last two months – Dr. Lee for hosting me on this research abroad visit, Yun for all of his help at the lab and around town, and Choon-Hyung, Pak-Jin, and Jin-Young for their patience at my lack of Korean and their excellent lunchtime cooking!

Tomorrow Robin returns to Canada and Scott and I head off to Beijing for two weeks of research and the Flugsaurier Symposium. Stay tuned for more updates!

Korean Folk Village, part 3: in which there is general silliness

For an extra 3000 won (about $3) you could go in the Korean haunted house! Spooky! It was just about the best 3000 won I’ve ever spent. Winding through dark corridors you would occasionally set off a blacklight-lit scene with little animatronics. Spooky characters included a bat eating a person, giant Arthropleura-like centipedes, someone getting pounded to death in a grain mill, and a snake coiling around a person. There were frequent appearances by a monster with a red face and a horn coming out of its forehead – presumably a monster from Korean folklore?
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Korean Folk Village, part 1: in which there is edutainment

Last Saturday we headed in to Suwon to visit the Korean Folk Village. I would highly recommend making the trip in to Suwon if you’re ever visiting Seoul or other nearby cities in Korea. The village is a reconstruction of many different styles and types of Korean buildings – scholar’s homes, temples, palaces, governor’s mansions, or the farmer’s thatched roof cottage (THATCHED ROOF COTTAGES!) shown here. There are so many interactive elements to the whole place – you can learn to make paper, straw sandals, and pottery, or you can try your hand at farm machinery, try catching a mudloach, wear traditional clothes, sit in a palanquin, and tons of other little activities. The three of us learned a lot about traditional Korean culture, AND had a lot of fun – true edutainment. The whole place is a little bit like Fortress Louisbourg in Cape Breton, or Fort Edmonton Park.
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Korean Food Adventures, part whatever the part it is now.

I realize a lot of the food posts probably make it seem like the cuisine over here is all live octopi and anglerfish and things that are very unusual to the North American palate. While everything is certainly different, not all dishes are as extravagantly odd. Hushik nangmyeon are cold dessert noodles that I have heard are very common snacks in the summertime. There are really thin noodles, cucumbers, radishes, melons, half of a hardboiled egg, and sesame seeds. It is quite tasty and certainly nice at the end of the meal!

The noodles can be challenging to eat, however. Too slippery!

Ok, I need to include one more extravagantly odd dish. Can you guess what the spicy meat on the grill is? Hint: it’s not squid, as we initially thought….

…it’s pig intestines!