Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yeon Cheon Herb Festival trip

I guess a good place to visit next would be a weekend trip Claire and I went on. There are a ton of websites and groups set up for expats (aka foreigners) and there are commonly weekend trips available to go on. So far I've only been on one since its been winter and the weekend ski trips are a bit out of my budget. Back in October, Clarie and I elected to join a group that had a variety of activities to do for only $50. Of course, the night before we left, we went out for one of our co-workers going away party. Needless to say, we were a bit tired the next morning since we had to be at the bus downtown at 8 or 9 in the morning. Anyone that knows me will realize that in general this would sadly be a struggle for my night owl tendencies. Plus, keep in mind that we also had a bit of a journey time just to get to downtown. In classic fail style, I had set my alarm for PM rather than AM almost causing us to be late! with a little bit of panic and rushing, we made it to the bus on time.
Choe Mu-Seon Science Museum
 Our first stop along the way was the Choe Mu-Seon Science Museum. I must admit to have disappointment in the stop. There was very little to see for science exhibits and what there was to see had little interactive learning, thus leaving us to stare blankly at the Korean characters near some sort of picture or display. We were only given a 1/2 hour to wander around there, which I think everyone found to be more than enough.

The next stop on our journey was yet again a little disappointing....the Yeong Cheon Wine School. Basically we walked in and looked at some bottles of wine in a wine cellar. We were starting to get a little worried at this point, but still had hope that the trip would take a turn for a better. We were pretty sure that at this point they had jut chosen some free locations to bring us so they could beef up their list of things people do on the trip. I suppose at this point I will also add in that at every location we seemed to have a paparazzi fallowing of cameras. It was slightly humorous and slightly annoying. We had to hold up a banner and smile for pictures at every location. If the location was boring they would actually say to us "try and look like you're having fun!".

After the wine school things started to look a little up. Our next stop was to a vineyard where we got to walk through the rows of plants and clip our own grapes. Later in the day, we stopped at another science museum and they had an outdoor area set up for us so we could crush our grapes and begin the process of making our own wine. I will fully admit that my wine adventure was not a full success. I clipped, I squished, I mixed....theeeen a whole lotta nothing. This is quite a lengthy process people and not one that I particularly fallowed the directions on. There were proper times to remove the lid, put it back on, stir it, strain it, bottle it....yeah, it just wasn't gunna happen. Basically I created a nice home for some fruit flies for a bit and then tossed said bucket out with the trash. Ya win some, ya loose some. Besides, I'm not a fan of red wine anyways so in all reality I just woulda used it to torture my friends with some terrible homemade wine and, trust me, no one would have appreciated that! :P

Also at an art museum, we stopped for a meal chopped full of authentic Korean cuisine....did I fail to mention that it was all Korean food?! well, it was, so there were many of us that were eating rather light for a couple days. If ya don't like spice, well, there's no good or funny saying I can think of, so just generally, if you don't like spice you won't have a lot to eat here. That's pretty much all there is to it!

So let's recap so far: Science museum, wine school, museum, and here we are at science museum number 2 I guess. This was rather fun. We got to use giant telescopes to look at the sun! Wait, I'm not suppose to stare at the sun you say?! Pish posh! we did! Well, sorta. We all walked into a room and the roof retracted revealing the scenery pictured at the left. This science museum also housed one of the largest telescopes in...the world? korea?...I can't remember, but it was big. Minor fail----we were there in the day so we couldn't really see a lot. Oh well. We also went into a room which had a crazy screen that is round (sooorta like the IMAX) and the chairs are mechanical and move into a flat position. In classic Polish style, I had been sitting with my legs UP when the chairs moved and therefore got stuck in a rather awkward position....but that's just kinda how I roll :P The chairs also move as the video does so in one of the shows we really felt like we were on a roller coaster in outer space!

Next was a lovely hike! ==================>
There's not a whole lot to tell about here. Se came, we saw, we concurred! It was a beautiful hike with beautiful scenery...and we saw a Korean cow! :D

After the hike, it was off for some more Korean food for dinner and then "bed". For the people that refuse to eat Korean food (I'm not one of them), we stopped at a store....that place was cleaned out of  Pringles faster than you could blink! At our cabins, we also slept Korean style. What does this mean you may ask?! No beds! That's right folks. We were rockin the floor as the Korean folks do. Not my best night sleeping ever, but as my mom would say, I'm young, I can handle it. We also hung out with some people we'd met on the trip. It was once girl's birthday, hence the cake.

The next day was the real action day!! The one I'd been waiting for and the whole reason I wanted to go on the trip! ATV's, kayaking and horseback riding!!!

The ATV's were fun but a little bit limiting from what I would have liked. There was a guide showing us where to go, which was fine, but we were kind of operating on the idea of you are only as fast as your weakest link, so we had to do a lot of waiting for the girl that was in front of Claire in the line. As I had previously mentioned, there was a lot of paparazzi feel to this trip as well. At one point, I rode my ATV around a corner and there was a guy with a camera in the bushes waiting for an action shot. Rather funny actually!
The Kayaking was fun, though we got a little wet and it was a little chilly, but hey, I'm a Minnesotan girl, I can handle it :) The horseback riding was also a little disappointing. We had been told we would be able to free ride the horses but we were actually stuck walking in circles with them. Either way, I was elated to be around the horses, even if it was a pitiful ride and only being able to see them in their stalls.

As our journey was winding down to an end, we went to the Yeon Cheon Herb Festival. They wanted 20 of us to go on stage to participate in and herb wrapping competition. It was kind of a publicity stunt type deal, but I went along with it and went up on stage. It was rather intense...NOT! we had so many minutes to wrap ginseng into bundles and the person that was the closest to 300 grams won. Before we started the competition, they interviewed some of us. It was HILARIOUS! The camera guy was completely in one guys face (pictured below). So what did the winner of this competition win you may ask?!....a GIANT box of ginseng! woooooooo. ha ha For participating I got to keep my bundle of herbs, which I ended up giving some to Meghann and some to Tony. It was a fun experience though.
All in all, this trip had its lame parts to it, but overall I was pretty happy with the experience. I got to meet some fun people on the trip, had some great laughs, and see some new parts of Korea. There's lots of groups that plan trips like these all the time, so I'll definitely be doing some more along the way. So I'm caught up to October, almost. Couple more trips and some school day photos. I suppose I'm lucky that not a lot happened during the colder months or I'd be WAY behind on my blogs. :D Hope you all enjoyed some pictures and some stories. More to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment